Obstacles to CX Success for B2B and B2C

I examined data about obstacles to CX success from The State of CX Management, 2012 for three types of companies:

  • Companies that primarily serve businesses (B2B)
  • Companies that primarily serve consumers (B2C)
  • Companies that serve both business and consumers (B2B & B2C)

As you can see in the chart below:

  • Other competing obstacles is the largest issue for all types of firms
  • When compared with B2C firms, B2B firms face considerably more conflict across internal organizations, have a less clear understanding of customers, and are missing more of the required CX skills
  • The only area where B2C companies lags B2B firms is in the area of senior executive commitment

ObstaclesB2B2CThe bottom line: I expect to see a surge of B2B CX activity in 2013

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

One thought on “Obstacles to CX Success for B2B and B2C”

  1. I’m so glad to see discussion of B2B CEM. Since the late ’80s numerous B2B companies have been monitoring voice of the customer and striving to improve quality and customer satisfaction accordingly. Some of these B2B firms migrated what they were doing in Total Quality Management at that time into marketing/service’s CRM initiatives in the mid-’90s. They also implemented experiential marketing at trade shows and other customer forums in the early ’00s. Since the phrase “customer experience management” evolved during the past decade, many B2B organizations have migrated and integrated their TQM / CRM / experiential marketing programs to the prevailing CEM methodologies.

    Some companies lost a lot of the sophistication they once had 20 years ago, partially due to turnover among execs, and otherwise due to economic cycles or following the next shiny object, as described above. Unfortunately, B2B CEM examples have been few and far between in books and articles about customer service / loyalty / experience. This is not necessarily due to an absence of B2B CEM in practice, as noted above, but is likely due to the B2C work background of most authors and the prevailing stories and brands we all are familiar with as everyone is a consumer. I’ve personally worked in B2B CEM since 1989, and I can assure you that many of our practices in the ’90s were more sophisticated and effective than a large percentage of B2C and B2B companies alike today.

    I love B2B CEM. It’s more complicated in very interesting ways. There’s much more at stake with every transaction and relationship for most B2B companies, and the interactions between customer and supplier companies are extensive across functional areas and day by day over time. In a quest to bring B2B CEM into the limelight, we launched the Annual ClearAction Business-to-Business Customer Experience Management Best Practices Study in 2010. Our findings complement yours in the article above — you can see our commentary on the obstacles to B2B CEM in this recent article: Investment Patterns in B2B Customer Experience Management ( http://www.customerthink.com/blog/investment_patterns_in_b2b_customer_experience_management ).
    -Lynn

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