An excellent customer experience is essential to earning and retaining business. We know that it costs more to get new customers than it does to grow existing customers, yet sometimes customers have bad experiences. According to research, 80 percent of companies say they deliver a superior experience though only 8 percent of customers agree. Of course, this is something we all want to avoid. Good news! We’re sharing what you can do to win back those customers and improve the experience for all current and future customers.
How Do Bad Customer Experiences Happen?
First, let’s look at how the customer’s experience went from great to bad. There are three areas to look when things go awry – communication, alignment, and resources. Often, one or more of these areas lack value in the mind of the customer. B2B marketing and sales teams need to be knowledgeable of the customer’s needs, challenges and preferences to provide an optimal experience. This means that the channels of communication used, messaging, sales pitch presentation and other marketing materials should be reviewed for relevance. Communication that misses its target may make customers feel that companies don’t understand them and therefore not value their business.
During the customer onboarding process, companies discuss roles and responsibilities, workflow process, communication style, and define what success looks like for the customer. It’s during this phase of the relationship that the company and the customer align expectations and resources. Arriving at this shared understanding allows you to mutually lay out a roadmap to achieve success. When there are gaps between what the customer requires and what you’re able to provide, the customer may choose to go elsewhere. That decision could be based on price, product, or service.
A third influence of customer experience is resources, or lack thereof. From funding to internal frameworks and staffing, companies cite missing resources as a major obstacle in consistently producing excellent experiences. One crucial resource for thriving B2B companies, for example, is CRM software. The investment in such a tool to best manage customer data and insights will reduce the chance of customer loss due to a service issue. Customers that discontinue a business relationship because of poor service are less likely to come back than those who leave based on price alone. Take advantage of the information at your fingertips and secure the best resource – internal or through outsourcing – to manage your customer relationships.
How Do You Resolve a Bad CX?
- Identify the Issue: Research the customer’s situation to understand if recent trends, technologies, operations, or market conditions changed their process or goals which caused them to discontinue your product or service. Through this investigation, B2B companies may uncover pain points related to the health of the relationship, communication, or in the value delivery. Find out what made the experience bad and why the customer decided to leave.
- Respond Promptly: Expeditiously address all customer questions and complaints so that the customer gets the information they require to do their job well. Your immediate attention to a customer’s concerns expresses that the company cares about their business and appreciates their feedback. B2B sales and customer success reps actively listen to customers, convey trust and understanding, and aim to be as accommodating as possible.
- Act on Feedback: Review customer input with the full team responsible for managing the customer journey. Your team may include product development, sales, customer success, marketing, finance, and beyond. Use the feedback to improve upon the experience and be sure to communicate to customers that you’ve taken those steps. When it comes time to reach out to the customer, apologize first for the customer having a bad experience. This acknowledges disappointment in not meeting the customer’s needs and holds the company accountable. Customers appreciate a company taking responsibility for what went wrong and who are committed to continuous improvement; not perfection.
- Commitment to Quality: Leverage customer data to produce personalized service throughout the journey. Each member of your team needs to understand the customer journey, the sales process and how their contributions influence the outcome. Empowering employees to resolve customer concerns as they arise is helpful in accelerating response times. Businesses should review current operational systems and make necessary changes to ensure that the company values and quality of the customer experience are not sacrificed.
- Focus on Value: Companies want to uphold all product or service promises made to the customer and stay in close communication about what and how you’re following through on what you said. Regularly check-in with the customer goals, challenges, and concerns you established to make sure customer expectations continue to be met. If needs are met and problems resolved, the customer will see the value in their relationship with you.
Before leaping into action, going after every customer that discontinues service with you, make sure you fully understand the situation. Target customers that have a high propensity to return, know what happened and why; and then follow these five steps to win back business. The process may take time, in which B2B sales teams can offer incentives to return and B2B marketers can focus on building positive sentiment with frequent communication and content.