This week we feature an article by Christa Heibel about how investing in a personalized customer experience can create life-long customers in the B2B space. – Shep Hyken If you’ve been habituated to think that the customer experience (CX) is strictly for B2C (business serving customers) verticals, you’re not alone. Most businesses have traditionally focused on separating the […]
This week we feature an article by Christa Heibel about how investing in a personalized customer experience can create life-long customers in the B2B space. – Shep Hyken
If you’ve been habituated to think that the customer experience (CX) is strictly for B2C (business serving customers) verticals, you’re not alone. Most businesses have traditionally focused on separating the customer experience from B2B (business serving other businesses) channels, or not giving it adequate attention because of the general perception that it is not as important when selling to other businesses.
However, given the overall increased focus on customer satisfaction over the last decade or so, it makes business sense to overhaul or rethink your B2B customer experience as well. Remember, your business client is also a customer. At the end of the day, you are still selling to a person.
Relationship Building in B2B for Customer Retention
Relationship building is just as crucial in B2B as in B2C for some very good reasons. Taking the time out to build rapport and manage long-term commitments with your business clients yields huge dividends when it comes to retaining client loyalty over the long-term. Your business client always has a choice – to stay or to take their business elsewhere. They are more likely to stay if they have a good relationship with you, like you, and trust you.
Ease of Contact and Responsiveness
Customer satisfaction is rated consistently higher in B2B experiences where there is an Omni-channel approach and an almost immediate responsiveness. To evaluate the ease of contact and responsiveness, consider the following:
Understand the Customer, Improve Satisfaction
Customer mapping is just as essential for B2B as it is for B2C. Customer mapping involves tracing the entire customer journey from the first point of contact all the way to the completed sale and identifying points where the experience may need to be enhanced. B2B companies can leverage collected data to uncover customer preferences, demographics and trends—all of which reveal a better understanding of the customer’s needs.
Stumbling blocks at any stage during the process flow, whether it’s in the product or technology, the experience with the sales personnel, or the overall methodology, can significantly impact whether the customer wants to continue to engage with you and complete the sales process.
The insights that you get from customer mapping can also help you to significantly refine your marketing efforts by giving you more information about the actual pain points of your customers and the audience that you should be specifically targeting.
Customer mapping and leveraging invaluable customer data can even provide organizations with a means to provide proactive service. Typically, companies provide reactive customer service—agents solve customer issues as they arise. However, proactive companies greatly improve the customer experience by creating excellent processes and foreseeing potential customer needs. For example, HP Instant Ink allows their customers to select an ink subscription where new cartridges will be sent on a pre-determined basis. This proactively resolves the problem of running out of ink, which is a main pain point with customers worldwide.
Knowing Where B2B Differs in the Customer Experience
While there are several similarities in the way you approach the concept of customer experience management for B2B and B2C, there is one significant difference that needs to be taken into account to get the best results. In a B2C environment, you have just one party to impress, which is the end-user.
In a B2B however, there can be multiple stakeholders involved, in which case, a more meticulous approach may be required to balance the interests of upper management, various departments such as legal, finance, marketing, and their own customer mapping systems.
While it is tempting to integrate all manner of systems, technology and processes into your B2B process to improve the customer experience and proportionately increase your profits, this should not by any means take away from the basics:
It’s also important to understand that no two customers are the same. Yes, customer journey mapping is important, but a customized experience versus a cookie cutter approach tends to resonate more with customers. It might seem like a costly and time-consuming endeavor, but there is no doubt that investing in a personalized customer experience can create life-long customers.
Christa Heibel is the Founder/Owner of CH Consulting Group where she leads a nationwide network of Customer Experience Consultants that specialize in the Omni-Channel Contact Center. Christa brings 25+ years of contact center experience to the table where she has successfully developed, implemented and managed numerous contact center operations across the U.S.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
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