I spend a lot of time with my clients in the B to B world discussing Customer Experience as a strategy platform for growth. While customer experience in the consumer space has been well understood; how it might apply in complex business to business services is not. Regardless of whether or not you sell tangible products or more intangible services, customer experience counts.
The term “Customer Experience” means a lot of things to different people. I define the term as the sum of all experiences that a customer has with an organization over time, and how that influences future behavior. Of course the particular behavior that we are concerned about is whether the customer will buy from us again and also be an advocate for others to purchase from us. By a strange coincidence (or not so strange) this sounds similar to the goals of Net Promoter.
Net Promoter, for me , is a great tool to measure Customer Experience at a macro level. But once you have the measurement, what happens? If the measurement goes up or down do you know why? What are the operant factors that drive NPS in your particular environment? Most of my clients don’t really have good answers. The traditional operating metrics in B to B organizations are meant to drive quality improvements, focused on efficiency, cost reduction, etc. Few if any quantitatively measure the elements that affect customer experience. Few understand how customer touch points, business process, business systems, company policy, culture, HR practices, regulatory compliance and other factors affect Customer Experience and NPS.
The issue is that companies and employees want to care about the customer, it is in the mission statements, it is on company slogans, but then they measure their operations around models put together by the likes of Demming or Adam Smith who were focused on the industrial revolution. If you want to measure and drive efficiency and quality programs then you need to know how that will affect customer experience.
The world is a service based economy. The GDP of the world is driven by service. In the US alone, 75% of the GDP is from the services sector. We need new models to measure and monitor success. Using the customer as the ultimate measure and arbiter of that success has to be the way of the future.
If you are working on these issues for your business, I look forward to exchanging ideas with you at the upcoming Net Promoter Conference in San Francisco.