B2B Customer Experience—Under the Microscope!

By Martha Brooke, CCXP posted 02-01-2021 07:15 PM


Those of us who work in B2B CX know how different this discipline is from consumer-facing / retail Customer Experience. And unfortunately, there are fewer stats, books, and articles, just less information overall about B2B CX.

To solve for this, I've started our own Zoom roundtable workshops to be held the first Thursday of each month.

For our first session, Feb. 4, 2021, we'll discuss the unique needs of B2B customers, personas, and the needs of distributors versus users —we'll also brainstorm formats and future topics worthy of scrutiny!  

To kick us off, here are what I see as five special characteristics of B2B customers.

  1. B2B Customers carry High Lifetime Value
    Large purchases, multi-year contracts, complex services… it all adds up to relationships that are worth thousands if not millions in revenue. Rather than a pair of sneakers at stake, it's pallets of sneakers at stake.

  2. With B2B Customers, Everything is Ratcheted Up
    Not only are the stakes higher with B2B, but there are more decision-makers and influencers. Many individuals from a single organization may require tech support, and the expectations from a business are often demanding and specific.

  3. The B2B Customer Journey is Opaque
    Because the end-user is typically buying through an OEM, distributor, or another type of partnership, auditing the complete customer journey can be challenging. Knowing how distant nodes on the journey map are doing can be nearly impossible.

  4. B2B Customers Share Complex Verbatims
    The language of B2B tends to be arcane, industry-specific, and complex. This means the topics customers write about in open-ended questions (or discuss in interviews) can be time-consuming to parse. Analyzing B2B verbatims using AI-based text analytics is almost always out; instead, a human-centered research approach is required.

  5. B2B Customers Require More Thoughtful Survey Questions
    Needless to say, survey questions should always reflect the customers you are addressing, and that means many of the usual cut and paste survey questions won't work. For example, if you ask your distributors the Net Promoter question, "How likely are you to recommend us…" you can't help but get bad data because distributers are paid to recommend you. You might not throw the whole concept of Net Promoter out, but you will need to tweak the question.

I'm excited to hear your thoughts about B2B CX. As of this writing, 72 of you have signed up. Three tickets are remaining, so if you'd like to attend, register soon.  

If we are sold out by the time you read this, drop me a line with the vertical you are in, and I'll be sure to get you into next month's session. Toward dialogue that's spot on and relevant! See you on Zoom!

1 comment



02-04-2021 04:13 PM

Thanks for arranging this, Martha. B2B definitely needs a bigger spotlight and megaphone. 

Complimenting your points here are some more in my new article:

I'm also welcoming B2B CX managers to participate in my quick survey (The Misunderstood B2B Customer Experience):