Business-to-Business Customer Experience Management Study by ClearAction Explores Unique B2B Challenges

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Differences between managing customer experience for business clients versus consumers will be identified in the 4th Annual State of B2B CEM survey sponsored by ClearAction and CustomerThink.

Customer Experience Best Practices

4th Annual B2B CEM Study

This study provides a great cross-industry view of various B2B success stories. I keep it on my desk for reference and use some of the data stats to support my internal presentations. Well designed and easy to consume.

The 4th Annual State of Business-to-Business (B2B) Customer Experience Management (CEM) survey explores the complex relationships between business clients and their suppliers. Business customers differ typically from consumers in many ways:

  •     Multiple influencers of buying decisions, sometimes including the customer’s plant manager, safety manager, engineers, and other roles.
  •     Interfaces among functional area counterparts at both companies, such as engineering and operations.
  •     Ongoing interactions between both parties post-purchase.
  •     Substantially larger finances are typically at stake, as well as career implications.
  •     Highly customized offerings to buyers’ specifications, with longer sales cycles.

The 2013 State of B2B CEM survey consists of about two dozen multi-faceted questions to comprehensively gauge current practices in managing business customers’ experience. Customer experience includes all of the steps a buyer takes to get and use a solution from the time of the buyer's realization of a need until the buyer deems the need no longer exists. Customer experience management is company-wide dedication to serving buyer needs from the buyer's perspective. CEM is a composite of customer service, voice of the customer, co-innovation, experiential marketing, customer relationship management, customer references, internal branding, and similar efforts.

Study participants will characterize their ongoing journey toward superior business customer experience in these areas:

  •     Hearing the customer voice and building an accurate view of customer's world
  •     Nurturing customer-focus in employee and organizational habits
  •     Use of customer experience management technology and cultural tools
  •     Role of customer experience as demonstrated by top management's practices
  •     Customer experience management goals, obstacles, and achievements

Milista Anderson, Chief Customer Officer at Sungard Energy Systems said, "This study provides a great cross-industry view of various B2B success stories. I keep it on my desk for reference and use some of the data stats to support my internal presentations. Well designed and easy to consume."

Results of this survey will be reported in the 4th Annual ClearAction Business-to-Business Customer Experience Best Practices Study in early autumn of 2013.

The third annual study in 2012 examined trends over three years and collected stories of B2B progress in customer-focus, customer well-being, and customer profitability. Such stories are rare within customer experience literature which primarily focuses on business-to-consumer examples and achievements. Inspiring stories about the progress of business customer experience management can be found throughout the 2012 best practices study, featuring companies such as Ciena, Citrix, LexisNexis, Orange, SunTrust, Symantec, tw telecom, and others in business services, building materials, remarketing, and semiconductor industries.

The second annual study in 2011 identified success factors linking customer experience management to business results and more holistic use of best-practices. The 2010 baseline study examined the functional owners of various customer experience programs, and the scope of organizational deployment.

To participate in the 4th Annual ClearAction Business-to-Business Customer Experience Management Best Practices Study survey, see ClearAction(dot)biz/benchmark.

About ClearAction

ClearAction is a customer experience optimization consulting firm that guides company-wide action on a clear view of customer intelligence. Customer experience optimization goes beyond the revenue-focus of customer experience management, to grow both revenue and profit naturally through company-wide alignment with buyer priorities. ClearAction's depth of practitioner experience since 1989:

  •     Inspires employees to take the customer perspective
  •     Instills customer-focused decision-making as a habit among all employees, and
  •     Engages employees to collaborate cross-organizationally to resolve and prevent customers’ issues, for company-wide customer experience excellence.

ClearAction is a CXPA Founding Corporate Member and Lynn Hunsaker, head of ClearAction, is a CXPA Customer Experience Expert and author of three e-handbooks: Innovating Superior Customer Experience, Metrics You Can Manage for Success, and Customer Experience Improvement Momentum. For more information, visit

About CustomerThink

CustomerThink is a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises. Each month, the site reaches 200,000 subscribers and visitors from 200 countries via email, RSS, LinkedIn and Twitter. CustomerThink currently serves over 80,000 visitors per month. Main areas of coverage include Customer Relationship Management, Customer Experience Management, and Social Business. This is the place to learn about every facet of customer-centric business management. For more information, visit

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Lynn Hunsaker
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