The White-Glove Client Experience: Why CX Is Key to Building Better Products

Characters holding doors open and leading the way to a peak of a mountain for the right product.

Someone recently asked me what businesses like ours need to focus on. To me the answer was simple; Client Experience.

Let me explain.

Information is everywhere, right? Which means that these days, chances are your client knows everything about your product or service before you’ve even had a chance to introduce yourself. They’ve done their homework. They’ve done their research. They know what they’re looking for.

So how do you stand out? Well, beyond making sure your offering meets (or better, exceeds) your clients’ demands, there is enormous—and frankly underestimated—power in delivering the best possible experience to your clients along the way. 

I’m talking white glove, best-in-class experience—the kind you see at the top hotels, restaurants, airlines, and fitness studios around the world.

Let’s pause on fitness studios for a minute. Why do people go to the gym? To get healthy, to feel healthy, to break a sweat, and so on. Well that’s simple, isn’t it? Just go to the gym at your local community center and you can do all of that no problem. There are weights, there are treadmills, there’s pretty much everything you need.

There is enormous—and frankly underestimated—power in delivering the best possible experience to your clients.

Now compare that experience to the experience of going to Equinox (or something along those lines). The minute you walk in, you get a bottle of water, you get a towel. The locker room has built-in locks, so you don’t need to bring one. The showers are spotless. There’s a sauna and steam room. The staff are incredibly helpful, easy to find, and so on.

You can see where I’m going with this.

Yes, Equinox is going to cost you a bit more. But it’s worth it because the experience is that much better, from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave. And ultimately, I’m going to keep wanting to go back.

That long-term retention, that lifetime value, is why it pays to deliver exceptional service at every possible touchpoint.

“Okay, Joel.” you say. “But those are B2C brands dealing with customers. We don’t have to worry about that as much when dealing with B2B clients.”

Wrong.

Not only does client experience matter enormously to the success of your B2B business—it matters now more than ever, and its importance will only continue to increase into the future.

Why? Because the worlds of B2C and B2B are colliding, in large part due to technology. Just as our digital devices allow us to take our work lives home with us (even before Covid this was true—you could email me round the clock and I would be able to see it and respond), the inverse is also true: we’re increasingly bringing our personal identities and expectations to work. And that means, in part, our consumer identities and expectations.

We’re increasingly bringing our B2C identities and expectations to B2B work environments.

Just look around and you’ll see what I mean. Gone are the days where enterprise software could be as clunky as the particle board ceilings they came with. Instead, B2B brands like Slack and Asana are leading the way in delivering user experiences with the polish of great
B2C brands.  

The point is: the difference between B2C and B2B is blurring, and people increasingly expect high-quality experiences wherever they are—whether it’s at home or at the mall, in a restaurant or, increasingly, when dealing with their business partners. 

Which brings me to my last point, and the most important one. Client experience isn’t just key to standing out from the crowd in an age of “democratized information.” Nor is it just about retaining clients in an era of B2C-style expectations. Great client experience is also about building a foundation of trust that unlocks better outcomes in the work itself.

Because at the end of the day, building better products for clients isn’t a simple transaction. It takes deep collaboration and frank discussion about business and user outcomes. And that kind of partnership can only happen if there is that solid foundation of trust.

Great client experience is about building a foundation of trust that unlocks better outcomes in the work itself.

And how do you earn that trust over time? You guessed it. By being professional, prepared, and polished (not to mention thoughtful, helpful, reliable, and generally best-in-class) at every single touchpoint* along the client journey—from the first partnership discovery call to the final product launch.

So to sum up: client experience is vital to businesses like ours, and will only continue to grow in importance. It helps attract, retain, and build trust with clients, leading to better lifetime value and most importantly, better business outcomes. That’s why we’ve made it a priority since day one, and continuously refine our service design in an effort to keep getting better for our clients. 

So far, the strategy has worked a hundred times over. 

I hope all industries make it a priority in the months and years ahead, for all of our sakes. 

*Note: Since Covid, an increasing number of workplace touchpoints are taking place via technology. Traveling is down, of course, so as a result we’re having to rely on tools like Zoom, Asana, Miro, Airtable, and Otter to facilitate meetings and collaborative work sessions. Which makes it crucial for client service, growth ops teams, and product development practitioners to be proficient in them. Because if you’re running a session with a client and there’s a technical difficulty, that’s another opportunity to build trust gone. 

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