After a 28-hour journey of flights and layovers, the sensation of being fresh and excited for a new adventure is not what most would expect to experience – and I didn’t, at least not right away. Still, even before the jet-lag wore off, I found myself in a fan park energetically cheering for the home team, South Africa, with hundreds more soccer fans from around the world.
So, how can an experience change so dramatically and so quickly from exhaustion to exhilaration? Why are fans from around the world willing to deal with lengthy, uncomfortable travel and the high cost of event tickets, transportation, lodging, dining and more? In retrospect, I’d say it is for the experience at every stage of the journey. While the World Cup is all about the Fan or B2C Journey, there are many relatable concepts that can be applied to the B2B Journey. Let’s consider the journey of the new customer:
Welcome & Onboarding
FIFA ensured representatives were located at high-risk failure points to ensure success. Often the greatest risk of failure is at the beginning of something new. While traveling to an event, actually getting to that event in an unfamiliar setting can pose a high risk for failure. In South Africa, FIFA representatives and partners were available at transportation hubs like airports and public transit centers, at stadium entry and exit points, and more. In the B2B journey, one of the highest-risk failure points is customer onboarding. Understanding how both digital and non-digital support is being offered at this stage of the journey can help prevent failure.
Of course, in-house measures can be taken to engage customers, but partners can be used as well. FIFA leveraged its sponsors like Coke to engage their audience and help fans feel connected to the events with activities like fan parks. B2B companies can use triggered events or walkthroughs to engage customers with the right content at the right time to get them excited about using the product.
Once fans actually make it to the stadium and participate in the matches, there is a great deal of behind-the-scenes work taking place that supports the events success, including security, facilities management, food and beverage sales, and retail sales. Each of these interactions is a unique touch point that reflects upon the whole experience. FIFA ensured successful events by providing comprehensive and sufficient event support. There’s no doubt that your B2B product has many, many touchpoints. The key to success at each touchpoint is understanding your customer’s needs and having a plan to support them, both behind-the-scenes and on the frontline.
One way to help grow fans or customers is to get their input on the experience and offer them something in exchange like a discount, gift card, or product roadmap transparency. How does the experience weigh against customer expectations? Conduct interviews, surveys or ethnographies. FIFA conducted interviews and surveys that were short and sweet. In exchange, participants were given credit at fan shops and offered other promotions. Even small gestures can go a long way to promoting growth and loyalty for your B2B product.
Watching the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 was an incredible experience and, if you are a soccer fan, it’s hard to find an event that compares to the World Cup. While B2B products may not be as glamorous as the World Cup, they still merit an exceptional customer experience at every stage of the journey and the World Cup offers valuable lessons for enhancing the B2B experience.