Top 12 CX Issues for Business Customers

How to Improve Customer Experience thru your Customer's Lifecycle

August 8, 2015

Our top twelve most despised customer experience "gotchas" that afflict business customers are derived from the customer experience co-design work we do with dozens of companies and their customers each year. These customer "moments of truth" have remained fairly consistent over the past decade. If you address each one of these showstoppers for your business customers, you'll reap major benefits in customer retention, referrals, and share of wallet.


Companies that sell to business customers often have difficulty prioritizing customer experience improvements over product development. However, if you can’t deliver an excellent customer experience, no business will continue to buy from you. Here are the top twelve things that annoy business customers the most. Try improving your performance on any or all of them and notice what results you achieve in customer satisfaction, referrals, renewals and upsells.

Customer Experience is a Challenge for Business Accounts

Why B2B Customer Experience is Hard

Every company with business customers wants to do a great job, deliver great products and service, and be rewarded by loyal customers who will recommend your brand to their colleagues and continue to do business with you when they start at a new company. Yet, pleasing business customers is hard. Customer Lifecycle from the Customer's ViewpointIt’s hard because they’re demanding on price, delivery, service levels, and quality.

Invisible Customers. Satisfying business customers is also hard because there are so many “invisible” customers in each account. In over 30 years of working with B2B companies, we have yet to find one that has a decent customer database that is accurate and up-to-date in terms, not only of who the decision-maker, purchaser, and account administrator are, but who the influencers, service technicians, and all the end-users are. If you don’t know whose jobs are impacted by the products and services you provide, it’s hard to design and deliver a great experience for those end-users and internal support folks.

Focus on Differentiation; Not Information. Most companies that sell products and services to businesses try to maintain high profit margins through differentiation. They tout superior products. They pride themselves on their hand-holding and service. They sell top down at the account level in order to procure multi-year contracts and service agreements. What most companies neglect, or choose not to divulge for “free,” is precisely what their customers would value the most: the customers’ own information about how well they’re using your products and services to do their jobs, what benefits they’ve gained, and how they could improve.

Give Customers Access to THEIR Information

Businesses that sell to businesses typically neglect to provide all the end-users of their products and services with easy access to the information those customers need to do their jobs and to interact with the supplier’s products, services, and support personnel. Businesses hang on to the myth that only a handful of “internal customers” (administrators, purchasers, internal tech support) should manage the information for the customer’s account. This is a huge mistake. It leads to tremendous customer dissatisfaction and higher support costs.


Focus on the Known CX Issues for B2B Customers

But here’s the good news. We can help you identify and mitigate the moments of truth for your business customers and help you design better processes and work arounds that will satisfy, or even delight them. The best place to start is with the known moments of truth for business customers. Our dozen pet peeves are the issues that typically keep your customers from being able to successfully acquire and use your products and services.

Our B2B moments of truth are pretty current. They’re based on customer experience design work we’ve done with B2B customers over the past 24 monthsBut, not surprisingly, the patterns of which issues annoy customers the most are quite consistent over the years. You can learn more about these customer experience patterns by reading our series of Customer Scenario® Patterns’ articles, in particular:

       How Customers want to Find and Purchase Your Products/Services

       How Customers want to Return or Exchange a Product

       How Customers want to get their Products Fixed and Problems Resolved

       How Customers want to Buy More of your Products

       How Customers want to Upgrade to a New “Model”

Each report focuses on one Customer Scenario: how a particular group of customers (customers in a specific role) ideally wants to get something done. In a business account, you’ll deal with customers in different roles throughout your relationship with the people in the account. When you’re in the pre-sales mode, you’re working with key influencers and decision-makers, and occasionally, expert end-users. Once customers are using your products and/or services, you’re providing training and support to help end-users better understand and leverage these tools and to help them troubleshoot, solve problems, and avoid future problems. When contracts are up for renewal, or the products need to be refreshed, or the customers’ needs change, you will probably be dealing, once again, with key influencers and decision-makers, but these may be different folks than the ones you started out with—now you’re dealing with the people whose jobs rely most on your products and services.

Across the entire customer lifecycle, and across these different customer roles, we’ve identified a dozen customer-critical issues. We call these “moments of truth” because the quality of the experience you provide at each one is highly likely to make or break your entire account relationship.

What are Business Customers’ Moments of Truth?

The Dozen Things that Annoy Your Customers

Here are the current Moments of Truth that keep emerging as we work with business customers to co-design their ideal customer experiences in a wide variety of industries, with quite different products and services—from software to information, from analysis to capital equipment, from professional services to office or manufacturing supplies:

The 12 CX Moments of Truth for B2B Customers

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