Today’s business climate puts heavy emphasis on differentiation. How are channel partners separating themselves from the rest? How are they getting ahead when the competition is stiff? Well, it’s all about providing an unparalleled customer experience. We’re beyond the days of consumers selecting the cheapest product or service. It’s all about the experience.
American consumers will pay 17% more to purchase from a company with a reputation for great service. (American Express)
So where does that leave us?
In 2020, companies are going toe-to-toe in customer experience (CX), and more than ever, businesses that fail to deliver on CX are finding themselves with rapidly sinking customer retention rates and ultimately, lower revenue streams. It’s no secret that the urgency behind CX is very real and IT channel partners aren’t exempt from the rat race emerging in today’s market.
A CX strategy should very much align with the buyer journey. Customers are making instantaneous decisions on how, when, where and on what device they communicate with their companies. This means that businesses, must be able to meet consumer demands, regardless of how fragmented those demands are, and they must do it at the drop of a hat. No delays. No confusion. No missed conversations.
Customers switching companies due to poor service costs U.S. companies a total of $1.6 trillion. (Accenture)
So, what does that mean for channel partners? Well, we know that today’s modern customer enjoys a flexible buying journey. Consumers have become adept at making purchases on trains and planes, during class and at work, with a glass of wine in their hand or while walking their dog. We can even go as far as to say they’re pressing “buy” while sitting on a toilet. Buyers are THAT versatile. Especially tech customers.
In the same breadth, consumers are equally expecting 24/7/365 customer service during all of those same activities. Yes…consumers are web chatting in to businesses while sitting on a toilet. It happens, and it’s considered a norm now. Consumers want to experience instant satisfaction and will indulge in receiving the service they desire, no matter where or what they are doing. It’s the society we live in and channel partners must understand that to be successful.
Seemingly now more important than providing customers with a cutting-edge product, channel partners must raise the bar as it pertains to customer service. They can’t just sell products. They must sell the entire experience. A finely tuned package that combines product and service. A package that promises ease of use and puts customer success and experience in the spotlight.
So, it’s safe to say that in today’s market, tech vendors and their partners are prioritizing CX ahead of sales metrics. Why? Because it works. We’re seeing that relying on customer intelligence tools to better understand tech customers is prompting better business decisions that positively impact the bottom line.
Investing in CX initiatives has the potential to double your revenue within 36 months. (Digital Trends)
Unfortunately, channel partners are early adopters in the CX world. While delivering a powerful customer experience should seem intuitive, there is a steep learning curve. Businesses are not born with the ability to provide top quality CX. It’s an acquired skill, and those channel partners that struggle to meet modern customer demands are at a colossal disadvantage in the buyer journey.
Furthermore, channel partners that work with multiple vendors are putting themselves at an even greater disadvantage if their CX game is lacking. A powerhouse partner business can quickly turn their customer experience into a disjointed, discombobulated, mess with no way out of the rabbit-hole if their customer service strategy isn’t aligned, transparent and supportive.
However, the awareness is growing. We’re seeing channel partners make immense changes to their business models to ensure that CX is a main priority, and guess what? It’s working.
Companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%. (Forrester)
Many channel partners are addressing everything from first contact engagement to ongoing customer management, and it’s those channel partners that are putting CX first that are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the runners in the race. They are spending more resources on CX, but in the end, they’re experiencing quickly rising profits from new and existing customers.