This year, there has been a trend in the content that we've created: Customers. Reason being? Well, we consider 2019 to be the year of the customer.

Customers

As a business, do you put your customers first or do you only say that they're top-of-mind? Do your competitors, revenue, and overall sales take precedent so that the experiences that your customers receive end up being generic B2B experiences? It's time to stop thinking like that and start thinking like it's the year of the customer. 

There’s an opportunity to give a more human touch in B2B experiences.

- Jessica Water Davis, Adobe

Of course, there's many different avenues you can go down when it comes to customers, but in the end, it all comes down to the fact that everything you do should be about and for them. Without them, your business doesn't exist.

While there's a lot to cover, we chose four topics to talk about:

Understanding the different angles of customer experience and how to improve your relationship with your customer is important. These guides are meant to give you a look into how your overall strategy can benefit by becoming customer-centric.

But why was this so important for us to talk about? What does the "year of the customer" really mean to SMITH? To you?

The customer (and data about them) should be at the center of a digital transformation, with decisions made around it. 

- Christina Lagoda, SMITH

Unlike the B2C realm, B2B could be seen as having been stagnant for a long time when it came to dealing with customers. But as digital transformation slowly became a new way of thinking and more of these customers were now millennials, things had to change. The expectations for 'delight' was now there, even if it was for a standard B2B purchase. Experience is more important than ever, so putting your customer first and understanding, not just what they're expecting, but what they want, will help your business in the long run. Those that lead in CX have higher revenue, higher client satisfaction, and higher growth (Adobe). Looking at B2C as an example of how a consumer should be prioritized is important to stay current.

Consumer-obsessed mindset is strongly embedded in our 2020 strategic business plan and is the foundation to create brand desire with our consumers.

- Herbert Hainer, Adidas

The more you focus on your customers instead of competitors, the better your business outcomes will be. According to Oracle, 55% of CX professionals believe their companies will be too slow and face disruption from more innovative, nimble and customer-focused competitors (2018). And Forrester considers customers the "sole source of sustainable competitive advantage.” Customers are the main source of disruption in an industry due to the ever changing needs, technology, shopping habits, and more. But that doesn't mean you can't make their disruption your disruption to your competitors.

Customers are constantly looking for new ways to keep their life simple. It's not about knowing about the new technology that your organization is using; it's about making that new technology work seamlessly for them. According to Forrester, over 75% of marketing professionals who are customer-focused are investing or expanding their brand’s current technological capabilities. Are you up-to-date with the latest CMS? How's your commerce platform? Have you upgraded recently? Has your buyer's journey on your site not changed since 2015? Are your customers happy with the process or do you get no feedback at all?

Customers give a company life. It's why finding moments of joy in the buyer journey is important. It's why your customer experience shouldn't just be good enough, but be ever improving.

So no, this year isn't the only year of the customer. Every year is the year of the customer.

Tags: B2b, ecommerce, Conversational Commerce, CX, customer experience