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A better customer experience is a competitive advantage in today’s market scenario.
For many years “customer experience” has been associated partially with B2C experience. Companies that serve in the B2C market have changed their game plan to keep up with their customer’s demands and positively deliver the expected customer experience.
The same, however, cannot be said about B2B customer experience.
The gap in B2B customer experience is still too broad. To deliver onto B2B customer experience, firms cannot develop strategies inspired by B2C experience. These firms serving in the B2B market need to take extra steps to ensure that the B2B customers are happy with the value the services & products bring into their business.
So, how can B2B companies turn customer experience into their biggest differentiator, which lures more B2B buyers to do business with them? Before we explore some ‘practices,’ let’s clarify the basics of B2B customer experience.
Download our guide to read the insights to supercharge your customer experience programs.
B2B, which is short for “Business-to-Business,” means that the products and services your company offers are designed for the use of other companies/organizations instead of a single customer. So, a B2B customer experience defines how your company engages with other businesses throughout their buying journey.
In the B2B customer experience, the customer journey involves not one customer but many stakeholders, making the buying journey more complex. This makes B2B customer experience more critical because it is difficult to ensure a consistently great experience for all the decision-makers.
While B2C and B2B customer experience strategies follow the same pattern delivering seamless experience from discovery and consideration to decision and post-purchase service, the two incidents are fundamentally different. There are nuances to be considered on how you serve customers and business.
Customer experience takes into account every little interaction a customer has with the brand from the point the customer becomes aware of the brand/its products until after the purchase is made.
In the B2C landscape, companies cater to one segment with similar customers and similar needs. While in B2B, landscape companies cater to one company with different customers and different needs.
In a B2B customer journey, multiple stakeholders with different needs participate in different parts of the journey. The purchase decision is not made by one person but requires approval by multiple stakeholders before the final decision.
Understanding the perspective of all these stakeholders and more in-between, a B2B company needs to develop customer experience strategies that can help them glide smoothly through the complex journey.
Consequently, the involvement of multiple stakeholders and executives makes the B2B customer journey longer. It encompasses the continuous interaction of services and sales touchpoints. Moreover, it is technical and complex due to the participation of multiple teams from multiple departments.
B2C customers primarily purchase for themselves or, in some cases, family. This means the purchase decision does not need to go through rounds of approval before the final decision.
To cater to the B2C market, companies often exercise customer segmentation to target multiple similar customers with a delightful experience. This makes the B2C customer journey shorter than B2B because the marketing is more targeted to a segment rather than individuals. Consequently, the customer journey leads to quicker conversion.
Now that we have established that B2B and B2C cannot have a one-size-fits-all CX approach let’s see how you can build long-term relationships in the B2B market and deliver a valuable customer experience.
B2B customers make a purchase decision with the hopes of helping the entire organization and not for personal needs. They are responsible for spending the company’s funds wisely on a product that will enhance efficiency performance and boost revenue. For B2B buyers, there is constant anxiety and fear of making the right decision for the company.
Keeping this in mind is important to create a customer experience that makes their purchase journey easier. The aim is to deliver a customer experience that satisfies and delights all the individuals involved.
To ease their anxiety B2B companies can begin by understanding the needs and requirements of the buyers. Understanding the customers is the foundation of delivering a better customer experience.
Additionally, make the process transparent to help the B2B customer know that they can trust you to deliver a real value.
In the current post-pandemic environment, empathy has become an important factor in communication.
With the way the world is rapidly becoming digital, emotional intelligence is a critical skill and a valuable part of the B2B customer experience.
While B2B decision making is driven by business needs, ROI, and logic, behind the decision, there are real people who expect value and trust from you.
Take the time to understand how your experiences make your customer feel. Learn about their pain points, what they are trying to achieve, their individual goals, and make an effort to apply these insights into delivering a great customer experience boosting the perception that you care about the respective teams and the B2B buyer.
To empathize with your B2B customers is to acknowledge their needs and connect with them in every aspect of the business. Emotional connections are an effective part of marketing. It creates trust and loyalty, which helps in building lifetime relationships.
Unlike B2C customers, you can’t segment B2B customers. You can’t create a one-size-fits-all customer experience strategy for B2B customers. With the increasing competition on delivering better customer experience, targeted and personalized experience adds an extra charm.
With modern B2B buyers adding relevance to buyer experience is the key to converting leads into sales. Use the insights to personalize the B2B customer experience.
Add relevancy in every step of the buying journey, from communication to offering a suitable recommendation. Instead of offering them multiple, irrelevant services, B2B buyers will appreciate more if you offer services/ products that would provide the most value to them.
Creating a relevant and personalized experience tells customers that they are valued and appreciated. Use your information on B2B buyers to provide the offerings that matter to them.
Adopting self-service helps improve customer experience. While customers do want better services, they also want to have control of resolving issues by themselves. A well-designed self-service can help customers have that control and freedom to get what information they want, whenever they want.
A knowledge base, guides, videos, or articles can be some of the options that can enable customers to manage their decision-making process themselves. Engage them with contextual emails or direct them to the knowledge base to empower B2B customers with the right information they need. Update the buyers with rich content and information online to support them in making the right decision.
Customers, be it B2B or B2C, use the internet to find all the information they need before beginning their buying journey. Customers compare the experience provided by multiple companies before deciding which one to choose.
It is vital for the B2B companies to deliver on customer expectations and keep pace with the buyers’ needs. Leveraging tools like AI, automation, and ML can help create a frictionless B2B customer experience and use it as a competitive advantage. Adopting such tools can help you generate intelligent insights that will further help in evolving with the buyers.
To satisfy customer expectations and deliver on their needs, you need updated customer data. Use AI-driven solutions to gain valuable insights on customer behavior and experience. Build a predictive model to anticipate when a customer will need help or follow-up in the future. Use ML models to generate targeted offers or product recommendations.
Make use of such technology to keep a pulse of customer experience so that you can always stay on top of the B2B market.
The B2B market is different from the B2C market. An ideal customer experience depends on the specific needs of many individuals from a company, the business need, and the competitive company in the same industry as yours.
Gathering customer feedback can help you know first-hand how the B2B customers feel about their experience, your products/services, and your company. Leveraging the real voice of customers can help you see the experience from their perspective. Moreover, customer feedback can help you understand the root cause of lead drop-offs or attrition and how you can overcome these hurdles.
NPS and CSAT surveys can tell you how satisfied the customers are with your company and the issues they face. While CES can tell how much effort the customer had to put into the process with the provider.
Customer feedback, be it on poor or excellent performance, indicates how much more you can improve to deliver an exceptional B2B customer experience.
Contact and offer customer service to your customers instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.
A buyer’s journey is captured within a centralized system thanks to a customer’s digital engagement. Every digital footprint left by the customer is saved and updated in real-time in the CRM. This allows the B2B companies to understand when’s the right time to contact and offer support to the buyer.
Use customer data and map the customer journey to anticipate when customers need your help. Reach out to solve their issue proactively before the customer becomes aware of it. Identify the roadblocks ahead and resolve them efficiently to ensure a seamless customer experience for your B2B buyers.
Customer responsiveness is not only a driving factor in B2C CX but also in B2B customer experience. B2B buyers are also customers who expect speedy and effective resolution of their issues.
In a B2B customer journey, there are many back-and-forths before the buyers reach a final decision. It is important for the customer service team to cut down on too much discussion and ease the process.
In a B2B market, every stakeholder’s opinion matters for the strategic decision. Each customer issue that gets delayed or unresolved results in the buyer’s loss of trust. However, an immediate response, if not effective, an immediate response is a waste of time for both parties.
Focus on delivering the right answer that offers a solution instead of offering fast & ineffective
Voxco is trusted by 450+ global clients in over 40 countries. When it comes to listening to the customer’s voice, Voxco is the leading platform. Voxco is the ultimate platform to get closer to your B2B customers and understand their expectations with its sophisticated and scalable offerings.
Voxco’s offerings Voxco Research and Voxco Intelligence come with dynamic research capabilities, predictive intelligence, AI-infused data analytics solution, and powerful dashboard and closed-loop reporting capabilities.
Voxco Research empowers you to hear the needs, expectations, and pain points directly from your customers. Voxco Intelligence enables you to make sense of all customer feedback, comments, and complaints.
Remove the guesswork from your decision-making process and listen to what your customers have to say without any filter.
B2C or B2B market, the brand that puts customer experience at the heart of its business, is the one that wins.
While excelling in B2B customer experience is more complex and critical, the competitive advantage and the enhanced efficiency make it worth the effort.
Take a leaf out of the B2C companies CX strategy to innovate how you engage with your B2B customers. Understand the business needs, the needs of individual stakeholders & executives, and the goal of every department. Create a memorable experience for everyone involved in the decision-making to build trust and loyalty.
We have developed a guide which gives you an all around view of customer loyalty