Customer experience to improve profitability: Unlocking the Power of CX in Business Success. In the latest episode of our podcast, ‘Predictable B2B Success,’ host Vinay Koshy sits down with leading CX expert Ken Lonyai to delve into the fascinating world of customer experience and its pivotal role in driving business performance.
As businesses strive to elevate their profitability, the ability to understand and optimize the customer experience has become an essential strategy. In this eye-opening conversation, Ken Lonyai shares his profound insights on how CX can be harnessed to meet customer expectations and foster long-term growth and profitability. From deciphering the intricate nuances of user behavior to leveraging qualitative indicators, our guest takes us on a deep dive into the art and science of shaping an exceptional customer experience.
Join us as we explore the strategies, frameworks, and real-world examples demonstrating how customer experience can be a game-changer in business success.
Watch the episode
About Ken Lonyai
Ken Lonyai is a unique individual who never followed the traditional career path. Growing up, he noticed that while his peers aspired to become doctors, nurses, firefighters, or lawyers, no one ever expressed an interest in becoming a UX designer or product manager. Even today, it remains a relatively unknown career aspiration.
Ken, however, defied these expectations and became one of the pioneers of a company during the early days of the internet. As the internet evolved, so did Ken’s journey, leading him to specialize in UX design and product management. His story showcases the transformative power of technology and the courage to pursue unconventional paths.
The Power of Customer Experience in B2B Success: Insights from Ken Lonyai
In a world where automation dominates our transactions, it’s easy to assume that human touch is no longer significant. However, the truth is that people still play a crucial role in purchasing decisions, especially in the B2B space. In an eye-opening episode with guest Ken Lonyai on the Predictable B2B Success podcast, host Vinay Koshy explores the importance of customer experience (CX) and its impact on B2B success. From differentiating between user experience (UX) and CX to understanding the value propositions behind B2B purchases, this episode provides valuable insights for businesses striving to enhance their CX strategies.
The Differences between B2B and B2C Purchases:
A key point raised in the episode is the distinction between B2B and B2C purchases in terms of their value propositions. While B2C purchases may prioritize less practical factors, B2B purchases primarily focus on practicality and profitability. For instance, when buying a fleet of trucks, factors such as comfort, cost of operation, insurance, and reliability determine the product’s value. Understanding the specific needs and priorities of B2B buyers is crucial for businesses looking to succeed in this market.
The Role of Perception and Value: How to Use Customer Experience to Improve Profitability
Regardless of whether it’s a B2B or B2C purchase, customers need to believe they are getting value and want to avoid making a bad decision. The episode touches on how the overall customer experience (CX) influences customers’ decision-making process. For example – Distance, parking, traffic, store cleanliness, and staff knowledge impact customers’ decisions to visit a store. Although external factors like traffic are beyond the store’s control, businesses must ensure that the overall experience of purchasing the product is as smooth and effortless as possible.
Importance of Customer-Driven Product Development:
Ken Lonyai introduces the concept of a circular iteration loop that focuses on UX and involves everyone, not just the UX team. This emphasizes the need to manage expectations and ensure practicality when developing a product. While no specific list of steps is provided for product development, the episode highlights the importance of considering the users’ needs and involving them throughout the iterative design process. By focusing on customer experiences, businesses can enhance their product development, marketing, and sales strategies.
Unveiling the Challenges of CX Management:
Customer experience management comes with its challenges, as discussed in the episode. In today’s digital age, customers have higher expectations, intense competition, and rapid interactions across multiple channels. Improving CX requires meeting customer and company needs, guiding a team through research, development, and execution, and maximizing customer delight. The episode acknowledges challenges like understanding and meeting customer expectations, maintaining consistent experiences across channels, and garnering support for existing CX initiatives.
Insights on CX Management from Ken Lonyai:
As a thought leader on the business implications of user and customer experience, Ken Lonyai brings a wealth of knowledge to the podcast. He emphasizes the importance of having experience and background with the product for innovation development. Customer interviews are useful for understanding customer experiences, and he mentions the concept of “jobs to be done” as a helpful framework. Ken Lonyai suggests that publishing customer stories to attract similar-minded customers could be beneficial and that individuals who can capture the customer’s story are more effective in finding better customer solutions.
The Nexus of CX and B2B Success:
The episode further explores the correlation between customer experiences, UX research, marketing, and sales. It delves into the challenges of fully developing a product around UX while satisfying the diverse needs of different stakeholders. In B2B scenarios, where multiple stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process, drivers’ satisfaction may not have a significant influence. The episode highlights the importance of marketing and sales in highlighting the key points that matter to different buyer types, such as safety managers or accountants.
The Limitations and Potential of Language Models:
Vinay and Ken dive into Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and language models. Ken explains how large language models have surpassed NLU’s capacity to understand intents. The advancements in language models have made it easier to generate predictions, but they are not without limitations, often leading to hallucinations. Understanding these limitations and the need for effective resources like engineers is crucial for product managers looking to leverage language models for improved CX.
Understanding Customer Needs Before Implementing Changes:
The episode stresses the importance of identifying the underlying problem before implementing requested changes. Sometimes, revisiting the entire product may be necessary instead of adding a new feature. Ken Lonyai quotes Henry Ford’s famous line about people asking for faster horses, illustrating the need to dig deeper and understand the customers’ unarticulated needs. Making sound decisions to ensure customer satisfaction (CXing) requires careful consideration and focus on the overall value delivered.
Decoding Predictable B2B Success: Harnessing the Power of CX and UX
Let’s unravel the episode’s central theme and provide actionable takeaways for businesses looking to use customer experience to improve profitability and optimize their CX and UX strategies.
Understanding the Relationship between CX and UX:
At the core of B2B success lies the fusion of customer and user experiences to create a holistic approach to product development and customer satisfaction. While CX focuses on the customer’s overall journey and value proposition, UX hones in on the practicality and usability of the product for the user. Lonyai emphasizes that although automated buying is not yet prominent, people still play a crucial role in B2B purchasing decisions. Therefore, understanding and aligning the value proposition with the target audience’s unique needs becomes pivotal for success.
1. Prioritize Practicality and Profitability: B2B purchases center around practical factors that drive profitability. When developing a product or service, ensure that it caters to the specific needs of your B2B customers, such as cost-effectiveness, reliability, and ease of operation.
2. Manage Expectations and Ensure Practicality: Embarking on product development journeys requires managing expectations and ensuring practicality. Develop a clear understanding of the problem you are solving and align your product features and benefits accordingly.
3. Embrace Iteration and Collaboration: Ken Lonyai emphasizes the need for a circular iteration loop that involves everyone, not just the UX team. Encourage collaboration between various departments, including sales, marketing, product management, and UX design, to continuously refine and improve the customer experience.
4. Focus on Customer Experiences in Different Roles: Regardless of your specific role in the organization, such as a product manager, marketer, UX designer, or customer success manager, adopt a customer-centric mindset. Customer experience should be considered at every customer journey touchpoint to maximize customer delight.
5. Understand and Meet Customer Expectations: In the ever-evolving customer experience landscape, understanding and meeting customer expectations is essential. Conduct thorough customer research and utilize frameworks like “jobs to be done” to gain insights into customers’ needs and desires.
6. Tell Customer Stories: Instead of relying solely on self-serving case studies, consider publishing customer stories written from the customer’s perspective. These stories can attract similar-minded customers who resonate with the experiences shared by existing customers.
7. Highlight Practical Benefits: In the B2B context, where practicality and profitability reign supreme, marketing and sales efforts should focus on promoting the practical benefits of the perceived frivolous features. Understand the different buyer types within your target audience and tailor your messaging accordingly.
8. Optimize Resource Allocation: One of the significant challenges faced by product managers is limited resources, particularly a shortage of engineers. It is crucial to allocate resources effectively to ensure a smooth development process and demonstrate business value.
9. Identify Underlying Problems: When customers or users request changes or new features, it is essential to identify the underlying problems or needs before implementing solutions. This approach ensures that changes align with the customer’s requirements and enhance the overall product experience.
10. Differentiate CX and UX: While UX focuses on the practical usability of a product, CX encompasses the entire customer journey, from initial touchpoints to post-purchase elements. Recognize the importance of both facets and prioritize CX throughout the organization for B2B success.
The Predictable B2B Success podcast episode featuring Ken Lonyai sheds light on the critical role of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) in the B2B landscape. By prioritizing practicality, managing expectations, embracing iteration, and leveraging customer insights, businesses can optimize their CX and UX strategies. Ultimately, the fusion of CX and UX has the power to drive predictable B2B success and unlock new avenues for growth in an increasingly competitive and customer-centric marketplace.
Some areas we explore in this episode include:
- The importance of customer experience (CX) in B2B and B2C transactions
- The value proposition differences between B2B and B2C purchases
- Factors influencing purchasing decisions in B2B transactions (e.g., practicality, profitability)
- The role of user experience (UX) in product development and management
- Strategies for reducing driver fatigue to increase productivity and cost savings
- The challenges and importance of managing customer expectations in product development
- The role of qualitative analysis in deriving insights for better customer solutions
- The correlation between specific product features and profitability in B2B transactions
- The challenges and limitations of large language models in natural language understanding
- The importance of authority, autonomy, and resources in effective product management.
- And much, much more.
Listen to the episode
Related links and resources
- Check out Ken’s personal site and the AI product guy
- Learn more from Connor Gillivan – How to Craft Positive Customer Experiences With a Growth Mindset
- Learn from Dan Gingiss – How to Create a Digital Customer Experience Strategy to Drive Growth
- Learn from Carl Pihl – How to Create Luck, Use Product-Led Growth And Customer Needs to Fuel Growth
- Learn from Joel Klettke – How to Use The Science of Customer Stories to Drive Revenue Growth
- Learn from Chris Goward – 11 Steps to Improve User Experience for Customers and Drive Growth
- Check out the article – What is an Omnichannel Customer Experience And How to Boost Growth With it
Connect with Ken Lonyai
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