Experience Mapping in Complex B2B Ecosystems

Valerie and I are hot off the conference trail, and we’re thrilled that Customer Experience Mapping is finally getting the attention it has long deserved. It`s gone from a “maybe” to an “of course!” in terms of strategic priority at many companies.

At the CXPA Members Insight Exchange in Atlanta, an interesting conundrum came up during a discussion about applying different mapping methodologies for B2B vs. B2C companies. What if only one of the many companies along the value chain en route to the end customer is actually doing experience mapping to improve its customer experience? Will the fruits of that labor trickle down the chain to the end user or be stopped by another`s poor performance?

Let’s look at an example. A large chain retail business works with point-of-sale vendors for hardware (cash registers) and software (transaction tracking, data transfer, etc.). It will also work with an ecommerce provider online, as well as several logistics companies to deliver a complete product . It`s relatively easy to map the end customer experience through the shopping and check out process, and there are plenty of vendors who can help with Voice of Customer programs, secret shopping, etc., to inform where the pain points and opportunities for improvement are.

What is not so easy to fathom is the myriad of partnerships that need to integrate and then operate smoothly to ensure each customer transaction is smooth and headache-free. If you are the POS hardware vendor, how should you approach experience mapping? Who is your customer? What is the ultimate goal? How can you map what the customer expectations are for each of the sub-processes and company interactions?

As more and more companies embrace experience mapping, it would be marvelous to see whole partner ecosystems working together to focus on the customer and align business processes, create consistency in brand promise and measure success in terms of end user value. I`m willing to bet that the ecosystem of partners who achieved this would see their satisfaction rates go through the roof!

We will be keeping our eyes open for good B2B experience mapping case studies and best practices to share. This is only the beginning of a long discussion!

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