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Customer Experience: Fake It At Your Peril

Posted on September 16, 2016 , by Steve Bernstein
Customer Experience:  Fake It At Your Peril

Dear IBM, HPE, Software AG, and the other 31-B2B Technology Companies on the Top Half of Temkin’s latest research,
You might have seen Temkin Group’s  just-released annual benchmark of IT Companies.  Congratulations on your hard work!  We can probably smile together, as I guarantee you that leadership in the companies on the BOTTOM half of the list are doing two things:

  1. They’re saying that Bruce’s methods are flawed and that NPS is bogus anyway.  As a top-ranked vendor you already know that the people in this camp are too late to question it: the news is out there and their customers don’t like them.  Whether the leadership in that company believes it or not, we know there is a sizable IT community that is bad-mouthing (spreading “negative word-of-mouth” about) those companies.  I wonder for how long they’ll continue to be in denial and if they’ll want to take the right steps to do something different…?
  2. They’re trying to figure out why the internally-collected data they have from their own customers tell a different story.  But you and I know why:  It’s because they’re running a survey program,  not a customer success program.  They believe that B2C techniques apply to B2B and they focus on statistics, not relationships.  Those companies at the bottom of the list are using sampling techniques, but they don’t realize how important “census” is in B2B.  Revenue is built one-account-at-a-time, and there are multiple people (“roles”) that comprise the buying committee.  Whether those lower-performing companies realize it or not, account-level feedback is probably more valuable to the business than aggregate feedback.

Those poor-CX companies probably don’t realize the non-respondents are a key segment in B2B.  You know that when you’ve positioned the feedback program correctly then you’ll see high participation rates (60-80% or more) from your contacts.  But those lower-performing companies are ignoring their non-responders because they don’t realize those customers are disengaged and see no reason to respond to your survey.  But those people talk to other people in a different context… such as colleagues within their company, or fellow attendees at a major technology conference.
I’m sure we agree that third-party, blind studies such as this one should be wake-up calls for B2B companies that believe in surveys more than relationships.  We know that actively requesting feedback and then addressing it head-on is the key to strengthening customer relationships that accelerate profitable growth.  Since your company is on the top-half of the list you also know that the front-line holds a key to making it work for everyone in your company.
Congratulations on your success and keep up the good work!