Family walking out of a shop with bags of shopping

How CX can impact the buying journey


Martyn Lewis explores the unique role CX teams can play in positively influencing and managing the buying journey – detailing precisely what buyers want from CX and how leaders can incorporate this into their teams.


2nd Jun 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on buying journeys throughout every industry. And with economic uncertainty looming, the trends both catalysed and accelerated by the virus are likely here to stay.

The topic on everyone’s mind now is how should our organisations respond? If we want to reach our buyers, what should our strategy be?

Our research has revealed that in the post-pandemic world, what happens before and after every live interaction contributes far more to the overall customer experience than ever before.

This is especially true of complex B2B engagements, where buyer-supplier relationships are not based solely on simple transactions. Because of these findings, we believe that CX teams are in a unique position to positively influence and manage their specific market’s end-to-end customer lifecycle.

With that said, changes to the customer journey has brought about new expectations from buyers for CX. However, by leveraging the mind of the customer, we can not only show businesses how to meet these new expectations but equip them with the tools to exceed them.

What buyers want from CX

Although back-to-office campaigns are slowly rolling out, hybrid and remote work are here to stay, along with the now-normalised workflows the pandemic introduced.

Regardless of where they are clocking in, decision influencers across every industry have more emails, more balls to juggle, participate in more video calls, and collaborate virtually far more often. This means everyone involved in an acquisition or renewal decision are much more wary of requests for their time – and with mounting fears of economic downturn, requests of their budget as well.

It should come as no surprise that these trends have had a direct impact on buyer attitudes and behaviour, and ultimately, the total lifecycle between the supplier and the prospect or customer – what we would define as the buying journey.

The number one request we heard from buyers was, ‘Don’t waste my time’.

But you do not have to take the importance of these changes from us. During our interviews, we heard five regular requests from buyers that we believe outline their new expectations:

  • Respect their time: The number one request we heard from buyers was, “Don’t waste my time.” For CX teams, this means designing brand interactions that are concise, and support services that are easy to interact with. 
  • Be prepared: In any interaction, customer facing roles must demonstrate knowledge of the customer's unique situation. That means personalising engagements whenever possible and bringing value and relevance at each step of the buying journey.
  • Be responsive: Customer facing roles should be enabled to not only reply to and resolve customer issues quickly but follow up on all interactions with the same tenacity. Today’s buyers expect responses from brands in hours, not days.
  • Be patient: Whereas buyers want responses quickly, they stressed that they do not want to feel badgered. With more responsibilities to balance than ever before, CX should ensure that customer facing roles are equipped to know when to push a customer and when to make sure their buyers have the room they need to breathe.
  • Make it easy: Last but not least, customers want their experience to keep things simple – not add to their workload. When asked a question, make sure you are providing a specific solution and that the answer doesn’t add on to the customer’s plate.

Some of these points may seem straightforward, but these kinds of recommendations do not just “happen,” and certainly do not in isolation.

Any consideration of customer experience must be preceded by gaining a full understanding of the buying journey. To look at customer experiences separated from the total buying process is to miss far more than some imagine.

Ignoring key players, motivations, anxieties, decision making style, buying activities and dependencies results in a lack of context for any individual experience. So, if your goal is to exceed expectations and manage the buying journey more directly, we encourage you to take things a step further.

Building to CX success

To gain that critical context for CX, we have developed a five-step recipe for CX success.

We must first gain a deep understanding of how customers buy, then build our strategies based on these buying journey insights, and finally enable and measure our programme results.

  1. Map the target market’s end-to-end buying journey: Ensure you have complete and deep knowledge of the actual market’s end-to-end buying journey lifecycle: all that the buyer is likely to do, the touch points, the key players that get involved, their motivations, concerns, decision making style and dependencies. 
  1. Understand current reality: Assess how you currently interact, directly or indirectly, across the entire buying journey. If done thoroughly, this will likely result in some surprises and shocks. But go back to those startling facts to see how you are trending compared to the overall state of the union. This is where the opportunity lies for most organisations.

    Take the focus away from your offering and attempts to convince the world of its inherent superiority. Instead, place it on positively managing the customer buying journey, helping the customer to buy and gain full utilisation from their acquisition.

  1. Determine your market engagement strategy: Determine how you want to be involved, or even change, the market’s buying journey. But be honest; you must be relevant to the customer and deliver unquestionable value for them to want to engage with you.

    This is where you can design the classic elements of the CX programme – how you provide what the customer requires and expects (incorporating the findings we shared earlier), when, where and in a way that is natural and compelling for them.

  1. Organise: Once you have a clear understanding of the customer buying journey and your associated market engagement strategy, the resources of the organisation across the entire ecosystem, including partners and channels, should be organised.

    Then teams should be enabled, supported, motivated, compensated and managed to deliver on that strategy. Certainly “easier said than done,” and perhaps somewhat aspirational, but nonetheless, this kind of structure must be the envisioned end state. 

  1. Manage and measure: Any CX programme is not a one-time event. It must constantly be managed and measured. Even if you could somehow implement the perfect approach; markets, competitors, economics, and customers don’t remain static. The system is in constant change.

    However, based upon a clear understanding of the buying journey, changes can be quickly detected and responses to such changes implemented across the organisation. 

Today, CX professionals have a unique opportunity to not only respond to the new needs of customers, but in the process, positively influence their customer’s lifecycle.

This starts by gaining the key context of any experience through mapping the specific market’s end-to-end customer buying journey. Then, organisations can incorporate the five requests we heard from customers while building their market engagement strategy.

It cannot be overemphasised that these new efforts must be measured and managed to be effective. But when your experiences are built upon the voice of the customer, you are truly prepared for CX success.

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