Brands that offer the best B2B customer experience (CX) are usually tech firms, new research shows.

A global study from CX agency Merkle B2B found that seven out of the top ten highest-performing businesses for customer experience were tech or fintech companies. And the rest of the B2B sector has plenty to learn from them.

The research covers respondents’ views from four industries – financial services, manufactured goods, professional services, and technology solutions.

The authors argue that, with the rapid rate of digital transformation, customer expectations have profoundly changed. And CX should now be a priority for B2B brands, right from the start of the customer journey.

The study underlines this by revealing the ruthlessness of consumers, especially of millennials, at key moments of the journey. They, along with Gen-Z customers, reject a larger proportion of brands than those in older demographics before brands are even contacted – 70% for Gen Z and Millennials, compared to 58% for older customers.

Decision-makers and users under 30 are also much harsher critics and give far lower average net promoter scores (NPS) to B2B brands. The average NPS for under 30s was +23, compared to +33 for older customers.

The study, Architecting the Ultimate B2B Experience: The Four Brand Superpowers that Make It Happen, identifies four key attributes that have the potential, it says, to deliver the best B2B experience and generate added value for customers.

These are:

• Reliability, which determines whether a brand can be trusted and depended upon;

• Understanding, which refers to “the tailoring, adaptability, service, and anticipation of business need”;

• Enrichment, which “acknowledges the individual’s need for belonging, connectedness, and recognition”; and

• Pre-eminence, which suggests “modernity, sophistication, and notoriety within its field”.

Michael McLaren, CEO of Merkle B2B, commented, “New technologies and changing online preferences are leading to a rising tide of expectations among B2B decision-makers; yet, according to our empirical study, B2B companies still lack the risk appetite of their B2C counterparts when seeking to meet customer needs.”

Insights for the report were distilled from 3,094 buyers of B2B products and services based on 5,622 B2B purchase experiences, making it, the authors say, the largest study of its kind.

Sourced from Merkle