Without consideration of user context, you may simply be collecting data, subjecting data to rudimentary or inappropriate analyses, generating numbers with percentage points and coming up short about the strategic implications of your findings.
Chew on those sentences for a while.
Customer experience (CX) grew out of The Experience Economy movement, based on the 1999 seminal book written by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. The business successes, and customer loyalty, gained by companies adopting an experience economy strategy catalyzed growth in primarily B2C (business-to-consumer) companies in the hospitality, travel and entertainment industries.
Hey, what works for B2C can work for B2B, right? Well, let’s just say something is lost in a one-size-fits all transfer of methodology from B2C into B2B.
Why? The duration and quality of respective user context changes. A lot.
Consider the business case for CX data and user context in manufacturing, compared with B2C industries.
In the decades prior to 1999, B2B (business-to-business) enterprises “experienced” rapid shifts in advances in robotics and automation. These advances gained critical mass by 2011. This industrial paradigm was named Industrie 1.0 (Germany), the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) by GE and other US manufacturers. Not surprisingly, Pine and Gilmore re-released a new 2011 version of The Experience Economy which started to address the impact of Internet of Things technologies on business and customer experience.
However, business-to-business organizations relied on (and still do) every-now-and-then surveys of post-service CX to capture perceived service quality delivery. Surveys mostly capture the same type of “So how did we do?” information collected in consumer-focused industries.
How you capture and treat CX data can either impact or short-change the strategic value of insights on B2B organizational growth, expansion and sustainability.
If you are going to collect CX data, collect it and interpret it like a manufacturer. Then do something with the data!
Ask yourself these four business and operational questions. Then decide whether, or not, you intend to take action based on your responses.
My first question to you: Unless you are in the hospitality, travel or entertainment industries, why collect and utilize CX data the same way these industries do?
My second question to you: Why collect CX data if you do not intend to take corrective action and implement process improvements based on your findings?
My third question to you: Who owns CX data in a manufacturing organization if everyone in your enterprise contributes to client experience?
My fourth question to you: Why is your manufacturing organization polling managers and decisions makers about post-sale CX and ignoring end user context?
User context humanizes CX data.
Capturing user context creates real-time situational usage scenarios for how operators interact with machines, software interfaces and platforms and each other within operations-based settings.
When it comes down to manufacturing, engineering and technology industries, each industry’s fate is intertwined in what can be a 5-20 year equipment lifecycle. That is a lot of CX data to collect.
You can thank the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem for creating this degree of synchronous connectivity. Not only are industries connected to each other. Consider the changes in workforce composition and dynamics, market demands and business strategy that can, and will, occur over a 5-20 year equipment lifecycle. That is a lot of end user context to capture as well.
End user context and end user experience humanizes CX metrics. The intersection of data and humanity is where line of business value is created: for your own organization and your clients’ as well.
Can you afford to ignore all the data you need to collect?
By continuing to poll, post-sale, the buyers and decision makers who signed the original contract, organizations miss out on “sticking close to post-sale customers.” End user context heavily impacts whether a supplier/vendor organization is considered a valued, go-to resource as pre-sale promises are played out each day on the plant floor.
Is it time for your organization to return to the CX drawing board and capture user context?
User context is captured through qualitative methods like Voice of the Customer / Quality Function Deployment methodology. Incorporating the impact that different users have on equipment performance provides insight into which operators, shifts and team scenarios are more likely to be compliant with or, alternatively, lead to equipment over-use, mis-use or failure.
If your CX initiative remains sequestered in the sales or marketing arm of your organization, you gain only half of the big picture contributing to customer success and customer retention. In my Playbook, everyone owns CX data because everyone creates these data.
My advice: Consider traversing the sales-engineering interface® to gain relevant and valuable insights about how your products, services and equipment create operational and line of business value for your clients. Even if you, initially, are uncomfortable or intimidated speaking with the folks on the other side of the enterprise.
Get started. Take action. Poke your organization’s big toe into these collaborative waters today. The difference is in your business outcome.
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks and coaches about customer success for customer retention. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.