Spoiler alert: it’s not just a passing fad.
In your B2B business, where KPIs and ROI are top concerns, but your ERP and your CRM and maybe your CMMS are giving you problems, you may be wondering, “Do I really have time for one more acronym?” Everyone knows the B2B world is notorious for its alphabet soup, but we promise you’re going to want to take a big, tasty bite out of this acronym because CX is a defining factor that can make or break your business.
In a nutshell, CX is shorthand for customer experience. When the term first became popular, it referred strictly to actual customers, meaning after-the-sale people who were already paying for your product or service. Now, the term is looser and encompasses a person’s experience at all stages of the buying journey, including initial top-of-funnel research and communication. CX technology, then, refers to the tools and software that make doing business with you more enjoyable.
Just how important is CX?
If it helps put things into perspective, CX technology is a $500 billion industry in the U.S. – and growing. This is no doubt related to the fact that 89 percent of businesses are now competing primarily on experience (up from not even 40 percent a decade ago), and the brands that prioritize experience are three times as likely to exceed their overall business goals. One of the most effective ways to succeed as a business today is to provide the awesome experiences that attract customers and keep them coming back. After all, people are five times more likely to purchase from you again if they had a good experience the first time.
If the way we deliver our products and services (and how we attract and retain people through the process) is now the biggest shot we have at standing out, it’s no shocker that the leading companies are turning to technology for help.
3 Questions to ask when considering CX tech
There are a lot of platforms, tool and tech that can help make your buyer’s journey a clear and seamless experience. But … there are also so many options available that it’s easy to get caught up in the newest, flashiest solution. It might sound obvious, but when you’re thinking about implementing CX technology, you should take a minute to think like your customer and ask:
Does it work? No one wants to use digital solutions with long load times, broken links, commands that don’t work, attachments that don’t open … you get the point.
Is it useful? Does your CX solution solve a specific customer problem? Make sure you can map its benefit to a known pain point your customer has or at least identify a very clear value-add.
Is it enjoyable? This sounds like a bonus but it’s actually essential. Is your CX solution easy to use? Is it visually pleasing? Can people find what they need fast without feeling frustrated?
CX tech trends to consider
What specific CX technology you need to make your customers go gaga depends an awful lot on your industry, your product offering, your business model and all that good stuff. That said, here’s a handful of tools that are currently helping companies make strides in their CX:
Augmented reality – AR can give your customers a chance to virtually try out your products, gauge size requirements, get product tutorials and more.
Chatbots – Ah, the new customer service reps, right? Chatbots can answer common questions fast with 24-hour access and free up your human reps for the more complicated concerns.
Voice recognition – It doesn’t get much easier than speech-to-text integration and voice commands, does it? This technology can save your customers a ton of time.
Self-serve kiosks – These are like the chatbots of the brick and mortar shop. Give customers the option for fast, easy, self-serve transactions and interactions wherever possible.
Customer portals – With a gated portal, your customers can benefit from real-time, 24/7 access to account information, data, shared files, reports and much more.
Keep in mind, too, that things like artificial intelligence and data analytics are driving many of the CX trends out there right now. As with most digital-first solutions, the best CX tech relies on collecting and using as much information as possible in the smartest and most effective way. Do you have CX ideas beyond the scope of these solutions? Give us a shout. We love hearing unique challenges and thinking through how software can help.