Customer experience: meeting higher expectations in B2C and B2B
The customer experience encompasses all the perceptions and emotions that a customer may feel before, during or after a purchase. It’s what results from the interactions a customer has with a brand or company, and serves as the basis on which a company develops its offering and services.
In transport and delivery, we are observing a major shift: customers’ very high expectations for B2C shipments are now becoming the norm in B2B. That change is being driven by the B2C e-commerce boom and its impact on transport and delivery businesses.
We’ve seen double-digit growth in B2C e-commerce for over a decade. According to FEVAD, the French e-commerce federation, it accounted for €129.1 bn, or 14.1%, of retail business in France in 2021. The federation also observed 11% growth in the number of French e-commerce sites. Some 527 million transactions took place in the country in the first quarter of 2022, a 5% increase year-on-year. And revenue from e-commerce jumped 12% in the first quarter of 2022.
Now more than ever, online sellers targeting retail consumers need to stand out from the competition to build loyalty and attract new customers. This differentiation strategy obviously involves the products, website and pricing, but the quality of the delivery service is also key, given its crucial position in the B2C business.
The primary challenge for B2C for the past several years has been providing a customer experience without “pain points”, i.e. without frustrations or difficulties during the ordering process through to the home delivery.
Transport and delivery services have been working to eliminate pain points in three main areas. They have improved their notification process to reassure and inform recipients before and during the delivery. They have expanded the range of delivery options (home, locker, neighbor, pick-up points, etc.) to let recipients choose the time and place of delivery. Lastly, they have optimized track and trace, adding real-time shipment tracking, driver geolocation, and the estimated time of arrival. That’s the path GEODIS has taken with its ON DEMAND service for B2C.
B2B customers have come to expect these same options and features.
To provide optimal end-to-end service, these exchanges need to be easy, smooth, and interactive. Making those improvements to the service provided to customers involves a key step: gathering and analyzing voice-of-the-customer data at each step in the customer journey, to gauge expectations and adjust the offering accordingly.