As Customer Experience moves from emerging best practice to best practice and eventually to a standard operating procedure, monetizing Customer Experience is the next emerging best practice in this field.

Wondering what is the next emerging best practice in Customer Experience? Monetizing service.  This is in addition the typical Customer Experience benefits of decreased churn and higher cross-sell/ upsell.


Listen to how a sales leader leverages Customer Experience.


Stay Ahead of the Competition by Implementing Emerging Best Practices


As Customer Experience moves from emerging best practice to best practice and eventually to a standard operating procedure, monetizing Customer Experience is the next emerging best practice in this field.


In our work, clients are now asking how they can monetize making their customers more successful through the experience they provide.  Specifically, we have had several enterprise software providers ask if they can charge to provide white glove service. Our view at SBI is that Yes, this can be done.  However,  you need to change your customers paradigm before hitting them with charges for services they come to expect receiving at no extra charge.  You also need to define new services for your top customers that will truly delight them.


If you do not approach this in the right way you risk angering customers.  You will be perceived as charging for something that should be included, no questions asked.


Speed up by Slowing down Your Approach


To change the paradigm, lets first consider an example from another industry to clarify what good looks like. The example is how the airline industry provides first class, business class and economy levels of service.  In all three levels of service, the ‘product’ is the same which is getting you safely and efficiently from point A to B.  The services provided with each level however varies widely.  What also varies is the customers willingness to pay for these different service levels.


To illustrate the point, see this example (note; this is for representation purposes only, not accurate to any one airline or length of flight).


Services Economy Class Business Class First Class
Safe and efficient travel Y Y Y
More leg room Y Y
Advanced seat assignment Y Y
Convenient onboard and offboard Y
Unlimited drinks Y
Hot towels Y Y
Access to club lounge at airport Y
Great food options Y
Full bed, recline and leg room Y
Pajamas and eye masks Y
Personal assistance to your seat Y


The airline industry began changing to this structure soon after 9/11 when revenues dropped and technology made charging, ordering and fulfilling these options possible.  Initially, there was significant pushback, but travelers soon became used to this structure.  You can implement a key learning from this case study by positioning new services vs just charging what was previously included at no additional charge.


Tie the Right Message and Services to the Right Customers


The willingness to pay for first class ties very closely to the ability pay.  This is where segmenting must be tied to levels of customer service.  To do this, you can start by defining the personas of who is the ideal customer for each segment or level of service.


Only 1% of B2B SaaS companies can describe their buyer personas beyond a few generalities.


To start, you must first define the service levels you want to provide.  To get started on this, see our tool to help you begin this journey.


While the above airline example can help you understand different segments, these examples below are aligned to traditional B2B service elements.


Some items to consider for your B2B business are the metrics we often see with our software and technology clients.


  • Response time on support issues


  • Mode of response (chat, email, call, face to face)


  • Uptime or product availability


  • Quarterly Business Reviews


  • Tracking who at your customers uses the service and how often each month


  • Implementation assistance (do it yourself, call support, on-site support)


  • Best practices on use of your product (collateral, webinars and 1 on 1 support)


Click here to see a tool that can help you map services to tiers of customer experience.


Segment Your Customers and Provide the Right Experience for Each


By going through the above list and adding several others pertinent to your business, segments will emerge based on how the services can be grouped.  An example of segments that may help your B2B business is;


  • Strategic; your product or service is critical to your customers end-product or service. If this is true, they will have a higher willingness to pay for added services


  • Auxiliary; your product enhances your customers product or service. Or perhaps it is crucial to development of the end-product but not necessarily end customer facing


  • Non-essential; your customers do not view your product or service as a strategic component of the end-product or how it is made or delivered. In this case, they will likely have the lowest willingness to pay for higher tiers of service.


While these services and segments may not be 100% on target for you, they can serve as a starting point for you and team to begin monetizing your levels of service.


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