Why customer experience matters for B2B
We frequently dazzle you with words of wisdom around the importance of B2C customer experience, and often leave you in awe after dropping advice on how to improve your CX strategy, but the customer experience is no less important when you’re dealing with other businesses.
The B2C market often dominates CX discussions, but today’s businesses are demanding an experience to match the elevated levels afforded to consumers. Expectations are evolving, and you’d be wise to meet them. so, let’s dive straight in, shall we?
What is B2B customer experience?
B2B, as you undoubtedly know, refers to dealings or transactions between businesses – rather than from business to consumer. This could be a manufacturing business selling parts to another company, a catering business supplying food to a works canteen, or a cleaning business servicing professional offices.
The trouble is, businesses can sometimes overlook the importance of providing a great customer experience for other businesses – instead, choosing to focus their efforts on consumers. While consumers are critical to your overall success, so too are the other companies you have dealings with. If another business is your customer, then the customer experience is just as important to them as it would be to a regular old consumer.
It’s also worth remembering that B2B buyers are consumers too. If someone deals with your brand as a consumer, then receives a vastly different service as a business, it’s going to feel jarring. Essentially, everyone is human, and deserves a truly human experience.
Why is customer experience important for B2B?
Customer experience is important for B2B because every interaction you have – be it consumer or business – feeds into your brand perception and reputation in the marketplace. A customer is a customer; it really doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C. Your job as a business is to provide the best customer experience you can possibly deliver.
Competition is incredibly high across every industry you care to think of. If you offer up a subpar buying experience, your B2B customers are unlikely to renew their contracts with you (if they have one) or keep coming back for more bad service.
Switching suppliers is much easier these days than it used to be in fact, your competitors make sure it’s easy! So don’t be fooled into thinking that consumers are the only group who need nurturing, engaging, surprising, or delighting.
Without a well-planned focus on your B2B customer experience, you’re likely to find yourself suffering from poor customer retention levels, shelling out extra money on marketing in your search for new customers, and lamenting the state of your end-of-year profits when attrition takes its toll.
You want to be an absolute delight to do business with; that way, you’ll never have to worry about the competition (or the company accounts) again.
How B2C customer experience influences B2B
While you might think that B2B expectations are lower than those of a B2C audience, research suggests that 80% of B2B customers actually expect to receive a buying experience that’s on a par with that offered to their B2C counterparts – placing a great deal of pressure on businesses to up their game. And up their game they must, as B2B customer experiences often fall far short of the expectations set by B2C interactions.
If someone has a great experience with you as a consumer, they’re going to expect the same treatment when they come to you as a business – but most companies plough a good deal more of their resources into perfecting and evolving their B2C experiences.
In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake. Huge!”
Businesses admit to feeling that B2B transactions are both complicated and time-consuming, so equal thought should be given to revolutionizing the B2B customer experience. These businesses want effortless interactions, advanced interfaces, personalized services, and recommendations based on their purchase history. It’s what they’ve come to expect through all their B2C dealings, and their B2B journey should be no different – particularly if you want your own business to stand out from the crowd.
How a good customer experience can impact your B2B business
Today’s customers want to feel valued; appreciated; sought-after. They want to be treated like their custom means something to your business; that you’d miss them if they were gone; that you’d do just about anything to keep them happy and content. If they get all those things with you, it’s going to be exceptionally difficult for your competitors to lure them away – no matter how many discounts or special offers they wave in their happy little faces.
Providing a seamless service sets you up for success: when you have loyal customers and lower attrition rates, you can set your mind on business growth. But without that backing, making plans feels out of reach.
We all know that a great customer experience ultimately leads to an increase in customer loyalty – and that loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to family and friends, buy from you again and again, and even pay more for your products and services. But did you know that your performance is also directly impacted by improving your B2B experience?
While a focus on B2B CX helps you to stay ahead of the competition and keep hold of your customers, it also contributes to your revenue. In fact, McKinsey found that B2B companies who transformed their CX strategies experienced revenue growth of 10-15%, increased client satisfaction scores, achieved better employee satisfaction levels, and reduced operating costs by 10-20%.
The ROI of B2B CX is clear, but there are a few obstacles that could stand in your way when it comes to improving the customer experience for your B2B audience. Let’s look, shall we?
Obstacles to a great B2B customer experience
As with any other type of customer experience, not knowing exactly what your business customers want can negatively affect the B2B customer experience. Sending out surveys and conducting customer questionnaires can help to remove this obstacle – affording you an insight into what you’re currently doing well, what you need to improve, and what your customers are looking for.
Another blocker to a great B2B experience is failing to invest in the right people for your own business. Your customer services team, sales team, and any other department your business customers may encounter need to be fully engaged, motivated, and focused on delivering a customer-centric service. If your people don’t understand your mission or align with your values, they’re not going to deliver the experience your customers crave.
So what else could stand in your way? Failing to innovate can prevent you from adding value to the customer experience – and if your competition is pulling out all the stops, you could fall behind. With that in mind, you should be on the lookout for new ideas and innovations that allow you to appeal to your customers with greater gusto. Using data analytics can give you insights into where improvements can be made, whilst allowing you to anticipate customer expectations.
Failing to invest in the right software or technology can of course present a real hurdle here, as without the tools to get to the heart of your customer interactions, preferences or pain points, you’re going to struggle to anticipate much at all.
But help is at hand…
How can Forsta help?
Using specialist software to manage your B2B customer experience is a total game-changer, and Forsta’s customer experience survey software is one of the best (the best, if you want our opinion).
We have the tools to put customer experience at the heart of your company culture – whether those customers are B2B, or B2C. And because our software deals in data, we can help you to really understand what your customers want, what’s grinding their gears, and where you can make both quick wins and long-term gains.
With the option to automate the most time-consuming tasks, you’ll be able to effortlessly manage your CX activities, without having to devote endless resources to fathoming out what’s going on, or whether things are improving. The answers will be there waiting for you, all in one place, as a complete story.
So, are you ready to find out what Forsta’s customer experience survey software is all about? Request a free demo, and let’s get going!
Making your CX count
Love is love, and customers are customers, which means you should love all your customers equally and give them the same fantastic treatment – whether they’re consumers or buying from you as a business.
We’ve got tonnes of great resources on improving your CX strategies, from an ultimate guide to tactical tips on churn rate, so if you need any more intel on the importance of customer experience, why not take a look?
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