How can brands improve their overall CX strategy? Shellie shares examples of Asian brands that are leading the way in creating great experiences.

Customer experience (CX) has become the primary differentiator between brands. Companies can no longer compete only on product or price alone. Instead, customers are seeking out experience.  This is especially true for B2B brands. According to a report by Accenture Interactive, 80% of B2B buyers switched vendors when their expectations were not met.

It is evident that the brands who are succeeding are those that adopt the latest innovations to provide personalized buyer experiences at every touchpoint. This focus on innovation has surged since Covid-19 as B2B buying saw a massive movement to digital channels. McKinsey found that B2B companies see digital transactions as two to three times more important than traditional sales interactions post the pandemic.

While B2C companies are closing the gap between what customers expect and the experiences they deliver, B2B companies are lagging behind. According to McKinsey, B2B brands score below 50% on customer experience index ratings on average, compared to 65 to 85% for typical B2C brands. Moreover, 77% of buyers report that their last purchase was very difficult or complex.

While consumer brands are investing in the latest technology and making use of data to provide personalized CX, the same can’t be said about B2B companies. Needless to say, there is massive room for improvement and growth.

The Time is Now to Invest in CX

By overlooking the importance of CX, B2B brands are missing out on opportunities to keep up with competition and build profitable customer relationships. According to McKinsey, B2B buyers in APAC are seeking improved personalization with 70 to 80%[1] of decision makers opting remote human interactions or digital self-service in choosing supplies.

The pandemic undeniably accelerated the demand of the consumer, and companies across all industries and regions had no choice but to adapt quickly. eCommerce is booming for B2B companies, with B2B payments revenue expected to double in Asia reaching over $1,356 billion by 2025. With numbers like these, there is clearly ample opportunity. But to get it right, B2B brands will need to evolve alongside their consumers.

B2C Principles Key to Improved Buyer Journeys

B2B businesses don’t just have one thing in common with B2C brands, they have several! They market, sell, and provide care to people. Keyword being people.

B2B customer experiences need to resemble the great experiences people receive from consumer brands in their private life. 

Companies such as IKEA have already realized the importance of enhancing the B2B experience and have taken steps so that their business operations mirror that of a consumer brand. IKEA’s business page offers access to chats with interior design professionals and online planning tools. A potential customer can easily use the tools to furnish and decorate spaces and receive personalized recommendations from IKEA’s support team.

Low cost airline, AirAsia also pivoted their services by launching OURFARM, a B2B eCommerce platform to help over 1,000 government contract farmers and owners of private farms to connect directly to businesses. OURFARM leverages AirAsia’s digital ecosystem, which includes cargo, logistics and payment capabilities, as well as business and consumer databases for an overall smoother customer experience and a more efficient supply chain management system.

Logistics service provider Ninja Van, introduced advanced cash on delivery (COD) payments in the Philippines, enabling online sellers to collect their COD payments the day after their parcels have been picked up – the first third-party logistics service provider to do so in the country. The company also launched an SME resource blog and the NinjaChat messaging tool to not only improve CX for business partners but also help small business owners in the Philippines recover from the pandemic.

These business sites prioritize seamless functionality and proactively provide useful content to make the customer’s journey easier.

Delivering Excellent Experiences to B2B Buyers

To deliver the experiences that B2B buyers want, businesses need to copy consumer brands and focus on an omnichannel strategy, data collection, and personalization.

Today, customers interact with brands across several platforms including the brand’s website, contact center, social media profiles, social media messaging apps, text, and email. With the right tools, brands can ensure every interaction is consistent as customers switch between channels. This consistency across channels requires collecting the right data to keep marketing, sales, and customer care teams informed on all customer interactions.

Unified data gives a full picture of a customer’s journey so that every touch point flows seamlessly. Marketing teams can reach customers where they are with information tailored to their interests, sales teams can provide personalized recommendations, and care teams can provide quick, accurate service without requiring customers to repeat their inquiries.

Leveraging Technology and Data to Deliver the New B2B Journey

Bottom line. Business buyers are people, too. Building personal connections with empathy can help build long-term customer loyalty and enhance your brand’s reputation. Approaching B2B customer experience with B2C strategies will help businesses meet growing customer expectations. To achieve the B2C experience for the average business-to-business brand, professionals need a unified platform to combine all available data to truly make every interaction memorable.