People associate innovation and being innovative with a whole list of popular buzzwords, primarily revolving around new technologies: augmented reality, virtual reality, chatbots, personalisation, artificial intelligence, robotisation etc. This way of thinking about innovation and innovativeness can be tempting, especially when these technologies are not common in your sector.
However, before you take the plunge and decide “to be innovative”, you have to start with thorough research. After all, not everything that’s innovative is automatically beneficial for your business. Everything you do has to be tailored to your company and your customers’ needs.
In essence, the definition of innovation in business is quite simple. It happens when a company implements something new (processes, services, products) or improves current solutions to trigger a positive change. What’s especially important, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be innovative. It’s all about the effect, not the means. Sometimes, even small customer service innovations, such as adding a chat channel, can make a huge difference.
Innovativeness is all about introducing meaningful improvements to your business. That’s why you need to consider what your company (and its customers) needs the most. And then do just that.
You have to understand that innovativeness can be seen in everything your company does, including CX (customer experience). Don’t limit yourself just to digital channels and solutions. Think about offline channels and interactions as well.
When we speak about the experience, we mean all the touchpoints and services in the B2B customer journey. Such a journey might take weeks or months and includes several stages with different people involved on the client’s side and from your company (sales representatives, customer support, advisors, maintenance team etc.). The purchase decision might be made in one specific moment, but what you need to cater for is the whole process.
Remember: Innovation does not have to be ground-breaking!
To deliver value that your customers will approve and benefit from it, you don’t have to be original or ground-breaking. Think about customer experience and how to make it better. That will be your innovation! Still, you should always think about how to be a pioneer in your niche. In fact, introducing new technologies/solutions and improving UX/CX frequently go hand in hand.
Now let’s be more specific and see what you can do to offer an innovative user experience in your B2B company. We have a list of four beneficial ways to consider.
Remember that even the best digital tool or solution won’t cover non-digital deficiencies. Win your customers with the services they need and quality they appreciate – similarly to what you’d do in the B2C market! When talking about good experience, we mean the whole process, not only its online part. Digital tools should support your brand; with poorly designed offline processes and services, online solutions most likely won’t provide significant value.
The B2C world affects the way people view B2B services and solutions. After all, there is always a human on the other side of the computer. Of course, there are more restrictions and regulations for B2B companies; there are more challenging processes (e.g., in B2B, you usually can’t just click the “buy now” button), and there are more user types with different needs. As a result, the UX level is generally lower in this sector. Try to solve these challenges and overcome these differences.
To do that, observe the market and your competition. Try to find out what your customers expect and what they are used to. This way, you will be able to redesign at least some of your solutions and tailor them to fulfil your target audience’s expectations.
Once you understand all that, you can think about the innovations that can be implemented. Here’s what you can do:
Pay attention to all these four points. Involve different experts in the process, including research, service design, UX and strategy. A well-thought-out plan in which you define where the technology can support the needs of your company and your customers will save you both time and resources while enabling the introduction of an innovative approach and tools.
Are you still not sure what to do? Do you want to know more? See how to incorporate new technologies into your digital ecosystem and schedule a free consultation with our team.
Senior UX Designer
Kamelia is a Senior UX Designer with 7+ years of experience in research and interaction design for international customers. She specializes in solving strategic and operational challenges with a strong focus on team collaboration.
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