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B2BIntl Characteristics B2B CX Leaders Apr2020A little more than half (52%) of large B2B organizations in North America and Europe report that delivering excellent customer experience is one of the top business challenges they are currently facing. And, according to a new B2B International study reported by MarketingProfs, 54% of the marketing and insight specialists surveyed say that they are focusing on customer experience and loyalty as a marketing strategy.

US respondents, in particular, appear to be focusing on customer experience (CX), with 6 in 10 saying their current marketing strategy involves focusing on CX and loyalty. That compares with about half (47%) of respondents from Europe.

The report identifies six pillars of CX: commitment (being enthusiastic and making customers feel valued); fulfillment (understanding and delivering customer needs); seamlessness (making life easier for the customer); responsiveness (timely response, delivery and resolution); proactivity (anticipating customer needs and striving to resolve issues proactively); and evolution (continually seeking to improve the customer experience).

In examining the self-reported performance on these measures from respondents, most areas have seen very little improvement or decline since 2015.

For example, about half (49%) say they perform strongly in commitment in 2019, compared to 48% who reported the same in 2015. Similarly, the same percentage (38%) say they have performed strongly in fulfillment in 2015 and 2019. Only about one-quarter cite strong performance in seamlessness (25% in 2019 vs. 27% in 2015) and proactivity (24% in 2019 vs. 25% in 2015).

However, the pillars of responsiveness and evolution have seen a noticeable decline. While two-fifths (40%) of respondents self-reported strong performance in responsiveness in 2015, only about one-third (34%) were able to say the same in 2019. Meanwhile, 39% felt their performance in evolution was strong in 2015, but only 33% reported strong performance in this area in 2019. This could be because, as prior research shows, only a small percentage of B2B business leaders have made improving customer experience a top priority.

What Are Leaders Doing Differently?

There are some marketers that feel they are doing well when it comes to customer experience. The report identifies these CX leaders as those respondents who reported strong performance in at least 5 of the 6 pillars. This group makes up 15% of the total respondents. CX laggards, on the other hand, represent the 30% share of respondents who did not have a strong performance in any of the pillars.

So, what practices are putting CX leaders ahead of the curve? One is customer journey mapping: more than half (55%) of leaders are strong at mapping the customer journey to identify critical touchpoints. This compares to the mere 10% of CX laggards who are strong at mapping the customer journey. These findings are backed by other research that found that high performing CX professionals were more likely to use customer journey mapping compared to those who are underperforming.

CX leaders (53%) are also twice as likely to collect Net Promoter Scores and act on the findings as laggards (27%). Once again, listening to and acting on customer feedback as well as the feedback of partners/distributors and employees is a practice other research has confirmed to be effective for those excelling in CX.

There are significant gaps between leaders and laggards in other practices, too. Half (49%) of leaders report that they are strong in consistency across platforms, agencies and tools (versus 15% of laggards), while 46% are using personas for different customer types compared to 16% of CX laggards.

About the Data: Results are based on an online survey of 302 marketing and insights professionals at businesses across North American and Europe fielded in Q4 2019.

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