Your organization already knows that providing excellent customer experiences is important. But intermittent "Wow!" moments are no longer enough. As B2B businesses in the landscape become more crowded and increasingly competitive, customers have the luxury of leaving whenever the customer experience level doesn't meet their standards. In B2B contexts, where upfront investment and the lag of switching providers hits harder, clients won't stay loyal clients for long if their experiences aren't excellent every time they interact with your business.
So instead of focusing on wowing and delighting your clients at key points, your account managers (and your organization as a whole) need to focus on consistency.
According to TechJury, "When it comes to customers, every experience counts. Customer satisfaction statistics show that around 65% of customers become loyal customers to businesses that deliver pleasant customer experiences at every point of contact."
The only way to cultivate that consistency is to make sure it's part of how your teams prepare for every interaction and makes every decision. But old-fashioned metrics and KPIs can't effectively account for consistently excellent customer experiences, and that's why we recommend assessing your AMs through a key account management maturity model. Keep reading to learn:
- Why customer experience matters
- What a maturity model is
- How to see your key account management team through the lens of the maturity model to improve customer experience — consistently.
Why Is Customer Experience Important?
Customer experience isn't just important; it's the most important thing to modern organizations. Without the customer, things start to fall apart throughout your revenue departments:
- Without excellent customer experience levels, clients will terminate their contracts early, decide not to renew your services, or otherwise refuse to make another purchase.
- Along with the direct loss of the client, you'll lose them as a referrer or a source of testimonials and reviews, inhibiting future client acquisition.
- With high client turnover, you can't accurately forecast sales or predict revenue to make short-term and long-term spending or growth plans.
- Customer support teams and account managers will experience a high degree of stress and low morale, which will lead to high employee turnover and resulting revenue disruption (as well as increased costs for hiring new employees).
While directly ensuring that customer experience remains consistently high-quality isn't the only responsibility of your revenue teams, it's the key priority. Even roles in addition to client engagements play a role through accurate billing, excellent service quality, and good lead nurturing or development analytics. Ultimately, if you can't gain new customers and keep them, your business will fail.
If customers experience recurring issues, there is little chance of making things right if you don’t address them proactively. This line in the sand isn't just a concern for your organization. According to a Treasure Data and Forbes Insight survey, "83 percent of executives face moderate to severe revenue and market share risks due to unimproved CX."
We all know you can't manage what you don't measure. But just measuring customer feedback and the number of poor customer experiences is too reactionary. That's why using a maturity model to map out your team's current mindset and behaviors is so important. You can proactively recognize potential hindrances, see opportunities for development, and get better insight into how your teams are progressing toward customer-centric maturity.
What Is a Maturity Model?
A maturity model is a tool you can use to assess the current characteristics of an individual or team by comparing it to progressive stages within the model. You can gauge or even forecast development and continuous improvement by seeing what behaviors your employees have exhibited in the past and what characteristics they're exhibiting now. Then you can gauge their progress at set future intervals to see how they are maturing, or aligning with the behaviors and mindsets of subsequent stages. This gives you a more holistic insight into where you are and where you want to be that metrics and reactive statistics can't provide.
Improving Customer Experience Through the Key Account Management Maturity Model
In the key account management world, the key account management maturity model focuses on how customer-centric your employees' practices, processes, and mindsets are. When your KAMs are reactive and disorganized, customer experience is poor. As you or your employees develop more organized, proactive, and customer-centric workflows, you rise through the maturity model and can experience the associated benefits of greater customer retention, higher customer satisfaction, and more stable revenue growth.
Take a look at the five stages of KAM development in this maturity model and what your employees need to do at each level to progress to the next one.
Level 1: Ad Hoc
At this Ad Hoc stage, customer experiences are generally poor. Your team isn't prioritizing their experience, which results in low Net Promoter Scores (NPS), low retention, and little to no growth. Everyone — clients and employees — feel frustrated.
To move to the next level, your entire organization needs to commit to making a change to the status quo (even if you don't know what that change looks like yet.
Level 2: Aware
At Level 2, service is better but inconsistent. Your clients still experience frustration, have to operate through workarounds to get what they want, and aren't motivated to work with you. This, in turn, frustrates internal staff who can't predict what clients will do next because there's no clear process.
To move up, your organization needs to realize a better infrastructure is the change to the status quo you need — and you all must be dedicated to making it happen.
Level 3: Repeatable
Now, service is consistent, and clients generally have good experiences. Feedback is better, but things aren't excellent.
Move up to Level 4 by switching your focus to customer-centricity.
Level 4: Predictable
At this level, all of your choices and decisions focus on customer experience above all else. Your teams and your clients are working together, and great service is happening every day. Client relationships are great.
To reach the pinnacle, make everything about the customer (including internal leadership decisions and mentalities).
Level 5: Activating
At this Activating stage in the maturity model, everyone is aligned toward ensuring every customer experience is excellent. Your teams are collaborating, you're proactively finding win-win scenarios that exceed client expectations, and both retention and acquisition metrics are growing.
Make Your Business More Customer-Centric With Support From Kapta
The key to progressing past Level 2 is the right infrastructure. Kapta's key account management software is designed to help you proactively plan for key account success, track client experiences, and prioritize their needs. Contact us today to see how our platform can align with your progress to the KAM maturity model.