If it ain’t broke… fix it.
Change. It’s a word that evokes a sense of discomfort for many, particularly in a business environment. Why change what is familiar and safe? Why risk upsetting the apple cart when business is ticking along just fine? Human nature often instinctively keeps us clinging to what is comfortable and known; however, change is a necessary entity to allow companies to realise business potential.
With Apple revealing their biggest Q4 to date with revenue exceeding predictions by $1 billion (growing nearly 2% to hit $64 billion during this last quarter) and topping Wall Street's financial targets in its fiscal fourth quarter, their willingness to diversify (think AirPods, home products and the Apple Watch) can be thanked for offsetting their declining sales in the flagship iPhone business. They recognised new priorities for their customers and switched products up to meet changing demands.
Experience is something that B2C has always been heavily focused around – and though once overlooked in the B2B world it is now being recognised for the essential function it has. Forbes reported that 90% of B2B leaders say customer experience is ‘crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities’ so it needs to be tailored and personal.
Change is vital if businesses want to keep sales up and targets hit; as the environment we work in evolves, we have to be adaptable. Pre-empt your sales going stale and put your customer experience at the centre of your focus. Ask yourself the question “What does my customer actually want?” and then adjust to offer exactly that.
What is B2C doing right when it comes to embracing change for sales?
Tim Radley, founder of retail specialists VM Unleashed said: “Young people will come off the internet, but only for experiences.”
Retail companies have begun to recognise that their target audiences are demanding a better experience. UX (User Experience) is perhaps the most important factor if you want to be able to attract new customers and keep your loyal ones contented. Let’s take a look at three companies getting it right when it comes to experience.
Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer have been a business to recognise the need for an improved experience. Memorably closing high street stores throughout the UK earlier this year in response to dips in profit, they have taken steps to become more relevant for their customers and provide a more seamless shopping experience.
Buy-now-pay-later schemes such as Klarna are hugely growing in popularity among millennials and gen-z and M&S are joining the growing trend by partnering with ClearPay to allow their customers to spread the cost of purchases over £30 over 4 instalments for 6 weeks interest-free.
Kirsty Ward, director of M&S Bank and services said: 'We're committed to providing our customers with seamless, easy and convenient ways to pay, and that's why we've introduced this fully integrated and interest-free option to help spread the cost of shopping on M&S.com.'
The company describe these changes as part of a ‘far-reaching transformation' and are embracing change to become more relevant to their customers to offer them a better experience.
Topshop was well ahead of the curve in retail with their Oxford Road rhetoric: ‘More than just a store.’
They go on to list the range of services customers can enjoy while they shop including: Hershesons blow-dry services, House of Lady Muck Nail Bar, Blink Eyebrow Bar and piercings with Metal Morphosis.
Not only do these partnerships add convenience for their customer, allowing them to combine a shopping trip with other services they want but cannot get online, they know exactly what extras would add value to their customers’ shopping experience meaning they drive more footfall to their store improving sales and keeping them competitive in an industry rapidly moving online.
Running bear describe themselves as ‘The Running Specialists’ and offer bespoke and tailored services when helping their customers find their ideal training shoe. They treat customers to testing their new shoes on an indoor treadmill with various other analysis techniques to look at the shape of their foot, running style and talk about fitness goals. They call this process ‘gait analysis.’
With the ease of buying online and the lure of finding cheap deals and offers, Running Bear has found a way to drive customers through their doors for experience and service they simply can’t find online.
So, what does this mean for those in B2B?
Many B2B companies are emulating placing the emphasis on client experience and are reaping the benefits. For example, IBM who have high customer retention.
IMB’s Cloud Storage Solutions are implemented and integrated to each customer by a team of specialists. This team trains those in the business and advises them on how best to tailor it for their specific needs. Not only this, but IBM is feedback led and regularly make changes to ensure their client experience is as smooth as possible.
To boost sales in B2B a focus on changing services to offer the best experience for the customer or client is absolutely key.
How can we make a difference for the end of Q4?
If you want a Q4 like Apple and to go into 2020 strong then you need to start thinking about the experience you are giving your clients. This starts and ends with the quality, dedication and loyalty of the team behind you conducting those meetings, building rapport and creating lasting relationships with clients. You need to be able to give clients an omni-channel experience that is tailored and personalised.
To ensure your team can deliver, you need to focus on their training and their motivation at work. Research reveals that companies who make their own employee experience a priority are 4.2x more profitable.
At Pareto Law, we are experts at spotting talented graduates who will quickly excel in role to provide a superior customer experience. Our graduates have had incredible successes, with many being promoted into senior roles in the first 12 months and others securing 2 million in qualified pipeline in their first year.
It’s not just our Pareto trained graduates making huge differences to sales teams, if you aren’t looking to recruit new staff but still need to shake things up our award-winning training solutions can revitalise a sales team to allow you to invest in your staff to make sure that your clients are reaping the benefits of an experience that will keep them coming back time and time again.
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