Customer engagement and customer experience are very different things.
It's important to keep this straight: Customer engagement is the model and processes you use to interact with customers. Customer experience is how you deliver that engagement and how customers perceive and feel about it.
Here's an easily understandable illustration of the difference: The customer engagement at the pharmacy is the series of interactions between the pharmacy and consumer that are required to fill a prescription. Traditionally, the model involved the customer bringing their paper prescription to the pharmacy and then waiting for it to be ready (or coming back later). For most customers, the customer experience associated with that engagement model was dissatisfying because of the obvious inefficiencies that cost them valuable time. Fortunately, many pharmacies have improved their customer engagement model by enabling physicians to send a prescription directly, and by implementing phone and text notifications so the customer knows exactly when the prescription is ready. A new engagement model – and a far better experience.
Today’s superior B2B customer experiences are achieved using mobile technologies.
Like consumers, B2B customers don’t just purchase a product or service. They also buy the experience. And when organizations upgrade – and sometimes transform – their customer engagement model to add intelligence, leverage real-time data and remove friction, they create richer, more compelling “smart experiences.” Mobile technologies are the key to making customer engagement seamless, making the customer experience delightful and making a strategic impact.
Look at how Productive Edge leveraged voice and text, GPS and geo-fence technologies to help a construction fleet management company, remake its user experience -- and give customers and their drivers tools to operate more efficiently. A tablet application lets field managers track all their vehicles in real-time, schedule more effectively and interact with every driver from a single device and interface. Managers also see live vehicle data, which provides insight into driver proficiency, vehicle performance and needed repairs. Geo-fence technologies provide alerts and help improve the efficiency of fill, dump and cleaning tasks, and turnaround. In addition, drivers get turn-by-turn directions for every jobsite, and are able to send their daily reports from their mobile phones.
Or how a distributor of industrial products uses mobile technologies to enhance its engagement model and improve its customer experience: Because its buyers do not work in offices, and often are out on the plant floor or jobsite, the company developed a mobile- and tablet-optimized purchasing solution that displays the user’s most frequently ordered items, provides detailed product information, enables one-click selection and purchase, automatically processes payment and then offers directions to the nearest will-call location for pick-up.
More examples of how changes to customer engagement models drive significant improvement in customer experience:
- A leading relocation company connected and digitized dozens of disparate processes to remake the moving experience, create a better customer journey and eliminate a river of paper documents.
- An elevator manufacturer/servicer utilizes sensors on every elevator to track usage, monitor wear, report KPIs, enable predictive maintenance and virtually eliminate breakdowns.
- A manufacturer of oil drilling equipment safely trains its customers’ field technicians using Microsoft HoloLens to have them virtually “ride along” on oil rig inspections and maintenance/repair calls.
You need to start from scratch – and even blow up proven processes – to integrate mobile technologies into your B2B engagement model.
Actually, mobile can be used on top of, and within, your existing engagement models to make them more intelligent and efficient. Re-invention is not necessary. Simple re-imagination will do.
Here’s how a document printing/copier company’s service division used mobile technologies to change the way it engages with customers – and improve the experience for both customers and service technicians:
A traditional service call was initiated by a phone call from the customer. A service rep would be dispatched to the location. On arrival, the rep would ask for the office manager, who would leave their desk to escort the rep to the malfunctioning machine, tell the rep what the printer/copier was/wasn’t doing, then leave the rep to do the repairs. On completion, the rep would locate the office manager, present a document outlining repairs made, and get sign-off on the bill.
The company saw the inefficiencies and inelegant engagement of this service model, and set out to leverage mobile technology to change its existing service model and, in the process, deliver a better customer experience. This new engagement model was built by simply adding additional intelligence to existing service processes:
Now, a mobile-optimized service request app eliminates the phone call and initiates the service engagement. Mapping and GPS technologies direct the technician to the location. At the location, sensors report the identity and location of each printer and copier, a wayfinding capability guides the technician to the malfunctioning machine, and the app provides access to detailed data on the printer/copier and its repair history. When the repair is complete, the technician uses the app to close the job, notify the office manager, send an email receipt and initiate billing. And then the technician is automatically notified of and routed to the next appointment.
The next step for this forward-looking company: Predictive and proactive service. By installing internal sensors in each printer/copier, connecting all its machines via wi-fi to a central management hub, the company will be able to detect poor or declining performance for individual printer/copiers, accurately predict maintenance intervals for each machine, know and provide the exact indoor location of the printer/copier, and automatically dispatch service technicians, who will make repairs without any need for customer interaction.
The bottom line: Most B2B organizations can continue to use the business and operating models they use today, enhance their current engagement models with mobility technologies, and achieve significantly better service levels, increase transparency, lower costs, improve their ability to scale and increase revenue. Learn more about transforming your organization’s customer experience by downloading our new eBook.
Contact Productive Edge at Services@ProductiveEdge.com or 312-561-9000 to learn more about mobility and how it can optimize engagement models and improve customer experiences -- and how PE can guide your customer experience transformation.