Customer Experience Now Tops Price as Most important Factor in Buying Decisions

Avanade, a business technology solutions and managed services provider, has released results from a global survey about the changing sales process and buying patterns of business and IT decision-makers. 

The company’s latest research shows the “consumerization” movement is shifting the sales process out of the control of the seller as enterprise buyers begin to mimic consumer shopping behaviors. With this shift, the value of the customer experience is now more important than price to business and IT decision-makers.

Report highlights include:

·         Customer experience now tops price as the most important factor in a buying decision by an enterprise decision maker. Business buyers are willing to pay up to 30 percent more for a product or service that offers an improved customer experience. 

·         Businesses no longer have control over information shared about their products or services. Sixty-one percent of business decision-makers report third-party sites and feedback from business partners, industry peers or social channels is more important than conversations with a company’s sales teams when making a purchasing decision.

·         To help navigate this change, companies are enlisting new people and departments to manage the customer experience. Compared to three years ago, customer service and call centers, IT and marketing are the leading groups now playing a larger role in the customer experience.

·         Seventy percent of respondents believe technology will primarily replace human interaction with customers in the next 10 years. Anticipating this change, businesses are making new technology investments, changing business processes and redesigning organizational roles. More than 80 percent of companies have changed at least one business process in the past three years to better interact with customers.

 The research also shows that businesses investing in technology to support better customer service and modifying internal roles are seeing positive results. Specifically, companies making these changes are experiencing increases in customer loyalty (61 percent); revenues (60 percent); and customer base (60 percent). 

“The consumerization of IT is dramatically transforming the traditional ways companies sell products and services to other businesses and consumers,” said Mick Slattery, Avanade executive vice president, Global Service Lines, in a statement “Businesses have lost control of the sales process, and B2B and B2C buying models are merging. It’s no longer business-to-business or business-to-consumer – it’s business-to-everyone. Those businesses that understand the nature of today’s complicated customer relationships are creating longer-term and more lucrative relationships with customers.”