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For years, the subject of customer experience has been relevant to the development of new concepts in sales and marketing. After all, if the customer isn't engaged or satisfied, the concept won't go far. However, that customer experience, in itself, has become automated, removing the human element that customers value. In the business-to-business world of technology, we must remain aware that people still make the decisions. That powerful human connection can be the difference in a key decision that can change your business.
The B2B technology industry is truly global. Competition is steadily increasing, closing the gap between common differentiators like brand, price or product functionality. The more data we all have access to, the more similar our products and services will be. With that kind of homogenization, how can companies stand out on the world stage? The answer lies in what makes us all unique, our relationships and human connections.
Many companies have identified this key differentiator, but then have tried to address the issue too much with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) processes. These systems can make a company feel like they are highly customer-focused, but there's real danger in valuing customer "management" over customer relationships. The customer experience is too often misinterpreted as a KPI-based by-product of a good CRM process. It's put in place, but not lived out.
We sometimes use the term "B2B" as a buzzword to categorize a structure that involves companies, but not human beings. Humans aren't making any decisions, right? Well, that's obviously not the case. Humans are involved in every decision—at least in part—so we need to treat these businesses like what they truly are: a group of human beings.
According to studies, human interaction is actually a refreshing change for the customer compared to automated tools and digitized application paths. They want to know that they're buying from someone who understands their needs, goals and their application, especially in the B2B area with so much at stake. They're not just buying for themselves—they're buying for their livelihood and for the good of the company they represent.
So, what does this mean for GGB? The company sees the importance of the real customer experience and will invest a great deal of time and energy in building best practices to work passionately with our customers on new tribological solutions. We are sure that many innovations of the future will only come about through intensive relationships and enriching project experiences. The range of product innovations developed together with customers testifies to the high significance of the customer experience for GGB, and we are prepared to continue to invest and develop here.
We began the process initiative "CX @ GGB" in 2016 with the clear goal of continuously increasing the speed of our customer service and the quality of our product and material innovations together with our customers and their feedback (customer surveys, quality management surveys, etc.).
We started this with a genuine, critical inquiry and appreciation of existing customer and service processes at GGB on a global scale. This included not only creating transparency across the different service levels, but also the detailed development of buying personas and clusters across the full range of clients in GGB's portfolio.
In 2018, GGB established a dedicated marketing and sales team to help establish new "cx-optimized" customer and development processes, develop recommendations for roll-out of best practices across all GGB locations, and survey and analyze customers for who they really are: people.
And, the results prove us right. Our GGB performance, innovation speed and customer experience index are developing together in a positive direction, which spurs us on to continue working on it in the future.
As we focus on the future of GGB as a customer partner and not just a manufacturer, stay tuned for more on our customer experience efforts with future blog posts.
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