Customers in the B2B sector can be more demanding than others. To meet their expectations, you need to pay attention to the specifics of your target group, just as you would do when it comes to the B2C sector. Read on to find out what the differences in approach between these two sectors are and how to improve customer experience by leveraging B2B customer support.
B2B vs B2C customer service
When running a B2B company, you need to realize that your audience includes people who are also typical customers on their own time. That is why all of their experiences with brands, even during casual shopping, accumulate and create higher expectations. Additionally, business owners, managers or employees that you contact may be under pressure themselves, since professional communication is more stressful and has more potential consequences. For example, fixing a problem on an e-commerce website will be very urgent and crucial for its operation.
B2B companies usually have fewer clients, but they are more significant in other ways. B2B products and services are more costly, and very often their cooperations are a result of in-depth research and a few months of negotiations with service providers. If a B2C customer complains and returns a product, it does not cause a remarkable loss for the selling company. In the B2B sector, however, it could be a serious problem for the business.
Moreover, the B2B environment is much more personal and very often requires calls and meetings in order to close a deal. On the contrary, relationships within the B2C sector are often less personal because brands can have thousands or even millions of customers. Maintaining relationships with clients and providing an excellent customer experience is essential for retaining customers and increasing revenue. As a customer’s lifetime value can be significant when it comes to the B2B sector, it is worth taking care of every client properly.
4 ways to boost B2B customer service
Check out the next part of this article, where we will give a few tips on how to deliver and boost excellent B2B customer service.
1. Treat B2B customers as partners
Because of the higher lifetime value of customers in the B2B sector compared to that of B2C, cooperation sometimes lasts for years for the former. You need to take a customer-centric approach and show your clients that you care about their business and that you and your employees want to help in developing customer’s companies. Be aware that you are dealing with professionals, so use accurate solutions and data to provide the most valuable and concrete support.
Your customer service team should completely understand the business they support and specifics of the industry, as well as customers’ needs. Do not rush things when contacting customers; take your time to solve complex problems and go beyond their expectations. Treat your customers as partners and grow together.
2. Personalize the experience
Today, businesses use innovations to automate some of their processes. To develop your company, you should find such processes that can be performed better and faster by using technological solutions.
Nevertheless, in the B2B sector, you must be careful with automation and use only high-level and secure technology. There is no room for frustrating customers with an annoying bot or a long waiting time. For example, you can use call center software to distribute calls in a smart way and view past customer interactions during the call to enhance the customer experience.
In the B2B sphere, customers expect that your representatives have all the important information about their companies. Therefore, they can be familiar with the customers’ history and can pick up conversations where they previously left off. Assign particular agents to key customers so that they can build a relationship with them and engage in their businesses.
3. Provide omnichannel customer support
People differ when it comes to their preferred methods of contact. Make sure to offer a few options so that everyone can be satisfied with your company’s service. For the B2B sphere, the most common and popular channels are calls and e-mails. Nevertheless, younger professionals might prefer getting help via a chatbot or self-service.
Keep in mind that customers in the B2B sector seek valuable answers, not fast but unsatisfactory replies. Nowadays, a solution based on natural language processing and machine learning can help you meet these requirements. By implementing a bot on your website, you can provide your customers with immediate answers. Even though it might seem unsuitable for the B2B sector, some of your customers might really appreciate it. Some less complex issues can be solved in no time thanks to an AI-powered chatbot. Once a bot identifies a problem as too complicated for it to handle, it can pass the enquiry on to an agent. That way, you can be sure that you can provide fast and high-quality help to your customers.
Enable self-service to clients who prefer looking for answers on their own. You can create a set of articles, tutorials, videos and use a chatbot as a browser. Such conversational FAQs can be more intuitive and engaging than traditional FAQ pages. Do not forget to inform your customers that even though you have prepared materials for self-service, your team is still more than happy to chat about any issue.
It is crucial to integrate all of the systems that your customer service team uses so that agents can have access to previous conversations and client history when it comes to purchases or settings. Read more about omnichannel customer support in our article.
4. Build trust
Last but not least, do everything in your power to enhance your relationship with customers. You need to create the image of, and actually be, a solid, trustworthy company that cares about its customers and their businesses.
Train your customer support team accurately and provide them with essential information about the industry and particular businesses. Make sure they are prepared to solve the complex issues of B2B customers. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to involve senior leaders with contacting clients for boosting the customer experience. If, once in a while, managers get involved with providing support, especially when it comes to key cases, customers will feel safer and more trusting of the representatives that they contact on a daily basis. Between 30-40% of B2B customers offer referrals IF their customer experience was a pleasant one.
Once your customers are satisfied with your services, they might spread a good word about your company to others in the industry. Such testimonials will help you create a strong position on the market for your products and services.
Even though there are plenty of common tips for both B2B and B2C customer service, there are a few specific aspects for each that you need to take under consideration when designing a customer experience. As mentioned before, B2B customers should be treated as partners. By providing personalized, omnichannel customer support and high-quality advice, you can build a strong business relationship. In such an environment based on mutual trust, you can also offer upselling to help to improve your customer’s companies.