Gallup’s new Guide to Customer Centricity unveils several sobering data points about the relationship between B2B organizations and their customers.
Gallup developed the report using “in-depth interviews with hundreds of thousands of customers and an analysis from measuring the engagement of 18 million customers.”
This makes it one of the most comprehensive reports on the B2B market — so you should probably listen up.
The report’s biggest findings tell a story of rampant apathy between B2B companies and their clients:
- Only 29 percent of customers are fully engaged
- 60 percent are indifferent
- 11 percent are actively disengaged
The word engagement is overused these days, but it’s clear that the vast majority of B2B customers feel little to no investment in their relationships with vendors.
The phrase “actively disengaged” even suggests that certain customers are aggressive — though it remains unclear exactly how they act on their unrest.
Why Don’t People Care?
Also Read: Remember: B2B Leads are People, Too
Developing meaningful connections with people has always been a struggle for B2B companies. Even the advent of content marketing has done little to change this dynamic — only 6 percent of B2B buyers say they are “very trusting” of vendor content.
Part of the problem is circumstance: a technology or a service may be selected by a cadre of professionals and pushed down to the rest of the company. In this scenario, it’s more important to simply have a good product.
Another part of the problem is customer success. In the report, Gallup writes, “B2B companies across all industries are at risk of being replaced — not because of their product or pricing, but because they are failing their customers.”
This covers everything from resolving support tickets quickly to developing programs that ensure they flourish not only with a company’s product or service, but with their larger strategies.
Gallup advises B2B organizations to focus their efforts on becoming more “customer centric” using a four step model:
- Evaluate the current state of the customer relationship.
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis to uncover key customer priorities.
- Use your research to identify key customer metrics and measure your performance against them.
- Detail specific tasks and strategies to improve the customer experience.
Basically, Gallup is saying that most of the B2B industry still isn’t proficient at understanding their customers, and that the easiest way to get people to care about your company is to help them with things they care about.
How is this still a thing?
The Customer Success Shuffle
When it comes to acquisition, the responsibility clearly lies at the feet of sales and marketing.
Customer success is much less straightforward.
Many organizations employ customer success managers, but too often these positions act as salespeople in disguise. They focus primarily on account management and ignore opportunities to work with marketing to develop resources aimed at fortifying the success of each account.
Many organizations employ customer success managers, but too often these positions act as salespeople in disguise.
Similarly, marketers think only of their lead generation numbers without considering how to help the clients who’ve already committed to their company — and who are best positioned to spend more money.
As a result, customer success oscillates between departments without a real place to call home. Naturally, this leads to a poor customer experience, which breeds discord between businesses and their companies.
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Gallup’s report covers a lot of ground, but one of its main themes is that the B2B world is still struggling to construct brands that people love.
The remedy is unnervingly obvious: be more helpful, and people will like you.