B2B customer experience research blog

B2B Customer Experience Research: Here’s what you need to know!

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To elevate your customer experience, it’s important to deeply understand the customer journey first. As customer experience (CX) is progressing at an exponential scale, gaining a 360-degree view of their customers has become imperative for brands to outshine the existing competition. That’s where the need for structured B2B customer experience research arises. In this article, we’ll discuss what B2B customer experience research is, its importance, and how can you make the most of it. Let’s start:

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What is B2B Customer Experience Research?

Customers are the lifeblood of every business. As per research, it’s five times more expensive for brands to attract a new customer than retain an existing one. So if a brand wants to maximize its ROI, maintaining healthy relationships with the existing customers is paramount. A customer experience (CX) is the overall perception of customers based on their experience with your company, products, or services. It is mainly influenced by the interactions that happen between a brand and its customers at different touchpoints of their journey.   

Considering this in mind, brands need to frame customer research strategies that include some unique design elements tailored to understand the ways through which customers interact with them. Specifically described as “B2B customer experience research”, it aims at identifying, collecting, and analyzing data about the crucial touchpoints throughout the customer’s decision-making process. Leveraging a B2B customer experience research empowers brands to seamlessly understand customers’ pain points and unlock actionable insights to elevate the overall customer experience.

Why does B2B Customer Experience Research matter?

In today’s digital world where social media has become more important than ever, delivering an exceptional customer experience is a competitive advantage for all kinds of businesses. However, there’s a huge gap between the experiences that customers desire and what brands are offering them. As per Bain and Co, 80% of businesses believe they’re providing a compelling customer experience, whereas only 8% of customers agree to it actually. Due to the quick distribution of social media platforms, a poor experience can cause massive harm to a brand’s image whereas a positive experience can swiftly contribute to customer loyalty and recommendation.

An effective B2B customer experience research helps you gain valuable insights into customers’ needs, issues, as well as pain points. Leveraging this information, you can focus on improving customer centricity while increasing your customers’ lifetime value. Moreover, it empowers CX leaders to experience revenues that are 4-8% higher than the market.

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Making the most of your B2B Customer Experience Research

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  • Start by setting up your business goals
    As B2B customer experience research is known to truly affect the whole business, so it’s important to involve the executive team for making it more impactful. You can begin by using a top-level metric like NPS and CSAT as a north star while conducting research. However, the CX metric should ideally display the customers’ overall temperament towards your brand. The CX metric you select should be able to work flexibly in various formats as well as different granular levels. For instance, you can use CSAT for getting an answer to a broader question like “How satisfied are you with our company-wide CX?” In fact, you can utilize CSAT for analyzing interactions⁠ such as customer service chat. It is considered a crucial step for gathering the overall experience of your company and would need a separate mechanism for acquiring information. 
  • Identify your customer journey
    After stating the goals and metrics of your CX strategy, you need to focus on identifying the customer journeys that are most valuable to your business. The aim of this stage is to break down the broad “customer experience” into smaller and manageable units that your team members can easily improve.

    It’s important to brainstorm all the possible customer journeys that effectively map to your focused business goal. For businesses with multiple products & services, the possible journeys could be dozens; whereas for other companies, it might be only one or two.

    After fragmenting customer experience into smaller divisions, always optimize for journeys and not just touchpoints. A customer journey can:
  • include multiple touchpoints
  • end once a particular goal gets accomplished
  • be created according to the customer’s life.

By focusing on optimizing customer journeys saves you from over-optimizing specific touchpoints (which is a common tendency among everyone). However, there’s a risk associated with it that you might end up failing to improve the overall CX. 


  • Effectively map the (existing) customer journey

    After successfully identifying the crucial customer journeys, it’s essential to start mapping them. As customers come across multiple departments of a company during their journey, it’s important to collect information from all the possible sources involved. After gathering this data, you need to create personas and customer journey maps. While personas are a fictional representation of your customer segments that are used for performing customer research, customer journey maps are a graphical representation of how your customers behave to accomplish a certain goal. After putting a customer journey map and persona in place, get ready to ask your real users about their experiences and pain points. Here are a few qualitative research methods that you should consider at this stage: 
  • Ethnographic Interviews
    In this method, you access the natural environment of your customers and see them deal with a problem. After that, you follow up with them through questions in an interview.
  • Direct Observation
    It works similar to ethnographic interviews, the only difference is there are no interviews at the end. You go and check customers going through an issue and you don’t ask follow-up questions.
  • Diary Studies
    It asks customers to continuously track their recurring thoughts while they work through an issue. This method is appropriate for customers that interact with a brand on a frequent basis.
  • Customer Interviews
    Being the most extensively used qualitative research method, a customer interview includes asking customers multiple open-ended questions that are related to a particular goal. 
  • Develop a system for customer experience measurement
    Once you identify some areas for improvement, it’s imperative to build a real-time measurement system before implementing them. This system plays a pivotal role in every customer experience strategy as it helps to quantify your performance for the most critical customer touchpoints, in real-time. Also, it offers a baseline for the customer satisfaction levels of your current customers. As per McKinsey, your customer feedback measurement system needs to possess two main characteristics which include:
  • providing accurate feedback in real-time.
  • displaying the feedback map in an easy-to-understand digital format.

 

  • Ideate, Create, Test, Repeat
    After setting up a CX measurement system and creating a journey map, it’s time to start ideating CX improvements. Before you begin with building solutions, don’t forget to stay in touch with your customers and getting feedback from them regularly. Based on the level of your CX improvements, you might need to test prototypes multiple times before finalizing on one. Always remember that improving customer experience is a continuous process and you’re never done with it completely! Keep iterating and refining to serve your customers more efficiently and stand apart from your competitors! 

The customer experience has certainly become the most crucial differentiator for business success, thereby making B2B customer experience research a mandatory investment for brands striving to uplift their market share, growth, as well as relevancy. In case you need more information related to B2B customer experience research and how it can help to boost your ROI, get in touch with the experts at Voxco today!

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