Forrester Research this week launched the B2B Tech Customer Experience (CX) Index, a methodology that measures how well tech companies in the business-to-business segment deliver customer experiences that create and sustain customer loyalty.
Forrester introduced the CS Index in 2007 to help consumer brands evaluate the experiences they deliver to their customers. The B2B index uses the B2C-oriented CX Index as a foundation, providing B2B firms a similar methodology to assess their emerging CX practices.
The index looks at the following:
- The number of stakeholders within a single account, including business analysts, procurement officers, tech management executives, systems administrators, end users, and help desk staff;
- Stakeholders' involvement at the four key stages of the account lifecyle—customer acquisition, implementation, operation (use), and support; and
- The role partners play in delivering the customer experience, looking at what they deliver independently, in collaboration with the vendor, and what vendors deliver on their own.
"Because these partners own significant portions of the customer journey, B2B CX pros must assess their partners' performance as part of the end-to-end customer experience," explains TJ Keitt, a Forrester senior analyst covering customer experience professionals. This new methodology, he adds, measures what business customers expect from interactions with their technology vendors.
The goal of any B2B interaction should be to deliver value by meeting customer's business objectives while protecting his business interests, according to Keitt. Good B2B customer experiences, he notes, not only deliver value to customers; they are also effective, reliable, and trustworthy.
Evaluating how effective, reliable, and trustworthy the experience vendors and their partners deliver at different points in the account lifecycle allows CX pros at B2B tech companies to judge how well the experience sustains customer loyalty and find fixes for breakpoints in customer journeys. It does this first by linking high Index scores with four types of loyalty: retention, advocacy, enrichment, and willingness to be a reference. It then asks customers to explain what makes an experience effective, reliable, and trustworthy and plots these experience drivers on an importance/performance grid, helping CX pros identify the activities that drag down the customers overall assessments of their experiences.
Using the B2B Index, preliminary Forrester data found that many vendors have work to do when it comes to CX. Among the findings are the following:
- Thirty-eight percent of B2B customers say getting the right level of support for their businesses is easy.
- Thirty-four percent believe B2B vendors put their own support needs first.
- Just 42 percent say their B2B vendors ensure their solutions don't affect other technologies that they already have in place.
- Only 48 percent say their B2B vendors share novel ways to use their products.
To improve on this, Forrester suggests that vendors offer clients access to technical demonstrations and previews and redesign their CX processes to be more customer-obsessed.