Remember a time when, an IT buyer would purchase a box of shiny new gadgets, and would be left alone to set it up and keep it running smoothly? Not anymore – well, not unless vendors want to fall behind the competition.
The rising complexity of enterprise processes, systems, and ecosystem dynamics has accelerated along with the rate of technology development. Businesses aren’t looking to simply update siloed parts of their enterprise, instead, they want to reimagine their entire operations – a process which, is no mean feat.
Furthermore, talent has failed to keep pace, creating an IT skills gap that businesses are struggling to fill. This is especially true in Europe, where a study from the European Commission ranked developers and analysts third overall on the shortages list.
So, in order to accomplish their goals, businesses cannot go it alone. They require the experience and talent of a specialist partner to extract the most value out of their technology investment.
The era of customer experience
The vendor-buying relationship has changed from a transactional model to a collaborative and cooperative one. IT suppliers can no longer be just sellers, but rather be strategic partners businesses can leverage.
IDC have found that 47% of enterprises say a supplier’s ability to help them plan, implement, and manage a solution was very important or extremely important when choosing a supplier. And, it shows that customer experience shouldn’t be left as an afterthought or optional extra.
Buyers understand its importance and are actively looking for sellers that can offer it.
In the world of B2C, customer experience is often referred to as a key point of differentiation, and the same is true in technology selling. Over the past decade, an abundance of technology has radically shifted business leaders’ expectations. In the ‘app for everything’ age, the market is flooded with quality solutions.
Many people don’t care which bank holds their money as long as keeps it safe. Similarly, many IT buyers don’t care who supplies their tech, as long as they can accomplish their objectives. Against this backdrop, buyers stop selecting vendors based on their technology, and instead focus on who can provide innovation, longevity, agility and end to end expertise.
Connecting customer experience to a vision
Buyers aren’t just looking for a short-term partner.
In another IDC survey, 41% of respondents said the ability to support digital transformation projects was very important or extremely important. In short, it’s not enough for vendors to advise and guide – they need to look at the big picture, and support customers in a way that connects them to their strategic vision.
To do this, it’s vital that vendors, whatever technology they are selling, keep in mind their customers’ goals, and work backwards. Sometimes, this could mean vendors need to work with other third parties – even competitors. It is critical vendors grow comfortable with this kind of working relationship to maintain their customers’ trust.
I think this is something that Cisco really excels at, and an example that jumps to mind is our work with Haribo.
Haribo was largely satisfied with its existing technology partner but asked for our help on a long-term, actionable strategy.
By working together, we were able to lend Haribo and their partner our expertise and steer them both towards an aligned strategic vision.
This case study was included in a recent IDC report highlighting the latest trends in customer experience. The report is really positive about how we approach it, so please, have a read because customer experience is not easy.
It requires a different mindset and not all businesses are comfortable when it comes to rewiring business processes and relying on new expertise.
It’s an investment, but it’s one that will ultimately pay off.
To give you an appreciation of the depth and breadth of a functioning customer experience team, the next few blogs in this series will be written by experts. They’ll give insights into what their jobs entail, and what they do on a day-to-day basis.
Hopefully it will give you a deeper understanding into what we do, and the value we provide for our clients.
Discover the customer experience services to help you reach your goals with our interactive tool.