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Accenture-B2B-New-Entrants-Customer-Experience-Dec2015Two-thirds of B2B professionals around the world agree that new entrants to the industry use customer experience as their key differentiator, and almost 6 in 10 agree that typically these companies are better at providing positive customer experiences than traditional players in the industry. That’s according to an Accenture Strategy study [pdf] of 1,350 B2B customer experience, sales and service executives around the world.

The majority of respondents recognize the importance of customer experience capabilities – such as customer insight and analytics and customer experience delivery – and also believe they’re performing well across those various capabilities.

But many also see barriers to successful customer experience delivery. The most common of these is Directors and Managers having too little time to dedicate to customer experience (48% citing as a barrier), but the lack of processes for delivering optimal customer experiences, the C-suite seeing higher priorities elsewhere, and the lack of cross-organizational integration and collaboration are also top hindrances. Also of note, there was only a small gap between the least- and most-cited barriers, suggesting that there are an array of obstacles to overcome in delivering optimal customer experiences.

So what do customer experience leaders do? The study segments respondents into three groups:

  • Leaders (23% of sample) – who both agree that the customer experience is highly important to their strategic priorities and who have experienced significant revenue growth in the past year;
  • Strivers (57% of sample) – who are failing to collect the results from their customer experience investment that Leaders enjoy because they are falling short in some way strategically and/or operationally; and
  • Laggards (20% of sample) – who state that the customer experience is important to their strategic priorities but have experienced limited to negative growth in the past yea, performing poorly on both customer experience strategy and execution.

In comparing the Leaders with the other segments, Accenture Strategy found some key differences, including:

  • Leaders (61%) being far more likely than Laggards (20%) to consider after-sales support and service to be very important to the delivery of an optimal customer service experience;
  • Leaders also being far more likely than Strivers to strongly agree that digital technologies will significantly improve their interactions with business customers;
  • Leaders being considerably more likely than the others to see the critical importance of investments into integration across digital sales and service channels;
  • Leaders significantly increasing their investments over the past 2 years to a significantly greater extent than Strivers and Laggards in various “traditional/legacy” areas such as field services capabilities, training to sales and service workforce and enhancing legacy CRM systems; and
  • Leaders more commonly describing their prevailing model for internal organization of customer experience responsibilities as “a centralized C-level function that directly manages several functional areas.

The full study is available for download here.

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