Customers expect seamless, personalized experiences. Now is the right time to deliver.
Adobe and Econsultancy partner every year to identify the top trends in digital. We spoke with 814 leaders of B2B companies this year, including 442 in the high-tech sector. Surprisingly, we found that high-tech leaders spoke of struggling to provide a high-quality digital experience for customers despite being digitally mature.
High-tech respondents stated that they are experiencing an increase in customers who use digital channels for both existing and new customers (55%), but they do not feel confident in their ability meet these customer needs. Only 10% of high-tech respondents said their digital customer experience was in line with customer expectations when asked to describe it. 47% felt it “kept pace” and 43% felt it was “lagging.”
This year’s B2B Digital Trends Report reveals that the key message is: High-tech businesses need to keep up with customer expectations and make customer-led experiences and personalization a priority.
56% of respondents believe that the focus on digital experiences will increase, even as customers return back to offline channels.
Customers expect more from their service providers.
The pandemic’s onset was a turning point for both B2B tech companies as well as their customers. Both embraced the need to do business online. Many companies expanded their websites and offered ecommerce and digital purchasing options. In the same way, B2B buyers became more familiar with self-service purchasing options and were frustrated that digital B2B experiences weren’t as user-friendly as the consumer-oriented websites they used to shop at home. Susie Emmerling (VP of marketing operations, ServiceNow) stated that today’s work is driven digitally and there’s an increased urgency to provide a memorable experience at every step in a customer’s journey.
It is crucial to understand your customers’ needs, wherever they may be on their buying journey. This could be as simple as offering relevant product recommendations based upon previous purchases, or reminding buyers when they have left items in their cart. Steve Schultz from Esri, head of marketing technology, says that it’s almost like a lightbulb goes on when customers see how much we care about them.
Ajit Sivadasan, Vice President, Lenovo
High-tech success requires AI and data management
The technology is fundamental in contextualizing customers. Third-party cookies have been a key technology in the creation of behavioral customer profiles. However, with the imminent demise of cookies it will be harder to gather accurate information and place targeted advertisements.
Data management, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), will be more important in the future. High-tech companies that effectively adopt these technologies will be better placed to provide more personalized and hyper-relevant experiences.
59% of high tech customers consider analytics, data management and customer data platforms top technological priorities.
It will be crucial that tech leaders and practitioners agree on the importance to deliver personalized customer experiences over the next 12 month. B2B companies need to ensure they are implementing the correct operating strategies and investments to keep in touch with their existing customers and prospects.
Make use of the technology that you are familiar with to improve your customer experience.
Technology evolution is also a catalyst for business innovation, and new ways to connect with customers. Many high-tech companies are looking at subscription sales models to satisfy customer needs for usage-based solutions, and increase revenue. Digital shift has opened up new possibilities and ways to connect with customers in an ongoing manner.
High-tech companies must focus more on providing differentiated customer experiences. However, technology can help, as we have seen. Many of the technological advances that you may have already made in other areas of your business, such as data platforms and AI are ideal for improving your understanding of customers.
Ajit says it’s a good investment that will pay dividends in the long-term. “The importance of customer experience will continue to grow. How well you are able to respond to it will make the difference between winning and losing.
Rob Allman Vice President Customer Experience, NTT Ltd.
Your relationship with business buyers is changing. If you want to be competitive in high-tech, it’s up you to improve your customer experience. Although this may be more challenging due to the imminent demise of third party cookies, there is good news that you probably have some technology in place to compensate. AI can be used to connect data sources and help you target customers across different stakeholder groups.