The impact of COVID-19 on customer experience in the Netherlands was still significant in 2021, but less significant than in the ‘corona outbreak year’ 2020. Last year, the economy slowly but surely recovered. Growing demand for products and services also brought challenges, including supply difficulties, staff shortages and scarcity of raw materials. Many B2B companies were also forced to digitize the buyer and customer journey. Applying more hybrid forms of collaboration and online measurement was the credo.
Despite the challenges, all developments added together resulted in more enthusiastic customers on average. For example, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) rose from +11 in 2020 to +16 in 2021. On average, companies scored 7.9 on customer satisfaction. This is apparent from the recent NPS benchmark report ‘Customer experience in the Netherlands 2022’.
As in previous years, the report shows differences by industry. For example, the industrial and wholesale sectors once again score well. The wholesale sector predominates with no less than 47% promoters. The NPS here, just like in the industry, is +33 and scores an average satisfaction of 8.2. ICT is in the middle bracket with an NPS of +5. The demand for ICT and telecom services is increasing due to the faster development of digital technology, partly due to corona.
This sector has also gained momentum due to more home and hybrid working. Corona caused a huge spike in demand for logistics services. However, there is a small decrease in the NPS. This amounted to +10 in 2020 and +9 in 2021. And for the third year in a row, the construction and installation sector manages to increase the NPS: +4.
Customers are particularly satisfied with the active role of the account manager and the reliable cooperation. In waste services, the NPS remains negative, but the number of detractors has decreased. That leads to an NPS of -5, which was -7 in 2020. The industry faces challenges such as the mandatory separation of industrial waste and the consequences of continuous contracts during the corona pandemic, while less frequent industrial waste was collected.
More enthusiastic customers
Looking at all branches, the customer experience is gaining ground in many organizations. And with success. The number of promoters (enthusiastic customers who recommend the organization they are doing business with to others) rose to 33% in 2021, from 29% in 2020. The number of passives (less persuasive recommenders) and detractors (‘non-recommenders’) decreased slightly, to 51% and 17% respectively in 2021 from 53% and 18% in 2020.
The corona pandemic was not all doom and gloom. Many positive digital developments that arose from the corona era are permanent and are applied in a hybrid way in the customer journey. This digitization ensures greater efficiency, greater reach and ultimately lower costs.
Let physical and digital customer journey reinforce each other
It remains important for many organizations not to let the customer experience slip. In the Netherlands we are also noticing the consequences of the war in Ukraine and we are dealing with rising energy prices and further inflation. According to Statistics Netherlands, the economy will grow slightly less rapidly in the coming years than in 2021. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to put the customer first. It is important to keep current customers on board and to further expand the customer base. Customer experience will therefore have to remain high on the agenda within the boards in the Netherlands in order to be able to achieve this in the end.
It remains important not to let the customer experience slip.
A major challenge is to organize buyer and customer journeys as optimally as possible. How do you properly alternate the digital journey with physical contact moments? Also within B2B there will be more and more attention for customer experience, customer journeys, NPS and loyalty. Customer experience is seen more as a ‘way of working’. Looking to the future, I therefore expect a further increase in the NPS within B2B Netherlands.
How is the NPS calculated?
The NPS (Net Promoter Score) is measured with an 11-point scale from 0 to 10. Whoever gives a 9 or 10 to the question whether you would recommend an organization is a promoter. With a 7 or 8 you are a passive and with a 0 to 6 you are a detractor. The NPS is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.
About the benchmark report
Integron based the NPS benchmark report ‘Customer experience in the Netherlands 2022’ on more than 220 customer surveys conducted in 2021 in nine B2B sectors. This concerns the following sectors: construction and installation, wholesale, ICT, industry, transport and logistics, financial services, waste services, facility services and professional services.
Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.
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