IT channel businesses aren’t immune from the larger economy as a whole, or, namely, the 89% who today say their companies compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience (CX) that they deliver. The urgency of CX is real, and partner businesses need to understand how CX matters in today’s market, and more specifically, to them.
Partner firms also need to know how to leverage emerging CX tools, integrated touch points and support mechanisms to attract and retain customers. During her presentation titled, “Are You Experienced? How CX Matters in Today’s Market,” part of the business strategy track sponsored by Nextiva at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 9-12, in Washington, D.C., Carolyn April, senior director, industry analyst at CompTIA, will share recent research on the customer experience, how much attention CX has captured among IT channel businesses, and what partners can and should be doing today.
Channel Partners caught up with April to get a glimpse into CX and what session attendees can expect to learn.
Channel Partners: I understand that this is the first report from CompTIA on the customer experience — why now?
Carolyn April: It’s a very hot topic now, and you can’t avoid it. Today’s market is very fragmented in terms of how customers want to engage with a provider. This is exclusive to the technology industry, but it’s about how we all want to engage with the people that we do business with.
CP: The customer experience aligns with the customer – or buyer – journey, which has changed dramatically. What do partners need to know about this?
CA: The customer journey isn’t a linear process. The buyer’s journey doesn’t start at point A and go to point Z — it can move all over the map. It’s becoming a customer’s market and they have a lot more purposes in how they want to engage. Not all of that is aligned, so it’s not universal.
|Hear from April and other top industry speakers at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 9-12, in Washington, D.C. Register now!|
You may have a subset of customers who want to engage with you one way, and another set that want to engage very differently. The bar is much higher today for the level of customer service that customers are demanding. That’s not the only element that they’re demanding, but it’s a big part of it. There’s a lot of research out there about how critical this is to be successful as a business. It’s less about the product you are selling at the price you’re selling it, as [it is] the experience, ease of use, and ease of doing business that you can put out there for your customers.
CP: What if a partner firm’s CX isn’t up to par?
CA: There are customers that will leave their favorite brand after one bad experience at the customer service or in the selling process. At the end of the day, channel companies are providers, like any other utility provider out there — and everyone has their frustrations in dealing with a particular type of provider, whether that’s your cable company or insurer, etc., and the easier those companies make it for you, it leaves an imprint in your mind and you have a beneficial …