Every interested party has the possibility to have virtually any required/desired company service delivered from any point in the world with little effort or to pre-register, book or at least initiate corresponding processes very easily. The competition is central due to these connections meanwhile probably also in your B2B industry enormously.
What exactly does Customer Centricity mean?
The term "customer centricity" describes a sales and marketing concept that places (potential) customers, rather than goods or services to be sold, at the centre of activities relating to this. By adopting a corresponding customer centricity, the starting point of the value chain thus shifts to the (potential) customer, with customers, needs/interests, experiences, challenges and other specific factors serving as the basis.
However, it is not enough to view Customer Centricity as a purely functional strategy that achieves a short-term goal. Rather, to achieve maximum success in B2B customer centricity and the associated customer understanding, accurate resolution of customer issues, and ultimately the fostering of customer relationships and the overall customer experience, the approach must be implemented as a philosophy. In the long term, this philosophy should permeate all areas of the company and become part of the corporate culture. Only B2B companies that act in a customer-centric manner from their very foundation will appear truly authentic and credible in their efforts.
Furthermore, it is not enough to simply train sales and support staff to be customer centric. Even employees who do not interact directly with customers need to internalize the principles. This also applies to the management level. At best, all employees think empathetically, demonstrate empathetic negotiating skills, and place customer understanding at the center of their actions toward appropriate groups. This ultimately results in a thoroughly customer-focused and customer-oriented company. Under today's business conditions, the entrepreneurially lived customer centricity is definitely a very important unique selling proposition and thus highly relevant to competition and the economy.
Information, trust and personality as keys to success in customer centricity
Customer Centricity strives for all-round satisfied customers, i.e. a holistically positive customer experience. In order to achieve this, you must provide your (potential) customers with optimal support at every point of their buying process. This applies to any necessary or desired direct communication as well as to online information about your brand, your goods or services, etc. If you fully consider the consequences described here, you will achieve a positive experience for your customers, who will be happy to use your services again. At best, you will succeed in achieving an identification with your brand and thus obtain real advocates.
The latter form of promoting customer relations is particularly relevant in view of the fact that (potential) customers - also in B2B - have long been primarily looking for solutions to specific problems or wishes on the Internet. On the one hand, it is important to provide target group-specific facts and, on the other hand, to make them as easy to find as possible. To do this, you need to adopt all the channels that your (potential) customers prefer to use on the Internet. Since a significantly large part of corresponding searches is actually carried out via Google, the consideration of the search engine prime and the optimization of the information you provide according to its evaluation criteria (SEO) is not only one of the central premises for comprehensive customer centricity, but also for the general competitiveness of your B2B business.
In doing so, it is extremely important to comprehensively promote trust in your brand and your services. For example, you can expand your expert status by means of online information that offers outstanding added value in direct comparison to your competitors and thus create the necessary trust. Ultimately, your goods or services will only be purchased if you convey (potential) customers an (at best) outstanding competence in your business area.
Today, however, specialist knowledge and expert status are by no means everything. Especially with regard to customer centricity and the associated understanding of your customers, needs/interests, experiences or the specific customer problems as well as the goal of a customer relationship or customer interaction that assumes these and other factors in their entirety, a certain personal relationship should be strived for in addition to undoubted expertise.
In fact, in a business context, web users want to be less and less just a customer number or IP address. They want personal touchpoints, like those found in face-to-face transactions, in addition to a company-side understanding of their problems or needs. In B2B, this is particularly important. After all, it is not uncommon for complex services to be involved here, which are associated with large investments and therefore require an increased level of support at all levels. If you convey to your (potential) customer from the very first points of contact with your brand that they will receive all-round personal, customer-centric and competent help in solving specific challenges or wishes, there is a significantly increased probability of closing the deal.
In general, customer centricity, trust and personality reduce barriers in many ways that stand between prospects and the company and the ultimate business transaction. In particular, a beneficial personalization strategy makes it easier for your (potential) customer to get in touch with you. This, in turn, means that you will more quickly come into possession of marketing-useful data from prospects. The handling of this data must be as transparent as possible and in accordance with the GDPR.
How to initiate Customer Centricity in the increasingly
digital B2B marketplace.
Of course, we cannot provide you with a comprehensive B2B strategy for establishing customer centricity or a related customer brand experience that is as beneficial as possible in your specific corporate context. Rather, it is about sensitizing your entrepreneurial activity for corresponding facts and, in this context, almost always important B2B measures. So read on to find out what you should consider at the base for the best possible customer centricity in B2B, in addition to the factors already highlighted earlier.
At the beginning of establishing Customer Centricity, there is usually a target group analysis and market research, or "Customer Insight". Here again, your customer is considered primarily in terms of their greatest challenges, needs and/or experiences. The best way to find out exactly what makes your (potential) B2B customers tick is to create buyer personas. As a result, you need to work out how you can solve corresponding customer problems or wishes. In addition, you need to keep a close eye on your market. Determine precisely how B2B customer centricity is practiced there and where you can clearly differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Your (potential) customers usually move along specific phases of the so-called customer journey in their buying process. You should know this customer journey very well under the approach of customer centricity. In combination with the data of your buyer personas, there are numerous indications for optimization potentials of customer centricity. At best, you cover all defined touchpoints, i.e. the contact points of your (potential) customers during their customer journey, with the appropriate support in each case. In today's digital/web-centric business world and under the assumption of increasingly differentiated customer searches, this consists to a large extent of value-added information.
Recurring and long-term loyal customers through positive buying experience are highly desirable for every company. However, such behavior is only achievable when buyers consider their challenges or needs and their experience to be fully met. The so-called Net Promoter Score enables you to measure exactly this satisfaction. As such, it can serve as an important bridge to actual customer centricity. It is in fact a key figure that reflects the recommendation intention of existing customers, which in turn allows conclusions to be drawn about customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
The determination of the Customer Lifetime Value, CLV for short, provides you with relatively simple insights into the value of individual customers for your business activities and ultimately your turnover. B2B sales and marketing can use this information to focus on the right customers at the right time and allocate their budgets accordingly. For example, existing customers can be nurtured and cared for very efficiently. Those who are in danger of dropping out can, in turn, be specifically re-engaged. In general, such and other monitoring and controlling measures are extremely important in view of customer centricity. Because without corresponding observations and evaluations, successes or failures, among other things, can never be efficiently determined and no targeted further developments can take place.
Price-oriented vs. product-oriented vs. customer-centricity strategy
Every B2B company needs to position itself in the market. At the base there are three possibilities: The positioning takes place (1.) either via a favorable price, (2.) the quality as well as other advantages of the distributed goods or services - or (3.) with "focus onthe customer", i.e. via customer orientation in as many areas of the company as possible. Within the price-oriented strategy, the low costs from the customer's point of view are the main argument for the purchase. The sales orientation and corresponding B2B marketing measures are largely geared precisely to this. Product-oriented companies, on the other hand, distinguish themselves from their competitors through the special features of their goods or services, whereby these in turn are the focus of the sales and marketing orientation. The services themselves are the selling point here. However, both approaches have a problem: Namely, both prices and goods or services are relatively easy to imitate or exchange and thus the characteristics of the positioning can quickly be put into perspective. B2B companies that are customer-focused are far less affected by this issue. If you manage to generate an exceptional, unique customer centricity, you will usually remain much more consistent in the minds of your (potential) customers and can therefore base your market position on a much firmer foundation. At best - as already mentioned - you will achieve a real identification of your buyers with your brand through good, individual, personal support in all channels, which will increase the chances of long-term strong business relationships and the retention of real advocates immensely.
Customer centricity does not end after the purchase
Customer Centricity is crucial to success, especially in the run-up to a purchase. Up to the point of sale, it is important to present your company's services as customer-oriented as possible on all levels and to live this orientation as a philosophy with the entire team. You build trust, interact personally as well as approachably and thus ultimately convince your prospective customers of your overall service. Once the deal is closed, it is important to continue this customer orientation. There are various options here. In the B2B sector, you should focus in particular on direct, customer-oriented support with regard to the goods or services purchased. This can be shown, for example, in further information on the beneficial application. But even simple queries by e-mail as to whether buyers are satisfied with the services they have purchased or whether they might need further assistance make a contribution to B2B customer centricity that should not be underestimated. Likewise, you can continuously address individualized offers to your existing customers, which ideally build on or complement the services already purchased.
Keep in mind that B2B customer centricity also has its own special advantages after the deal has been closed. After all, it is generally far cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. In addition, long-term customers in particular - and this should be mentioned again in this context due to the increased relevance for long-term competitiveness - can make an extremely effective contribution to a positive corporate image as brand ambassadors.
In the long term, customer orientation - also beyond options such as further offers and general support - can be demonstrated, for example, by increased goodwill in the event of problems with the purchased product. If B2B companies offer specific guarantees even beyond the legal warranty obligation, this will have a very beneficial effect on their customer relationships.
Our support around the topic Customer Journey:
- Together with you, we create relevant customer profiles and derive a professional customer journey.
- We determine relevant channels and design an individual customer journey map specifically for your company.
- Based on this, we outline a positiveuser experience along all relevant touchpoints and implement it programmatically.
- In addition, we are happy to support you in the strategic alignment of lead nurturing with the defined customer journey and develop concrete content modules for the respective phases of the buying process.
For holistic and successful online marketing, we are also happy to take care of the following topics:
Oliver Parrizas will be happy to answer any questions you may have on the subject. +49-800-911-91-91