Let your customers’ voice guide your strategy
B2B companies that excel in building strong customer relationships consistently outperform peers.
Whether your company is (or is not) highly customer-centric appears to be one of the hottest management topics today, especially for B2B businesses. Articles and reports with titles like “Customer centricity wins”, “Be customer oriented” and “Why customer focus matters” are just a few examples from the arsenal of ideas being routinely flung at you. But is the path for improvement clear for your organisation?
Consequently, many B2B companies are actively trying and consistently investing in becoming more customer-oriented. This is, however, easier said than done: organisational barriers – like a poor common definition for what customer-centricity means, functional silos within the organisation and employees’ mindset – often force companies’ efforts to oblivion. If these barriers are overcome, a new set of typical pitfalls into which companies might fall emerges. For example, when reflecting about their customers, many B2B companies tend to think too much in terms of customer segments or customer classes, and too little in terms of individual customers and people – when the latter in fact form the cornerstone of building connections and strengthening relationships. Also, defined actions to improve customer relationships do not always follow a clear strategy and are often executed in an uncoordinated and untargeted manner, sinking many resources while yielding little value. Finally, in order to become more customer-centric, managers often focus on implementing new processes and systems, instead of actually communicating with and actively listening to their customers. This lack of clarity on the right path to follow towards true customer-orientation results in very few, barely 14%, of B2B marketing professionals seeing their own company as customer-centric. And as a result, the vast majority, north of 70%, of B2B customers feel indifferent or even disengaged with their vendors. QVARTZ has developed a tool and approach to help B2B clients improve their performance. The Customer Relationship Strength Indicator (CRSI) is based on a comprehensive customer feedback programme, which QVARTZ has successfully applied for a string of B2B clients, allowing them to capture the strength of their customer relationships and leading to concrete improvement actions.