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Q&A: Tech solutions to establish a proactive CX approach (Includes interview)

By implementing state-of-the-art product visualization and Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) tools, companies can pay more attention to detail and optimization across the sales and manufacturing processes. Adopting a proactive customer experience (CX) approach has the potential to lead to more satisfied customers and fewer customer support queries, along with increased brand loyalty and customer retention.

According to Kris Goldhair of KBMax, if companies can ensure that the customer journey is streamlined from the start, buyers will have fewer challenges along the way. Rather than investing in excellent customer service solutions that solve problems as they arise, companies should aim to mitigate customer issues from the start. Goldhair explains more to Digital Journal.

Digital Journal: How important is it for businesses to focus on the customer?

Kris Goldhair: It goes without saying: without a customer, there is no business. More and more, businesses are trying to build their businesses around the customer journey. A company can have the best product in the world, but if they aren’t catering to the needs of their customers throughout the buying process, their products simply won’t sell. Businesses lose out to their more customer-focused competitors time and time again, and customers continue to expect more from their customer journey. They want to shop around more easily, find the best deal, and purchase from the company that makes the buying process simple. Providing customers with the most streamlined buying process will help them choose you over the competition.

DJ: How can an online company proactively think about their customer service and how can they solve customer problems through digital channels?

Goldhair: The more interactive your company can be online and the more transparent you are about product information and data, the better. No one wants to wait on hold or be passed around through support representatives. Your business needs to offer self-service options, making it easy for customers to find information about products and solve their own problems. In an age where no one wants to talk on the phone anymore, providing a digital customer journey will show that your business is paying attention to and solving for your customer needs.

DJ: What are customers expecting? Does this differ for B2B customers compared with consumers?

Goldhair: Customers are expecting more from their customer journey, hoping for as few barriers along the way as possible. From a B2C standpoint, taking down these barriers is usually very straightforward. B2B customer journeys are behind in terms of accessibility of product information. But the same trend of self-service before entering the sales cycle exists for B2B and B2C customers alike. This might mean that B2B customers need to understand the pricing of a product or service before entering the sales cycle, which traditionally is kept behind closed doors.

Customers want to know that the product or service will fit into their company’s budget before spending the time talking to a salesperson. B2B companies are not as customer facing, but generally, they are trying to provide a more B2B2C-like experience to make their process similar to that of B2C. The B2B buying process generally has more barriers, so increasing the ease of use for customers will make the process feel more streamlined.

DJ: How can companies better use new technology in general?

Goldhair: Helping customers visualize the product before they purchase is one of the most significant steps companies can take with new technology. More companies are trying to make the buying experience for their customers seem like they are shopping on a B2C site like Amazon.

The success of any new technology that companies invest in should be measured through detailed analytics. Having access to consumer data and the ability to make sense of that data will help companies become more agile and streamline the buying process. Using data to find out what parts of the buying journey people get stuck on and where the issues lie, can lead to actionable solutions that will allow companies to drill down on the details of what customers want and need. Companies can use analytics to continually improve the customer experience using real-time information to inform the changes they are making to the company processes.

DJ: How much data are customers willing to share? How is customer data best protected?

Goldhair: The more B2C-like a transaction is, the more customers are willing to share information. B2B customers understand that if they want access to product information, they will have to share their information.

For companies selling expensive B2B equipment and technology, they understand that they are not going to sell a large volume, like a B2C company. With that in mind, these companies have a stronger need for customer information to be able to effectively use customer data. They need to make sure that the people viewing product information are actually interested in buying the product, not just competitors trying to figure out how their product works.

As far as data protection, the last few years, places like Europe have implemented stricter privacy laws, like GDPR. These ensure companies are being honest about what data they are tracking and collecting, making it easier for customers and companies to be on the same page.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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