THE PANDEMIC HAS SUBJECTED COMPANIES TO A NEW OPERATIONAL REALITY. THE B2B ENVIRONMENT HAS UNDERGONE A HUGE CHANGE IN THE RELATIONSHIP MODEL WITH ORGANIZATIONS TO THE POINT OF ADAPTING SOME OF THE DYNAMICS OF B2C. IN THIS RACE FOR ADAPTATION, PEOPLE ARE POSITIONED AS THE AXIS ON WHICH THE NEW FORM OF ACTION MUST SWING. DIGITIZATION HAS DESIGNED THE IMMINENT FUTURE OF COMPANIES. THIS IS PREDICTED BY THE IRRUPTION OF TECHNOLOGY THAT IS FERVENTLY DEVELOPING IN ALL AREAS OF OPERATION AND ORGANIZATION OF COMPANIES. ONCE AGAIN, THE DIGITAL AGE ALLOWS COMPANIES TO PRINT A HALO OF HOPE IN AN ECOSYSTEM THAT DEMANDS GREATER AGILITY, FLEXIBILITY AND ADAPTATION TO CHANGES.
Alejandra Lorene, Global B2B Marketing Manager at Citify, Alberto M. Becerra, and Enterprise Sales Manager at Iberia Zen desk and Carlos Molina, VP Digital & Sales at IZO reveal the keys to the transformation that companies are undergoing today.
The three profiles, experts in customer relations, participated in the colloquium organized by Sum’s B2B Week: “Omni channel B2B and digital transformation”. During the conversation, adaptability to change was highlighted as a competitive advantage of companies and customer experience as the new approach to the B2B environment. Both
lessons are revealed as solutions capable of guaranteeing the survival of a model where relational closeness prevails, but which is developed today under a purely virtual context.
Although the pandemic has erupted unexpectedly, the organizations already predicted a change in their structure and in the way they operate. This is what Becerra, sales manager at Zen desk, a company specialized in CRM, says: “The only thing that has done is to accelerate the inevitable. This irruption – somehow predicted – has provided companies with a magnificent opportunity to adapt. “And it has to do with time to value,” he says. For this reason, in this current situation it is more than necessary for organizations to make every effort to find that client that represents an added value for the proposal of each company.
“Customer understanding mechanisms translate into greater flexibility to change”, Carlos Molina, VP Digital & Sales IZO.
In Molina’s words: “Customer understanding mechanisms translate into greater flexibility to change.” These are a source of regeneration for companies because active listening to the customer, as well as the ability to observe their behavior, develop in organizations the capacity for traction and adaptation in the face of a changing context. Therefore, as the speakers agreed, it is appropriate to develop a new B2B approach around people. These, not only understood in the sense of customer. Also as employees.
Listen then act
The first step involves admitting from companies that they do not know everything. This is how Molina explains it: “One of the barriers for many organizations is that they believe they know their customers. In this sense, I believe that we must have humility and be aware that knowing what people want is an art. For this reason, the starting point of any company lies in knowing that we do not know”. Recognizing this lack of knowledge about our clients implies realizing the need to get closer and listen to their wishes and concerns. And, of course, build on it.
In addition, it should be noted that positioning people as the axis on which to operate allows
companies to be agile in adjusting the value proposition with respect to customer needs. However, the relevance of making the client’s practice an appropriate experience is not new. “It is not a unique consequence of the pandemic – illustrates Molina, an expert in customer experiences. Instead, it derives from a history: more and more companies are applying tools and technologies to better understand end-to-end customer experiences. “In this sense, all tools are intended to actively listen to the customer.
This has been a practice that companies like Citify have applied in their operational model and that has been an advantage in terms of flexibility under the context of COVID-19. During the pandemic, the Spanish company, provider of solutions in terms of mobility, has had to develop new alternatives with which to keep the model running. “We launched the Citify shipments proposal, a logistics solution for companies,” says Lorene, Global B2B Marketing Manager of the mobility company. And he adds: “We had to start listening and understanding the concerns of companies that, since these are made up of people, they were none other than security and savings. Based on this, our value proposition focused on offering savings tools to control spending and facilitate the mobility of employees safely”.
The mobility company has developed new solutions in its business model for companies and tries to integrate proposals adapted to the needs of the client in terms of labor mobility, safety and quality and flexibility in payment that guarantee business continuity at an extensive network of more than 70,000 companies. Its objective being to facilitate travel management efficiently and provide “corporate mobility at the pace of each business.” In this way, Citify Business provides a customization of your demand adapted to the particular needs of each of the companies that use its service.
Citify Business, the solutions adapted for the mobility company in the B2B environment.
However, this company-client interaction in order to solve their most pressing needs must be a purpose that must remain. And internalize, even, in the business culture. Far from being an
eventual practice, the detailed listening of the client arrives to consolidate itself as an unalterable habit in the relational model of companies.
“The detailed listening of the client arrives to consolidate itself as an unalterable habit in the relational model of companies”
Also, in terms of optimizing the customer experience, there are some challenges in the B2B environment to take into account. This is how Zen desk’s sales manager puts it: “The first is that there is no single customer. The election processes consist of an average of between four and six people. Therefore, building a consistent experience is not always possible, since we must consider many more actors in the same operation. The second is that the journey or trip, which is defined as simpler in B2C eWorld Trade, is more complex in the B2B “. And, complements Alejandra Lorene from Citify, “that implies that we must go with a much defined value proposition”.
The objective, in any case, lies in the need to build an emotional bond with the accounts. To do this, following the framework presented by Molina, three dimensions must be taken into account. The vice president of IZO explains how, in the first instance, the brand must generate behavior around values that will help generate a human connection with customers. Second, the product should be seen as another account link opportunity. “If you innovate in the product, you innovate in the customer experience,” says Molina. And, lastly, connecting with your audience can be an achievable goal if the company takes care of interactions through contact solutions.
Taking care of these three dimensions is an unavoidable task to identify opportunities. In Molina’s words: “Transmitting the values through which I want to be recognized, innovating in products to adapt them to the ways in which my clients will make use of them and personalizing communication with the client represent three spaces of action through which a company will be able to generate connection ”.
The IZO Company, for example, is revealed as an ally for the impact transformation of its partners because, according to the company, “every experience is an opportunity to make someone happy”. According to data from the second study on Customer Experience Management in B2B 2019 published by the DEC & Deloitte Digital Association, “53% of companies consider the customer experience as a strategic objective for the company”. This data only highlights the
importance of placing the customer at the center of the activity. In this sense, IZO developed last August a webinar on ” Customer Experience in the B2B Industry “Which drew up the roadmap to design the best experience to offer to customers with the aim of improving the company-customer relationship.
Webinar on Customer Experience in the B2B Industry organized by IZO last August.
Agility in adapting to changes and flexibility in the face of digital transformation have nothing but to do with a bigger issue: the concept of culture. This is corroborated by Zen desk: “It is the basis of everything: culture demonstrates the value of a brand and guides the way we treat customers.” While it is true that COVID-19 has tilted the vast majority of operational dimensions in companies, there is something that must be shown immovable: the principles. Even more so if, as mentioned above, the company’s values have a positive impact on relationships with companies.
“Culture demonstrates the value of a brand and guides the way we treat customers”, Alberto Becerra, Enterprise Sales Manager at Iberia Sendek
“From Citify – Lorene points out – we have our intrinsic purpose: we work to provide mobility solutions that help companies and cities. This is part of our culture that we try to promote internally in order to transmit it to users because we consider it to be one of our strongest values ”. As the mobility company points out, the cultural roots of a company with respect to its values must take into account the concept of the employee’s experience... In this sense, Molina adds that “attracting people with attitude and predisposition skills to learn and encourage them to be happy, content and committed allows projects not to be perceived as a source of income, but rather to form part of the philosophy of the companies”. This is the only way to build value.
The bonanzas of technology
In the objective of adaptation to a changing context, technology and its bonanzas have played an essential role. Although always behind people, this is an essential ally in this journey towards new alternatives or initiatives by companies. But, in addition, technological solutions have responded to the need for closeness that exists on the part of some companies that operate today in B2B and that have left behind the inheritance of face-to-face meetings or physical conversations to join virtual remedies.
In this sense, Zen desk, dedicated to the design of software to improve relationships in the B2B environment, designates technological solutions as a more than effective instrument in building the customer experience. “Technology – according to the article How Intelligent Use of Technology Makes All the Difference in CX – enables interaction with customers wherever they are and supports people and processes on the front line of customer experience .” In short, technological solutions provide the knowledge necessary to build the most satisfactory and efficient customer experience possible.
Article published by Zen desk on the use of technology as an essential tool for improving the CX.
Technology, for example, has allowed companies to open their sights to new channels that allow interaction with the customer. Far was the presence of the meetings. Instead, B2B operates from Omni channel. This is how Becerra from Zen desk illustrates: “My conversations with clients are carried out in a relational way through WhatsApp, in a similar way to the contact I have with my family.” Undoubtedly, companies should think about and develop those interaction channels that are most optimal to build a relationship with the client that is constant in the company. “Although always putting people ahead,” he says.
“The B2B environment operates from Omni channel”
For its part, the mobility company admits to having carried out exhaustive work in order to simplify internal and external communication processes. Alejandra Lorene explains: “From Citify we detect that not all companies need human contact. We have translated this phenomenon into the process of hiring a corporate account because they do not always need commercial support. And the attention we pay to the client has had a lot to do with this”.
The data, in this sense, have been revealed as an indispensable ally. As Lorene indicates, “Cavity’s commercial team has had a much focused data management and monitoring mission.” Therefore, the urban mobility company has tried to respond to the needs of customers, perceived and extracted from these data. And they have even implemented automation. Although not in all aspects, but those that help streamline the relationship processes.
Molina also shares this perception. The IZO vice president considers himself a “firm believer in data.” And, as part of the strategies of the relational model in B2B, it considers feedback as an essential tool: “It is still a field for improvement, but customer listening processes have to put all the instruments to use in a coherent and efficient way. So that learning is drawn from those conversations. And, if you don’t have the data, you should ask or get it in order to use that information as a gold mine”.
For his part, Alberto M. Becerra collects some of the points mentioned above and indicates which three pillars are fundamental in the task of conserving the consistency of the relational model. First, according to the Zen desk Business Sales Manager, it’s imperative to give customers the help they really need through the channels they feel most comfortable interacting with. Also, collaboration, technological solutions and automation are revealed as key tools that design processes and equipment for success. In fact, according to the report issued by Zen desk on “Customer Experience Trends 2020″,” Companies handle three times as much data as five years ago “and this gives them a useful knowledge capacity to design the relationship with their clients. And, ultimately, he concludes: “Customize your own business needs by building new products or adapting elements of these are necessary actions to offer the highest possible value to our customers.”
All of the aforementioned shares a common denominator: the B2B environment’s focus on people. Turning these, their needs and concerns into the main motive for companies to generate consistent responses is the main challenge for companies. A challenge that, although fueled by
the pandemic waves, had been predicted. Because, in the face of technology, processes and immediacy, the B2B environment imposes value, listening and people. Changes that, in short, have come to stay.