Whether you’re selling B2B, or B2C, you’re selling to people. Often the same people. And these people appreciate rewarding experiences and responsive brands. In today’s episode we look at the intersection of B2B and B2C, and how a truly unified customer experience can make your customers happier.
Thank you, Jimmy. Hey, welcome to the Unified CXM Experience. And as always, I’m Grad Conn, your host. I’m the Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr, and really, really excited about today’s show, because I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to close it out. So just play this one out and see what happens.
I want to talk about unified CXM today. I know, weird, right? Like, why would you want to talk about unified CXM on the Unified CXM Experience? So strange. So what I want to do is kind of start digging into a little bit of the advantages of being on a unified platform. And I’m going to talk about this a little bit from a story standpoint. And this is a little bit of, you know, “Hey, what are we thinking?” or “Hey, what were you thinking?” is, maybe that’s the sort of the exercise we’ll play. And I want to start with a really interesting piece of work that we did just recently for a client pitch. And I’ll kind of throw out credit to Sharon Rajan. And Sharon is an SC, Solutions Consultant, with Sprinklr in our UK office, relatively new to the business, but she just did a really nice piece of work. And I can’t really show it to you, obviously on a podcast, but I can describe it pretty well. And I think what Sharon’s done has got a really nice way of visualizing the interplay of the whole person. And I think the whole person should be the theme of what we’re going to talk about.
And this is the issue I think that all brands and companies have with their customers is that they struggle to really reach the whole person, primarily because they mostly have CRM systems that are just transactional. So they’ve got a pretty narrow view of somebody based on what they’ve purchased.
What they’re missing, and which is reasonably easy to add is all the experience data that comes from all the public forums and platforms that people post to. But most companies don’t. Don’t pick that up and don’t connect that to the single profile. And even more importantly, there’s other things you can add to really think about what that person looks like and think about how to manage that person across the whole organization, the whole brand.
So what Sharon did, is she used a prototype person, Gloria, and she said, “There’s B2C Gloria, and there’s B2B Gloria”. I’m not going to tell you the actual brand we did this for; not really important, but it’s an energy company. And the energy company has got gas pumps and charging stations and convenience stores and all the usual culprits that an energy company has in the B2C side of things. And they’ve got fleet management and corporate purchases on the B2B side of it. So you’ve got the two people. What I think is fascinating about most of what we do in marketing, is we often forget that the B2C person is also the B2B person. And I would argue that in many cases, in B2B, we actually forget that the B2B person is actually a human being, the way we talk in B2B sounds like we’re talking to some kind of automated robot.
And I think this is a really nice piece of work that she did, where she said, “Hey, the B2C person is having a set of experiences with convenience stores and the pump and filling up and working with the app, and this particular company has an excellent app, working with the app. And just having an experience and how that experience goes and how that B2C journey goes does have an influence on how someone reacts in a B2B context.
Let’s talk about B2B for a second. So you’ve probably heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating that B2B is an unusual category, and that no matter what you’re selling in B2B, you’re selling one thing. What does that mean? Right? So if I’m selling a Caterpillar Tractor, or I’m selling nails, or I’m selling enterprise software, I’m actually selling the same thing. Really Grad? Oh, my God, he’s finally lost it after 160 episodes. He’s done. He’s baked it out. No, we’re all selling one thing in B2B. Can you guess? I’ve got all night here. Come on. You’re selling career success. When someone is buying a product for their company, they’re thinking a couple things. One is, how can this help my career? How do I show people I can make good decisions with vendors? And there’s a kind of counterpoint which is, what’s the risk that making this decision will hurt my career, and particularly enterprise software, you know, it’s it can be quite a risky decision. People have to feel comfortable that they’re not risking their career, which leads to risking their job and risking their family and risking their college funds. There’s a lot of things that can be at play.
So people are really wound up about these decisions, and you’re really selling career success, which is why forming relationships with people, connecting with people, being friends with people is really important. A lot of what people look at in B2B is, “Will this company respond to my comments? If I have a problem, will they get back to me? Do they care about me? What happens if something goes down on a Friday night? Will it be back up on the weekend? Or will I have to wait till the following week? What will happen to me if my colleagues aren’t able to access it?” All these are big issues. And so if I have a great B2C experience with a brand, when I have a B2B decision to make, I’m going to be more inclined to make that B2B decision with a set of positive B2C decisions under my belt.
And we used to talk about this all the time at Microsoft. The person who is making a decision on Microsoft Dynamics, which is an amazing, especially Dynamics 365, which is an amazing … Hey, shout out to Alyssa Taylor. Hi, Alyssa … Dynamics 365 is just a gorgeous product, built from scratch CRM system. But you know, a big piece of enterprise architecture, if I have a really good day, on Xbox, and I’m having a really great experience with Xbox Live, that has a mirror effect on my decisions to do other things with Microsoft on the business front. If I have a terrible set of experiences with Microsoft, and I don’t like using their equipment, my PC broke, and I couldn’t get it fixed.
My Xbox Live account got hacked, I couldn’t get back into it. My Xbox kind of fried after two weeks… like not that any of those things would ever happen. But if that did happen, then you come into my office to sell me Dynamics. I’m like, “You know what, I think I’m going to take a pass, I’m just not interested”. And so the inability for organizations to connect these two things is quite stunning. It’s because the B2B organization, the selling organization is quite separate from the consumer B2C organization. So we don’t have a complete profile. When you walk in the room, you don’t know that that person does those things. Now, one thing I had quite an advantage of, is that Microsoft, when we were running our Customer Experience Center, we were using Sprinklr and in Sprinklr, we can actually tag customers with all the different conversations we had. So you can actually see when you’re talking to a customer, that you had previously talked to them about Xbox or Dynamics or SQL or you know, Office or whatever other things you talked about. So you can see what are the things that they were buying or using. Interestingly, there was a massive amount of interplay between Xbox and Dynamics. So it’s why I’m using the example. There’s a shocking amount of Dynamics decision makers who were also Xbox users. And so that would tell you that one of the best ways to get Dynamics users to be happy is to make sure they’re delighted with their Xbox experience.
Now, we never went as far as really trying to dig into that. But imagine that you take your largest B2B customers, you find out what they’re doing with you on a B2C contingency. And then you go back and double down on those B2C experiences, so that when your seller walks into the room, they’re super excited to see them because they’re having a great time with your brand. The fact of the matter is that people have a really hard time differentiating between the different divisions of a brand. And while we all love to sort of expose our infrastructure and our org charts to our customers, customers don’t really get that. They just see that that there’s a brand. And that brand represents a set of values. And you can’t violate your values in one area and expect someone to trust your values in another. So that’s kind of an interesting way of thinking about it.
So let’s talk a little bit about something maybe a little bit out of beam. And I’m going to be a little bit careful with this because I’m a little bit angry about it. A little bit’s probably an understatement. I’m like super-duper angry about this situation. So I’m not sure how much I want to exercise my demons on this one. So we’re going to start with a generic brand here, I’m not going to go into an actual brand. But as the days go by, or the weeks go by, who knows, I might dig into this a bit more. But I want to talk a little bit about an experience that I had recently with my mom and an airline. So this is where again, this is where the whole customer profile, we again tend to think of things in terms of that individual customer and their individual relationship with the company. But we often forget that people live in systems that are mostly formed around a family unit. And so that family unit which can be kind of dynamic, but that family unit is important, and if part of the family unit is having a bad time with the brand, then other parts of the family unit are going to take a cue from that. And we don’t really think in family unit ways as we build out these systems. Health Vault, which is something that Sean Nolan built with me and many, many other people, actually did do this, Health Vault took into consideration the Family Health manager in the family unit, as a way of thinking about the totality of the customer profile. But what Shawn did was crazy innovative, and there haven’t been many versions of that in any other systems.
But let me lead back into where we are today in CXM and talk about this. So on this particular airline, I’m a very high-status member, the highest status, in fact, it’s a status, which is like a secret status. When you get your status renewal every year, they’re like, “Shhh, nobody knows about this status. It’s so secret, you’re so special, we love you so much. So don’t tell everyone that we love you more than they do. We love you more than we love them” or something like that. It’s kind of crazy, actually. And, and they thank you. And there’s all sorts of cool stuff. And I would say that generally I’m treated, for the most part, very well by the airline. They did do this really weird thing where they canceled all my credits because I hadn’t flown in a year. And I’m like, “Hmm, #pandemic”, and it didn’t seem to matter. So maybe I probably have to write a note or something. So there’s some weird things about it. It’s not all as ‘we love you so much”. It’s a little bit more like “we love your money so much” or something like that.
But then, I bought a ticket for my mom. And I actually bought it on my account. So in this case, it really made it easy for this airline to do a good job, because I bought this on my account through my identity, but for my mom and it was a first-class ticket, so it wasn’t like I was skimping out and paid cash for it. It wasn’t like I was using miles. This is like full blown, full cash and very expensive, like thousands of dollars for domestic tickets. So really not fooling around, I really wanted to make sure that I gave my mom a good ride. And it was very important to me. And she had come to see me in Maine. And we haven’t talked about Maine at all, but I have to let the scars heal a tiny bit on that one. But then we’ve got some really fun podcast coming up on that one. But, you know, she came to see me in Maine, which is amazing, because I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half. We had a really amazing time, a wonderful time, and then she headed back. And she had the most ridiculous experience ever.
Bottom line she got bounced off the plane in Detroit, they didn’t provide her a room. I was able to get her room; in fact when I say “I”, I mean my assistant, Sabrina, who’s the world’s greatest EA, found a room in Toledo, Ohio; got her to Toledo in a car somehow. Then, the next day, got her back to the airport, finally got her on a plane, got her home. But it was a terrible experience. She got her luggage days later. It was like one of those nightmare travel experiences. We’ve all had those. Okay, that happened. And they treated her very poorly. And they didn’t they didn’t help her out the way you would normally help out someone “that we really love”. Right? It didn’t play out that way at all. Because she wasn’t a 360 Member. And here’s the crazy part, right? You know where I’m going with this? Because she wasn’t a 360 Member. So you know, they bounce her out. Let her find her own place. We’ll fly her when we fly her. We’ll get her suitcase to her when we get her suitcase to her like, right. But she’s my mom. And I, I am a “we love you so much” member of this elite group, but I’m looking at them treating my mom like garbage.
So how do I feel about this airline right now? I feel terrible. I’m really angry, I’m super angry. I’m doing everything in my power just to restrain myself from going bananas. You know, I’m really angry. And they didn’t do anything quotation marks to me. But they did, they did a terrible thing to me. And I’ll tell you, another airline comes along and offers me similar status. You know, bye bye lover, moving on. It is outrageous. And so again, as you think about unified CXM, you really have to think about the whole person and the whole person includes their whole family, their whole world, like all the elements that pull them together. And this is where the benefits of a unified CXM platform really come into play. Because now, because I have a single platform, I can begin joining these things together. And I can get alerts on seeing that “Hey, Grad’s mom is having a bad experience. Grad’s really important to us. He spent God knows how much money with us. We want to make sure we take care of that, because we don’t want to lose Grad’s business. And, by the way, Grad’s also working at a company that’s making contracts with airlines”. So there’s a B2B component. Like, when they come to us, and they say, “Hey, we’d really like to sell you a fleet requirement and give you a discount for all your employee travel”, I’m going to be like, “Really? I don’t think so”. And that is the thing that people miss. People miss the whole experience, and particularly in B2B, they miss the impact of B2C experiences on B2B purchasing decisions. So what do you do about it? Well, you know, a unified CXM system has a lot of advantages, because you can basically have a single customer profile, this CDP, the Customer Data Profile inside Sprinklr allows you to have a complete picture of what’s going on that single customer profile and allows you to basically connect everyone in the company to collaborate around that person. And when something’s going wrong, to be able to drive alerts around people that are important customers, and make sure that you deal with it. There are other advantages to unified platforms, we’ll talk about those a little bit in the next few episodes, many of them in the IT area around integrations and scaled innovation and de-risking your CXM stack, and especially around upgrades. But there’s a lot of advantages in terms of how you treat your customer. I’ll end with one final example. And then we’ll kind of close this show out and then pick it back up again because I’m steamed right now about this airline. Got to get out of here, before I say who they are.
So here is one a good example. If you ever had something go wrong, and you’ve gone to the website to find the item and get the 1-800 number or the email or the WhatsApp or whatever context system they use for Customer Support, and then you get it and you leave. But having gone to the website, you’ve been cookied. So suddenly, all of the ads on the website are on now hitting you and they’re all hitting you with the product that you’re complaining about or having an issue with. So now you’re being massively advertised to about a product that you have problem with. And then you’re now dealing with customer service and support, and you do or don’t resolve that. It’s just so irritating. And beyond the irritation, it’s such an incredible waste of money because the chances of my buying a product that I am simply complaining about is zero. There’s zero chance I’m going to be buying that product. So running those ads against me is costing the company. And not only are you driving me insane as a customer, but you’re also spending money in advertising you don’t need to spend. It’s just ridiculous.
In a unified platform like Sprinklr, when a customer service ticket gets opened, all ads to that customer are stopped. So immediately that customer isn’t seeing any ads until the customer service ticket is closed. It’s a really efficient, thoughtful way of creating a better customer experience and also not wasting ad dollars but you don’t need to. That’s just one minor example. We’ll talk about many more as we go over the next couple of weeks and talking about unified CXM and for the Unified CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn, CXO, chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr and I’ll see you … next time.