One of the frequent obstacles of launching a customer experience program presented by many B2B clients is the lack of a quality list of customers to contact.
Client database challenges present themselves in a variety of formats:
- Scattered Account List. Maybe the organization grew by a series of acquisitions, or maybe no one will commit to investing in a centralized CRM system, but the result is that the contact information for clients is dispersed across a variety of sales reps and other internal stakeholders who store this information in a variety of formats.
- Limited Contact Information. Available client information only includes corporate invoicing information such as the mailing address. No one has invested in updating individual contacts within the organization and their corresponding email and phone information.
- Information Changes Too Quickly to Maintain. Each location/stakeholder uses a different system to store this information and no one is willing to change.
- Stakeholders/Partners Not Willing to Share Contact Information. Selling through distributors or using other outside partners can create barriers to contacting your end users.
Regardless of how your customer information is stored, your customers expect that your organization is connected and understands their needs. One of the key ways to break down silos across the organization is to connect them with customer feedback. We found that with one client, once we started surveying their lost customers, the myriad of reasons account managers listed for losing the account was completely off. Customers were leaving because they were getting a better price…and others wanted to come back.
Another client was able to better support a Value-Added Reseller’s requests when the client partnered with the VAR to start surveying end users and hear first-hand what they thought of the product and the service they received. This same client was also able to hold another VAR to higher performance standards after feedback illustrated weaker overall performance relative to other VARs.
Too often disaggregated databases are used as a way to protect the perceived interests of a few stakeholder groups within an organization. As power continues to shift to purchasers, an organization’s best interest is to make sure they are aligned with those customer interests. Helping disperse groups of stakeholders see how a win-win situation can emerge is key to getting commitment to the effort of establishing a database. Often when organizations start small, they can demonstrate that value with one group of willing stakeholders committed to getting feedback on their customers’ experience.