How to create, and keep, a business customer for life

With technology fuelling changes in customer demand, outdated legacy systems holding back innovation, and a growing regulatory responsibility to contend with, today’s Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) face many challenges.

B2B customer relationships are complex, often involving multiple stakeholders – each with different needs and expectations. Yet, similarly to consumers, B2B customers seek a better, faster, digital experience. This means managing the customer experience is critical, particularly in an age where the customer’s experience – and how they communicate that to others – can define your organisation’s success.

We can no longer rely on narrow and inaccurate tools to assess this. Existing benchmarks and tools do not generate enough data to analyse, making it impossible to build a clear profile of the customer and to accurately predict behaviour and needs. A B2B customer-first strategy must go beyond simply providing a ‘good-enough’ service. It demands a core connection, linking customers to your brand at every interaction.

This is why at Misys we have developed the Customer Health Index (CHI), a company-wide, cross-functional, real-time measurement system that monitors and measures customer engagement and enables us to respond strategically, operationally and tactically to customer needs along the entire life cycle. Actionable data coming out of this platform enables field teams to check and fix issues instantly, helping businesses face fast-changing dynamics and challenges head on.

There are four important building blocks to focus on when putting customer experience at the heart of your strategy or framework:

  1. Create a unified customer experience

Start by placing the customer at the centre of your operations with every aspect of the business, focusing on better servicing their needs and delivering an improved experience. Across the organization, break down operational and functional silos that make it difficult to engage with customers in a holistic way, facilitating a transition from a product-led culture to one that is customer-led.

  1. Build a systematic customer engagement programme

Be sure to go beyond simple customer reference or advocacy programmes, and establish clear KPIs to track performance. It is crucial to understand the interplay between customer demands and data. Effective management and analysis of customer data, which is being collected at greater speed and on a wider scale than ever before, can provide insight into the behaviour of your customers.

  1. Adopt consistent approach to measuring customer health

Today, organisations are sitting on a wealth of customer data but are unable to exploit it. It is hence important to move on from legacy customer loyalty models, as default standards that are one-dimensional and no longer fit in a 24/7 multi-channel world. Introduce company-wide, cross-functional, real-time measurement systems that monitor and measure customer engagement levels.

  1. Have an advocate lead company-wide customer engagement

There is no question that the future of customer experience has changed. In this new landscape, understanding what a successful customer-centric business looks like is a must to stay ahead. Customer-centricity has to be driven from the top and there should be someone who will champion the needs of the customer inside the organisation – likely to be the CMO or CCO. Moreover, a company looking to drive customer loyalty must be clear about who is tasked to lead corrective actions.

Today, CMOs need to move more and more into the role of CCO. In this role they must ensure that the company is designing, testing, refining, delivering and marketing experiences their clients actually want to have.

In the same vein, they need to have clear ownership in undertaking corrective actions if and when needed. They must also be digitally literate and make use of the power of omni-channel experiences and personalised resources to share the needs of the customer across the organisation.