Majority of B2B Companies Missing Out on Revenue Growth Due to Poor Customer Experience Performance, Accenture Study Finds

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In an environment where business-to-business (B2B) customers are
demanding a richer consumer-like experience, new research from Accenture
(NYSE:ACN) finds that only 23 percent of companies are implementing
truly effective customer experience programs and achieving higher
revenue growth.

According to the Accenture
Strategy
report, 2015
B2B Customer Experience
, of the 1,350 B2B sales and customer
service executives surveyed in 10 countries, 66 percent believe that new
entrants are providing better customer experiences in today’s age of digital
disruption
. To compete, incumbent businesses recognize they need to
make a significant shift in their business models: 78 percent of
executives think higher customer expectations for tailored B2B solutions
will have a substantial impact, and 76 percent feel that customers are
now more knowledgeable, self-directed, and continually evaluating
suppliers.

The poor self-assessed performance comes despite the fact that 86
percent of B2B supplier executives continue to view the overall customer
as ‘very important’ to their strategic priorities. Furthermore, 74
percent of respondents recognize customer experience will play an even
larger role in overall corporate strategy over the next two years.

“B2B companies overwhelmingly recognize the importance of customer
experience to their corporate strategy and bottom line, but the majority
are wasting their investments on changes that are delivering mediocre
results,” said Robert
Wollan
, senior managing director, Accenture
Strategy
. “With consumer-like expectations and a substantial threat
from new entrants, B2B companies must be ready to design and execute a
transformed customer experience or not invest in such improvements at
all.”

Barriers to Success

In response to rapidly changing customer demands, new competition and
low returns on investment, 45 percent of executives surveyed intend to
increase spending by 6 percent or more to improve customer experience
programs.

However, internal roadblocks are preventing B2B companies from meeting
higher customer expectations. Only 32 percent of executives (versus 40
percent polled in the same research in 2014) say they are well-equipped
with the skills, tools, and resources necessary to deliver the desired
B2B customer experience. Executives point to a lack of C-suite
attention, customer experience processes, and necessary
cross-organizational integration.

Leaders, Strivers and Laggards: More B2B
Companies Racing to Become Average

Accenture
Strategy
identifies three groups of B2B companies – Leaders, Strivers
and Laggards – differentiated by their ability to plan and
execute customer experience and deliver annual revenue growth. With just
over a fifth (23 percent) of organizations remaining as Leaders since
last year, more Laggards have moved up to the Strivers category,
increasing it from 48 to 57 percent.

The 2015 research shows Leaders generate an average of 13 percent annual
revenue growth. Strivers achieve an average of six percent annual
revenue growth and Laggards record an average decline in revenue growth
of -1 percent.

“There’s a clear distinction between the Leaders and Strivers in B2B
customer experience,” said Wollan. “Strivers are ‘racing to become
average’ and average is a precarious position to be in these days.
Leaders see after-sales service as a critical part of the customer
lifecycle and they invest not just in new digital technologies, but in
traditional customer connection points too. Leaders realize that a
multi-channel approach is needed to reach B2B customers seamlessly and
consistently.”

How Leaders of Customer Experience Succeed

Among the main ways that Leaders generate outsized returns on their
customer experience investments compared to Strivers:

 
1.

Leaders “start from the back.” Almost double the proportion
of Leaders (61 percent to 34 percent of Strivers) place greater
value on after-sales service. They see it as the most important
point in the customer lifecycle.

2.

Leaders don’t avoid disruption – they create it. Sixty-two
percent of Leaders (versus 42 percent of Strivers) see defending
their business from new types of competitors as a priority and a
third (35 percent) are being more proactive in using customer
experience to become the disruptor instead of the disruptee
compared to 24 percent of Strivers.

3.

Leaders invest heavily in both digital and legacy.
Twice as many Leaders (44 percent versus 23 percent of Strivers)
believe their digital investments give them a competitive
advantage and allocate more of their customer experience budget to
digital (67 percent versus 41 percent). But, Leaders also continue
to invest in traditional channels, with 39 percent (versus 22
percent of Strivers) spending more on contact centers, field
service capabilities and even legacy CRM systems over the past two
years.

4.

Leaders understand the role and value of the “connected
ecosystem.”
Leaders are more focused on partner collaboration
and performance monitoring to ensure optimal customer experience.
Notably, 51 percent of Leaders, versus 29 percent of Strivers,
maintain vigorous vendor management programs across several
external partners.

 

Please visit www.accenture.com/B2BCustomerExperience
to read the report. Learn more about Digital
Disruption
. Join the conversation at @AccentureStrat.

Methodology

Accenture conducted an online survey of more than 1,350 chief sales,
service and customer officers, vice presidents, directors and managers
from the sales and service functions, across 16 industry subgroups and
10 countries (including the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain,
Japan, Brazil, China and South Korea). The survey explored the
significance, scale and performance of B2B companies’ initiatives to
provide their business customers with a differentiated customer
experience across all sales, marketing and service touch points. The
survey was fielded in February and March, 2015. Respondents represented
companies from 10 countries and 16 industries with the vast majority
posting annual revenues of more than US$1 billion.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a
broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital,
technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and
specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business
functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network –
Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help
clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their
stakeholders. With more than 358,000 people serving clients in more than
120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world
works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Accenture Strategy operates at the intersection of business and
technology. We bring together our capabilities in business, technology,
operations and function strategy to help our clients envision and
execute industry-specific strategies that support enterprise wide
transformation. Our focus on issues related to digital disruption,
competitiveness, global operating models, talent and leadership help
drive both efficiencies and growth. For more information, follow
@AccentureStrat or visit www.accenture.com/strategy.

Contacts

Accenture
Lucy Davies, + 44 777 3044 808
lucy.d.davies@accenture.com