B2B is going digital. Processes get automated. Self-service models introduced. Some firms are reducing the amount of human contact to the point of non-existence.
To a degree, we like this. As professional clients we want to be efficient with our time. We have developed a culture which considers email to be more efficient than calling. In which we prefer to pick up a phone over meeting face-to-face. Especially if the latter requires travel. In short: we achieve more, talk less and we like it that way.
So, whenever a client comes to your head office or showroom a unique opportunities arises. To build relationships. To open your clients' eyes to new avenues of business. To give them stories to tell when they get back home. To create a memorable experience.
Unfortunately, many B2B companies squander this precious moment. On the process front they pursue the latest in digitalisation. But in face-to-face meetings and hospitality, scripts haven't changed since my first job. 30 years ago.
Clients check in at reception. Someone brings them to a clean, but non-descript, meeting room. They get a cup of coffee or tea and a cookie. After some small talk, it’s on to Powerpoint and paperwork. Sometimes, a tour or demo brightens up the day.
It feels like - and probably is - an efficient way to get the practical side of the job done. But as an experience, it’s also very un-memorable. If not boring.
B2B product and service providers need to rethink their (head) office experience.
Offices and showrooms can be more than physical locations to get stuff done. They can be immersive experiences which help your staff strengthen client relationships. Create memorable moments.
This isn’t about buying funky furniture, though may be part of the mix. It is about creating client experience scripts that consider:
Once you get into it, you'll quickly find that many of the office protocols you consider to be normal today, contribute little to the visiting client's experience. You might even find they detract from it.
So, are you ready to turn the place upside down?
About this blog
Whenever inspiration strikes, I use this space to share my thoughts on customer experience management, storytelling or what ever else crosses my mind.