B2B2C: it’s all about the end customer
- Posted on June 22, 2015
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Stella Goulet.
Digital, mobile, social and cloud are radically changing the nature of customer interactions. B2B buyers now think and act more like B2C customers. And as channels evolve, B2B companies may have the opportunity to sell directly to end consumers and build relationships with them. In fact, many consumers would like to interact directly with those companies.
Experience trumps price
The changing relationships between buyers and sellers and the consumerization of IT have led to new expectations and behaviors. Avanade’s research finds that even in the B2B world, the customer experience is now a bigger factor than price in the buying decision. Enterprise customers said they will pay up to 30 percent more for a superior experience.
This trend has impacted the kind of information B2B marketers deliver and the way they deliver it. They are increasingly focused on building ongoing relationships with buyers in an effort to provide a more positive, complete experience. But it’s not enough to focus only on the experience for clients. B2B marketers also need to consider the experience for the end customer.
Which leads us to B2B2C. For many B2B marketers this is a new way of thinking. We’re used to talking about how our work impacts our clients and their business. But we need to extend that thinking to the end users, who may be consumers, patients, citizens or, in some cases, an organization’s employees.
Lessons from the B2C world
The idea of focusing on the end customer is nothing new in the B2C world. Consumer products companies, automotive brands, consumer electronics businesses and others have taken this approach for some time. But for B2B technology services companies, the idea takes some getting used to.
The approach makes sense from a client perspective. After all, our value to our Avanade clients comes from delivering results for their customers, and hence their business. This requires thinking about who the real customer is as we deliver services and solutions to our clients – seeing beyond the boardroom to the end user.
Focus on the outcomes
B2B2C means taking a different approach to storytelling, asking different questions, and focusing on the outcomes for clients and their customers. This demands a mindset change for a technology services company: It means not talking about the technology solution first; rather, it means talking about the real-world impact of that solution.
Consider a few examples, where the emphasis is on the outcomes for end users:
- More than 21,000 Delta Air Lines flight attendants have been able to improve in-flight service for passengers thanks to a mobile airline platform delivered by Avanade, Microsoft, AT&T and Nokia.
- European tour operator Alpitour makes it possible for travelers to organize their vacations “with one click” with a new easy-to-use portal.
- Australian energy leader AGL offers consumers personalized usage reports and 24-month energy management plans with a new digital platform. This enables customers to choose how to manage their energy consumption.
- Williams Martini Racing staff can now make better data-driven decisions with a new tyre optimization app that helps them mine data for real-time insight.
It’s not that the technology solutions aren’t important – of course they are. But what really matters is how people use the technology and the experience they have with it. Because in the world of B2B2C, it’s all about the end customer.