Following on from last month’s debate on customer experience (CX), in part two, our panel talks about transforming CX in their business and the importance of creating a great digital experience for customers
PrintIT Reseller: McKinsey says customer satisfaction is a key indicator in gauging success, and that really moving the needle on customer satisfaction requires a more ambitious effort – a transformation of the entire customer experience. What are your thoughts on this and what steps have you taken to transform CX in your business?
Phil Madders, Managing Director, Print Audit Europe:
“We measure retention, service support issues and time to resolution, debtor days (unhappy customers tend to withhold payment) and communicate regularly with our customers via email at the basic level, through to webinars and visits to offer training and support for key customers or projects. What we don’t do in Europe is customer surveys – although perhaps we should. In terms of moving the needle – it is tough, but we try and make every interaction a rewarding one. We work on the basis if you treat a customer with respect, honesty and are open when things do go wrong, then it goes a long way.”
Michael Burke, Managing Director, Purpose Software:
“Total customer satisfaction is key to enabling us to fulfill our business goals. We have expanded our account management team enabling us to enhance the level of personalised service delivered to every customer. This includes ERP specialists to help resellers maximise the benefits that can be achieved from the latest generation of industry-focused business management solutions.
“We take a consultative approach with every customer to ensure that every installation meets their specific immediate needs as well as helping to take greatest advantage of the advanced functionality as these needs evolve. It is also worth noting that a training allowance is a standard part of every support contract we provide. This also enhances satisfaction by ensuring that customers have the fullest understanding of what the software does and how it meets their specific business requirements.”
Mike Anderson, Head of Marketing, Brother UK:
“Customer satisfaction is a huge indicator of success. So, from our side, it’s about putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. Our defined purpose is: to help people and businesses be more successful more quickly. We completely appreciate that if we give our existing and new customers the means to thrive, through suited hardware and a quality service, it helps us to grow our business too.”
Nigel Allen, Marketing Director, KYOCERA:
“KYOCERA is evolving its range of services; we are extending our offering from MPS to IT services and solutions. This will see even further investment in customer service areas to replicate the great customer experience we provide on MPS contracts into IT.”
Carlo Longhi, Director and General Manager, Indirect Channels UK & Ireland, Xerox:
“For Xerox, customer satisfaction is also a key indicator for gauging success. We survey both our customers and our partners on an annual basis to ensure that we are getting regular feedback on our services. We then review the output and work with our partners and customers to focus on the improvement areas and of course, to do more of the things we already do well.”
Tatsuo Murakami, Managing Director, RISO UK:
“Print is a very competitive industry, and there are so many variables when it comes to making a purchase decision. A company cannot simply sell a product; it must provide a service. It must do something that others cannot.
“While RISO is a multinational business, we pride ourselves on being able to respond in a personal manner quickly and effectively when our customers need us to. For example, it means we must ensure we plan routes, ensure technicians have the right parts and training and knowledge.
“We also carefully manage and monitor what we do when it comes to customer service. We meet regularly to ensure we are doing things right, and to discuss ways in which we can improve what we do.
“RISO UK continue to work towards improvement in service provision; with improvements in operational efficiencies, we have enjoyed a 13 per cent reduction in average response times for emergency call outs whilst managing a higher volume schedule of works in comparison to the year prior.”
Lars Hargaard, Marketing Director, OKI Europe (UK & IRELAND):
“One of the main interactions we have with larger customers is during the set-up and training of new solutions. For this we provide full support to ensure users have everything they need to get the most out of their OKI solution and maximise their document management efficiencies.
“On the rare occasions where a customer of any size does need help with their product, our customer service teams ensure a quick response and resolution, and we follow up with short questionnaires to make sure the customer is happy with the support they have received.”
Zana Gradus, Managing Director, Systems Technology:
“With an NPS score of 73 (on our latest survey) it is pretty clear that our focus is on the customer experience. Our company values are around delivering an amazing customer experience through our passion and excellence. We constantly have internal discussions as a business with the entire team as to how they perceive what our customers receive and we evaluate our client relationships in such a way that we ensure we are delivering what the client thinks is important. McKinsey are right, but I believe in our industry very few suppliers are concentrating their efforts in this customer centric way.”
Mark Smyth, Chief Operating Officer, Vision:
“The first step is to measure customer satisfaction levels – if you cannot measure you cannot manage and you will not have any indication of the areas of focus you need to improve on. We see great value in customer satisfaction surveys and we encourage clients to respond at every opportunity – and even more important, we act on the results good and bad!”
Adrian Low, Group Service Delivery Analyst, Midshire Business Systems:
“In every area of our business we measure our activity and review how things are being done. This way we ensure that our ongoing service meets and exceeds our customers’ needs. We actually find that the personal interaction between sales and service is highly coveted by our customers, so we keep our teams small and the relationships personal, all supported by a very hands-on and active team of leaders.”
Simon Hollister, Managing Director, Hollis Technology:
“McKinsey is right. Engaging in CX without a clear strategy and a real desire to make changes can result in wasting money and resources, demonstrate a lack of clarity in the business and cause customer confusion. Return on investment is the ultimate gauge of success and Hollis has created a project team and developed a strategy which is being executed over the course of 2018.”
Scott Walker, Head of Business Development, ZenOffice MPS:
“Our 360 degree journey means our customers are consulted and engaged throughout by our dedicated customer services team. We want our customers to have the best experience possible and are always seeking to measure and improve our CX. We have recently appointed an Operations Director who will be looking at continual improvement in the processes we have. These include customer satisfaction surveys, sent at key times in the customers’ journey, i.e. acquisition, installation, etc. We listen to our customers and always implement feedback to improve CX.”
PrintIT Reseller: How important is creating a great digital experience for customers? How are you using content marketing, email marketing and social media to communicate with your current customer base, as well as a way to secure new prospects or referrals?
Phil Madders: “We are trying. We actually can boast selling our Dashboarding solution – PAe BI to an IT VAR in Munich via Facebook. It has only happened once but I am very proud of it. We have invested in the time and energy needed to manage our activity across social media in Europe. I feel whilst it is hard to identify and exact correlation between this type of activity and new prospects and referrals I do get the feeling that if you don’t have a presence you are making your life a little bit harder, and it is already tough enough.”
Michael Burke: “We believe in regular and targeted communications using a variety of channels to ensure that our customers receive product, application, technical or training information that is relevant to them based on the software they have installed. Companies are deluged with so much information, and business platforms are increasingly becoming social channels, so much so that it can be difficult for true business messages to be seen. Targeting is therefore key, as is a mix of media, etc.”
Mike Anderson: “Creating a digital experience is hugely important. You can typically find 16 people involved in the buying committee at an SMB, and as many as five people can be involved in the signed-off purchase. The vendor’s website is one of the first places they’ll visit on their research journey, so it’s essential that a standout digital experience is delivered here, which showcases how you understand their business by serving content that’s relevant.
“We’ve created a content strategy which delivers awareness and inspirational content through our blog, Brother Spark. It’s designed to appeal to potential customers at the exploration stage, and we then create and serve further relevant investigation and evaluation based content as they move through their buying journey.
“The key is to understand the customers’ needs and then to qualify the opportunity so they can have a meaningful, worthwhile conversation about if or how we could support their business. Plus, by providing knowledge and information that’s relevant, they’re more likely to share this, which can drive referrals.
Nigel Allen: “The last two years have seen KYOCERA’s marketing approach revolutionised from an outbound strategy to inbound marketing. Utilising the latest digital techniques we are focusing on providing value added content and white papers to ensure that KYOCERA is providing great thought leadership pieces to educate and inform end-users. This has helped KYOCERA achieve its best ever year with sales increasing by over 10 per cent in a market which is declining. You cannot do this without focusing on providing the best possible customer experience to everyone.”
Carlo Longhi: “Nowadays, providing a digital experience for customers is critical. We know that in the A4 space, 80 per cent of buying decisions are carried out digitally and within one hour of researching. With these insights in mind, at Xerox, we have dedicated significant focus and investment in driving digital demand generation in this space and working with our partners to optimise the customer search and buying experience.
“Content marketing is also hugely significant with video and mobile playing an increasingly important role in nurturing customers through social and digital platforms, prior to them making a purchase. We leverage this integrated marketing approach across all of our products and service offerings.”
Tatsuo Murakami: “Creating a great digital experience for customers is a part of the whole marketing mix. We use email marketing and social media to spread the message about how people can benefit from using inkjet printers, and of course, RISO’s. We can talk about our great products but we have specialist industry and sector knowledge that we try to share also, showing people they can solve everyday problems and also create new opportunities.”
Lars Hargaard: “We live in an increasingly digital world where we have the exciting opportunity and ﬂexibility to interact with our customers across many different mediums. We are constantly working to develop our digital strategies to make sure we are engaging with our customers across these platforms and provide the content they want to see via their chosen medium.
“This enables us to be visible in these domains and therefore attract new customers particularly through social media.”
James Pittick, Director of B2B Indirect Sales, Canon UK: “Businesses are evolving to a more service led approach, as they recognise the need to engage with customers and prospects in a new way. If partners want to diversify and grow, then it’s critical that customers receive a seamless digital user experience.
“At Canon, we help partners to navigate this evolving marketplace by helping to define their target audience, find their true USPs, define their value proposition and create their digital and social marketing strategies. Canon has also invested in a team of Business Generation Managers who support partners and help to create demand for their products and services. This is done through a number of key initiatives, such as providing insightful content, digital marketing and social selling. Modern businesses need to be able to differentiate, and stand out, in this always-on, fast-paced, digital world.”
Zana Gradus: “Creating a positive digital experience for our customers is an essential part of our customer service. Our customers tend to be time-poor so we use our social media to share the essential updates that IT professionals need to know about, hopefully making their days a little bit easier. In terms of email and content marketing, we share original thought pieces on subjects such as GDPR, which our customers find useful and share. We’re also looking into an account based marketing approach so that our content marketing works to support our account managers even more, whilst providing a more tailored experience for our clients and prospects.”
Mark Smyth: “Vision actively promotes digital transformation as a compelling way to improve efficiency and remove labour intensive process in the workplace and it’s an important next step in managed printing, utilising the MPS as the foundation.
“We do use social media generically and also direct marketing and it’s important to consider the current changes in data protection – the GDPR will impact this approach quite significantly. We have recently updated our client portal and that’s fast becoming an alternative method of communicating with existing clients.”
Adrian Low: “The rate and pace at which technology is advancing is unprecedented, and I think any business that doesn’t make the move to digital will get left behind. Everything is digital, people have instant access to a world of information right at their fingertips, so a massive part of being online as a business is ensuring that your customers’ digital experience with you is seamless, by doing things like reinventing your website, as previously mentioned.
“Email marketing is a tricky one. If your email campaigns actually offer tangible benefits to customers, or add value in any way then great, but if done poorly they can be counter intuitive or even reductive to your customers’ experience – which again, will impact customer retention. Social media is just another way of enhancing the experience. People can communicate with businesses instantly using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and it gives that business the ability to be more engaged with their customers, which ultimately makes the process more streamlined.”
Simon Hollister: “It is massively important as part of a unified CX strategy that has the ability to feed these channels directly into an integrated platform. Hollis is developing ongoing, tailored and proactive content and social marketing strategies to get closer to customers, both new and existing, and drive more appropriate engagement.”
Scott Walker: “As a business we’re lucky to have a very forward thinking and pro-active marketing team. They manage the social media presence for all of our divisions and design bespoke messaging for use on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and direct marketing. Beyond that, staff are encouraged to create detailed LinkedIn profiles where we can write our own content and share existing media.
“The thing with referrals, is that a lot of businesses are afraid to ask for them. In my experience, if you’re afraid to ask for a referral, chances are, it’s because you’re not providing a great service. We encourage ALL our customers to refer us to connections. If we’re providing better technology, saving them money, making their processes more efficient… why wouldn’t they want others to get the same?