Should Your
Tech Consulting Firm
Invest in Customer Experience?

By David Smith
CX
Content
Marketing

Many tech consulting firms struggle with determining their best marketing investment. Some suffer from shiny-object syndrome (jumping on a marketing bandwagon in hopes any change will lead to elusive results) or employ twisted reverse psychology (ignoring their marketing in hopes that it will miraculously fix itself). 

The answer to the question “Where should I invest my marketing dollars, time, and effort?” should be improving customer experience.

Customer experience the sum of experiences a prospect or customer has with your company. Customer experience spans the entire lifecycle, is not limited to a specific channel or limited to an interaction or experience.

Dale Carnegie famously said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”  From a marketing viewpoint, that emotion is customer experience, and your focus should be on creating an experience that delights.

Why is Customer Experience Important?

According to McKinsey, in cases where high-tech B2B companies have undertaken broad transformations of their customer-experience processes, the impact has been higher client-satisfaction scores, reductions of 10% to 20% in cost-to-serve, revenue growth of 10% to 15%, and an increase in employee satisfaction.

Today’s consumer, including B2B buyers, expect a positive customer experience. Salesforce reports that 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g., website, social media, mobile, or in person). Failure to deliver what your customer believes to be a positive emotional outcome will jeopardize future business dealings.

A Walker report states that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020. That means customer experience can also be a significant way to differentiate your firm from every other firm that claims to do the same as yours.

Zendesk reports in a study, 71% of respondents indicated that expectations for customer service are increasing year-on-year.

Furthering answering the question “why,” Gartner has stated that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.   I know you may find that hard to believe and may even argue this self-reliance will not happen in the technology consulting industry.

As you can see, positive customer experiences are an expectation, and that expectation is increasing. That’s why improving your customer experience is a smart investment.

Where is “Customer Experience”?

Improving customer service involves many things. Strategic elements like the ideal customer and channel evaluation, better design of your website, anticipating questions (even unasked ones) and delivering quality content at the right time, are all involved.

Customer experience has risen to the level of brand.  Not surprisingly, a positive customer experience brand will do better than a negative customer experience brand.

Your website is often the first place your company or brand is introduced to a prospect.  How well that experience goes will say a lot about future interactions. You are establishing the measure all other touchpoints will be measured against.  Adobe reports that customers who had an unpleasant experience on your website are 88% less likely to return to your site.

And when you introduce the need to provide a similar experience regardless of channel (#omnichannel is real) the task of “improving customer experience” can touch most components of your sales, marketing, delivery, and support systems.

Prospects and customers use, on average, six touchpoints when they evaluate your business.  And plainly they need to be satisfied with what they find. In fact, according to Kampyle, 87% of customers think brands need to put effort into providing a more consistent experience across channels.

“The first step? Understanding your ideal customer.”

How to Improve your Customer Experience

To improve the customer experience of your business, you’ll first have to concentrate on your marketing strategy elements and then translate strategy into action.

The strategic elements of your marketing begin with knowing the buyer and how they buy.  Understanding your ideal customer in both demographic and psychographic terms will allow you to create a persona(s) which are fact-based portraits of fictional characters. They help you understand the influences and pressures your ideal customers respond to.

The next step, and potentially the most important, is understanding how they buy.

Ask yourself how they recognize a need, what they do to rationalize the need, how the research, where they look for answers and who directly influences them. When you begin to map out the progression, you will be building the buyers journey for that persona.

You’ll identify steps, for example, performs an Internet search, evaluates both paid and organic results, and chooses to click on the one that best piques their interest. This definition of the buyer’s journey should continue past the transaction point and into how your customer receives value from your business, and further into renewal and referral stages.   

Once you map out the buyer’s journey steps, you will need to answer the questions of “what do they hope to achieve at this step” and “how do I give them what they need”?  You will discover that there are multiple types of interactions, outcomes, and content intersections.    

Mapping content to the buyer’s journey helps you provide prospects with the information they need at the moment they need it.   

Imagine this scenario: a prospect has decided that your service is what they need.  They have reviewed your website content, gone to other consulting firm sites, and found their way back to you.  What do they need at this moment? How can you improve their experience?   Maybe providing something that helps them organize their thoughts and helps them reduce the number of decision points would be helpful.  This could be a great opportunity to offer them with a checklist or prioritization tool.  And by providing the right content at the right time, you have improved their customer experience.

That’s how customer experience works.  You anticipate the prospects or customers’ needs based on your expertise and apply that knowledge to help them decided to continue the journey with you or determine they are not a good fit.

The example above is just one step of the buyer’s journey.  You’ll need to evaluate the entire prospect-to-customer path to determine where to make improvements, and which improvements have a higher priority than others.

Convinced that customer experience is where you should invest?   

Here’s one more reason:  most tech consulting firms will NOT commit to improving their customer experience. They believe they can rely solely on referrals (customer or reputation driven). But remember, referrals will check out your company online, and if your customer experience is inadequate their enthusiasm for contacting you will diminish. This means customer experience is an excellent opportunity for your firm to eclipse your competition.

What’s stopping you from improving your customer experience?

Want to discuss the impact that improving customer service can have on your business?

Schedule a consultation with us today!

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