85% of B2B firms see themselves as average or laggards in terms of CX. Here’s why

A survey from B2B International shows a plateau across several customer experience pillars. Here are three causes that need to be addressed

Not only do more than half of B2B firms say offering excellent customer experiences as a challenge, but the vast majority give themselves poor grades on CX despite years of discussion about it.

According to data from a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of last year by B2B International and published this week on Marketing Profs (reg required), only 34 per cent rated themselves as strong on being responsive to customers, a drop from 40 per cent in 2015.

The situation was similar with “evolution,” or the effort to constantly improve CX, where only 33 per cent felt they were doing well in this area versus 39 per cent four years ago.

These were only two of the six pillars mentioned in the study. The others included “commitment,” “fulfillment,” “seamlessness” and “proactivity” (which was particularly dismal with only 24 per cent giving themselves high marks).

“The share of strong performers remained remarkably flat on each CX pillar over that four-year period; moreover, self-reported performance on two of the pillars actually declined significantly,” B2B International’s Julia Doheny (Cupman) wrote on Marketing Profs. “Clearly, when twice as many organizations sit near the bottom versus the top of the CX performance spectrum, an industrywide imperative exists to significantly improve in this area in the years to come.”

That’s putting it mildly. Although you have to wonder about self-reported performance in research like this, I suspect respondents were being fairly honest.

I’d also question the relevancy of grouping both “knowledge-based” firms like tech companies together with “process-based” firms like construction. Yes, they’re both B2B but the use of tech in the former would significantly skew their ability to improve their approach to CX.

That said, I’ve worked directly with enough B2B firms in both kinds of sectors as a content marketing strategist to know what some of the biggest problems are. It comes down to this:

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