An overwhelming majority of business-to-business (B2B) organizations are spending more on initiatives to improve their customers’ experience but many are not getting the most return on those investments, according to new research from Accenture. In fact, the study, based on a survey of 1,458 sales, service and customer executives of B2B companies in 13 countries, suggests most (76 percent) may be wasting up to half of their investment on ineffective customer experience initiatives.
Accenture’s research indicates that executives believe their business customers increasingly are exhibiting consumer-like behavior in terms of how they view, interact with and buy from their suppliers; including their knowledge of the market, higher expectations and greater price sensitivity. As a result, 43 percent of B2B supplier executives say they intend to increase spending on improving customer experience programs by 6 percent or more over the next fiscal year. However, more than half the respondents admit that their customer experience programs had achieved little, flat or negative return in terms of retaining customers (55 percent) and building global revenues (52 percent).
“The relationship between company and supplier has changed,” said Robert Wollan, global managing director of Accenture’s Sales and Customer Services practice. “Business customers are acting more like consumers. They know more about the services on offer, expect more customized solutions, and are more price sensitive. “Companies say they recognize this but the majority are not designing and executing the necessary changes effectively. This creates a drain on profitability and missed opportunities. Getting B2B customer experience right increasingly determines market success, but too many companies are ‘playing not to lose’ rather than ‘playing to win.’”