James Bates on the key elements of B2B at the online retailer
Selling and customer engagement in B2B requires a higher degree of personalization and engagement. In the pre-pandemic era, companies struggled with leaks, outdated engagements and sales channels – post-covid has shown that digital is no longer an option but an absolute imperative. In an ever-changing world, what should the CEO’s attention be focused on?
The Online Retailer Conference & Expo in Sydney on July 20-21 has created a separate B2B conference to focus on challenges and solutions for B2B retailers, featuring thought-provoking sessions led by some of Australia’s key players to address important factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing world that has resulted.
One panel in particular titled “The Future Is Digital” features James Bates (Main Image, Executive Director, NSW Department of Customer Service), Claire Madden (Social Researcher, Hello Clarity), Marc Levin (CEO, JasonL) and David Campbell (Head Commercial Sales and Retail Marketing Consultant, Barbeques Galore) to challenge and discuss the current B2B market. Some of the featured topics include:
- Why Customer Experience-Centric Marketing Matters – The CEO Perspective
- How to find and hire the right talent
- What does the COVID recovery roadmap look like?
- Why digital innovation is an absolute necessity
- How to Monitor Behavioral Trends for Product Design and CX Engagement
The panel aims to provide attendees with relevant information on the future of B2B marketing, especially for those considering the logistics behind digital transformation.
Taking the opportunity to discuss this digital transformation from a government perspective, James Bates provided some key customer experience insights ahead of his attendance.
The government has said it wants to be ‘the most customer-centric government in the world’. What does it mean? And how do you measure that?
Simply put, we want all government services to be efficient, easy and trustworthy, no matter who you are, where you are or what you need.
How do we measure this? Well, we have a government-wide customer experience survey that speaks to 30,000 people in New South Wales a year and covers 37 distinct service lines and over 550 different interactions.
The survey measures ask people for each of these 37 service lines and 550 interactions – how easy was the service to engage with, did you feel the service or the person with whom you dealt with had your best interests at heart and how satisfied were you.
Can you give me an example of how the government implemented something that was recommended by the client?
Our Life Journeys program organizes government services around key life events rather than, as we have always done, around departmental silos.
Take, for example, the birth of a child and those early years. On average, parents will interact with 17 different parts of state government, 10 different parts of Commonwealth government and 30 NGOs before their child reaches school.
So we’re working a lot on that particular life course as part of our best start program, which aims to make it easier for parents to navigate the system and to increase the number of children who are developmentally on track at the moment. where they start school.
Who were the core team and agencies working on this vision? Which departments were involved?
Well, the role of the department I work for, the Department of Customer Service, is to work across government to help improve customer service.
As I said earlier, we want all government services to be efficient, easy and trustworthy, no matter who you are, where you are or what you need. This really includes all services.
So it’s really a whole-of-government effort.
You would have large amounts of Australian public data. How are you using this data to make government “customer-centric”?
You’re right, there’s a lot of data out there and there’s a lot of data that governments collect, but it can be quite difficult to get the right data from the right part of government in front of the right people at the right time .
To help you, we recently developed what we all are, the Customer Insights Hub, which is really a repository of key customer data from across government that we can then integrate into government decision-making.
For example, all of the results from the government-wide CX survey are stored there alongside other more operational data….
What type of data are you looking at? What other tools do you use besides data to hear the customer’s perspective?
We use a whole range of data. Sentiment data, channel and traffic data, operational data, and even lots of publicly available data. For example, we’ve used mobility data from Google and Apple that they’ve released over the past two years to help understand how people’s behavior has changed due to COVID. Ideally, we always triangulate one data source with another.
In addition to data, it’s important to stay connected to customer experience in a more human way that helps connect data to real experience. So, for example, Service NSW has a practice of what we call service time, which is when senior managers spend half a day or a full day working at one of our service centers. to help them stay in touch with what’s happening on the front lines.
By saying you are “customer-centric”, does that mean that customer data/feedback has an impact on policy-making? How is it going ?
Absolutely it is and we are trying to improve. Trying to move away from the old days of government consultations where we could issue a position paper or a green paper that people would have to find and then take the time to provide feedback in a form that suited us, but not for people we said we wanted to hear.
Our Have Your Say platform, which is a government-wide consultation and feedback platform, is truly millions of miles away from this old way of doing consultation. There are many different ways to provide feedback and most importantly it allows the customer to be as much or as little involved in the process as they wish. And we’re seeing that we’re getting a lot more engagement than ever before.
Were things like Dine & Discover driven by customer feedback/data?
Well, the great thing about Dine & Discover, of course, is how easy the process is to obtain and redeem vouchers through the Service NSW app.
And everything in the Service NSW app has a thumbs up/thumbs down widget that we use to get customer feedback and watch like a hawk. The minister has a dashboard on his phone that allows him to see the thumbs up/thumbs down score for each transaction or service. In addition to the score, we also make the free text available to the Minister and anyone working on this service. It’s this textual feedback that we really use to drive the development of the backlog.
What would be the top three things you would advise a service organization or a B2B organization that wants to improve their CX?
You know, as part of our whole-of-government customer strategy development, we looked at many organizations around the world and the literature and found that customer-centric organizations do five things:
– They understand their customers
– They prioritize action and investment around what matters to their customers
– They offer high quality services and experiences
– They engage meaningfully with their customers
– They have a customer-centric culture