92% of B2B companies have the future in their hands

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Challenges and opportunities in B2B: 92% of companies own their own destiny, but only 8% adopt a mature customer-centric approach


Usability test in the TSW laboratory

Around a third of Italian companies working in B2B say they put the customer at the center of their business. However, the data does not seem to confirm this: a recent study by the Customer Experience in B2b Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano found that only 8% adopt a “mature” and complete customer-centric approach.

The study

From this research emerges a very precise picture of how the protagonists of B2B today take care of their customers’ experiences.

Here are some highlighted numbers:

  • 14% of companies are called “promising” in their approach to customer experience; among these, the majority belong to the worlds of Finance and the Advanced Tertiary Sector.
  • Almost half (49%) are still in an initial phase of their journey: 26% are defined as “immature“, meaning they do not adopt a clear vision and adequate tools, while 23% are taking “the first steps” with preliminary activities. Very interesting is the situation outlined in the agri-food supply chain which moves at two speeds: on the one hand in 32% of cases it follows a traditional product-centric business model positioning itself in the “immature” cluster, on the other 19% of these companies are instead classified as “promising“. This is a demonstration that the transformation towards a customer-centric approach is transversal and easily accessible: all companies have the possibility of reaching a high degree of maturity.
  • 34% of the total have adopted B2B platforms to improve the acquisition, management and analysis of customer data, but 52% only use basic tools, such as Excel.
  • 69% of B2B brands lack a function responsible for customer experience projects.

TSW’s point of view

These are data that reveal a context that is certainly immature, but which precisely for this reason contains new opportunities and perspectives with enormous potential. A potential that TSW develops every day together with companies, as a strategic and operational business partner.

Among these, there are more and more companies in the B2B panorama that want to shift their focus of action towards a model that puts customers at the centre, thanks to specific and targeted activities or with integrated business strategies that involve all company areas.

The use of customer experience in commercial development is in fact only the most common of possible applications: from the study of a product to the consultation of a site, from remote assistance to in-company consultancy, the quality of the experience lived by people is, and it will be increasingly also in the B2B sector, the driver of choice par excellence because it simplifies, enriches and improves the life (and work) of each of us.

This evidence confirms the value of what TSW achieves every day in synergy with its customers: creating the best possible experience for people, with people.

This is the most effective way to establish strong and lasting relationships with a product or brand. Once the quality of a product is defined, in fact, a careful and complete customer experience aimed at the end customer – which anticipates needs, solves a problem, simplifies the life of those who work with its products and services – is the most effective way to emerge in the competitive context.

An identifying and distinctive approach, therefore, which is also essential to ensure coherence of the experience and identify any opportunities for improvement in advance, in a virtuous, potentially infinite, circle of planning designed together with people.

This is also confirmed by the words of Sara Zagaria, Director of the Customer Experience Observatory in B2B, on the occasion of the presentation of this study: “In the last decade, Customer Experience has taken on a key role in the success of numerous companies. Today, customers are no longer satisfied with simple commercial transactions, but are looking for personalized relationships, omnichannel involvement in the purchasing process, timely and high-quality customer service. These initiatives are becoming a key element of competitive differentiation also in supply chains aimed at companies (B2B). The approach built around the customer has its roots in carefully listening to people within the value chain and promoting a collaborative dialogue, in which customer needs and experiences are at the center of development strategies.”

The importance of listening in B2B

It is precisely thanks to listening that TSW answers the most complex question for companies: “How to create the best possible experience for people?” In fact, the people themselves tell it, you just need to know how to listen to them.

To do this in the most complete way, TSW has created a real listening laboratory that combines research and skills: here the best technologies for data collection, structured investigation and analysis skills, and all those disciplines that study in depth come together. human behavior.

Only in this way is it possible to understand people’s real expectations, needs and desires, as a concrete basis for every effective strategy. The listening methodologies are then applied and integrated with each other to achieve different objectives.

Forel, Omnia Technologies, Ebara, Kyma, Foscarin, are big players in their sectors who work with TSW in listening to employees to optimize and improve company life, they use usability tests and A/B tests to increase efficiency by cutting costs development times, they implement search analyzes and qualitative interviews to guarantee the best customer care, they organize focus groups to introduce new products and services, through co-design they create the best digital experience of the brand together with their customers.

These are just some examples of how TSW represents a window into the truth available to companies, and its professionals become interpreters and translators of the reality that people experience, whether it is direct or functional to the business as in the case of this study.

A study that we welcome as a stimulus to do even better, to do more. Because TSW’s goal is ambitious: to create a better world made up of useful and beautiful experiences to live. This means helping businesses evolve towards the future, a future in which people’s experiences are at the center of entrepreneurial planning.

“By dealing with user experience and constantly being in contact with people – our customers’ customers – we have understood that the experience they live and share with us has extraordinary value because it contains an infinite wealth of information that goes well beyond the specific task of a test. It is by observing people and seeing how my work could positively impact the quality of their experiences that I found the guiding star of TSW: providing quality, beautiful, simple and natural experiences. Online yes, but also within physical environments. We are still sailing in that direction today because we are convinced – as we were in 1997 when we talked about SEO before it existed – that only companies that are open to real listening and the involvement of people in all phases of planning will be able to survive.”

Christian Carniato, Founder & CEO of TSW

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1 December 2023 Elena Toniolo

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TAG: UX and UI usability test experience design product and service design