People are now used to instant access and seamless customer service. It started in the B2C sector but is now becoming more critical – and expected – for B2B customers as well. B2B businesses have lagged in this area, but they will need to up their game if they hope to compete effectively moving forward.
B2C companies typically score in the 65-85% range when measured for positive customer experiences. B2B companies average less than 50% positive reviews on customer experience, according to a study by McKinsey. This represents a significant opportunity for B2B companies to provide a higher level of support and positively impact the bottom line.
Here are five ways you can improve your bottom line by improving your customer experience (CX).
1. Improved customer satisfaction
According to the McKinsey study, B2B companies that have dramatically improved their customer experience have higher average margins than their competitors. Client satisfaction scores have risen 10-20% while revenue growth exceeded 10%. The B2B companies that excel at CX report a doubling of their investment.
With B2B marketing, it is important to remember that you are not just selling a product or service, but the long-term satisfaction that comes with gains associated with money or time saved to the customer and their client base. That satisfaction will keep your customers interested in what you have to offer for a long time to come.
2. Improved client retention
It's always cheaper to keep a client than to find a new one. It can be challenging to earn a client's trust, especially in a B2B transaction. Once you've got it, you need to nurture it by delivering value on all future interactions. Improvement in customer experience and support can lower churn by as much as 15%.
B2B industries rely especially on client retention. To retain these critical relationships, there should be cultivation. The easiest way to do this is to involve technology in the process. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you keep track of customers, your communications with them, where they are in the sales funnel or repurchase cycle, and much more. This vital data can assist you in nurturing customer relationships while boosting retention and sales numbers.
3. Improved consistency
Poor or inconsistent customer service and support can cost you even your most loyal customers. Almost a third of customers say they will stop doing business with a brand they love after as little as one bad customer experience.
B2B customers expect – and demand – a consistently high level of support. A partner that consistently follows through builds trust across the customer base and within the organization. Individuals who bring on reliable partners often gain a reputation internally for supporting the business and being responsible. Developing a structured approach can help with delivering a consistently positive experience for customers.
4. Improved revenue opportunities
There's real ROI in enhanced customer experience. In addition to improving customer satisfaction, loyal customers buy more – as well as more often. In fact, 70% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that provide great customer support.
Generating revenue from viable leads requires a deep knowledge of your target audience and their needs. From this information, you will be able to understand how to reach them and what kind of messaging will appeal to them at the moment. You will also need to access information from your current customer base so that you can develop personas based on what high-value clients are looking for in a product at the moment. If you set tangible goals, measure the results of each sales campaign and analyze how you can improve each time, you will always see improved results.
5. A competitive advantage
In a hypercompetitive environment, you need to provide an extraordinary experience. A Forrester study report reveals that only 9% of companies feel they have created a superior customer experience to their competitors. This represents a huge competitive opportunity.
Adopting a customer-centric strategy
So much of a company's efforts tend to focus on gaining potential customers leading up to the sale. However, you also need to put resources into customer support after the sale. Done right, your customer experience efforts can serve both purposes.
To improve your B2B customer experience, you need to put the customer at the center of your strategy. This means a structured, efficient system for your customer support team. It means putting the information your team needs to track CX at their fingertips and delivering a quality experience to your customers quickly and efficiently.
By targeting and also selling to businesses that will be willing to work with your B2B business for many years to come, you may reduce your own costs and drive up revenue. Once you obtain a new client, you need to make great strides to ensure they are satisfied and keep doing business with your company. This requires developing and nurturing a deep professional relationship through marketing, trust, and regular contact via talented sales representatives.
Customer identity management
When clients call with a question or problem, you need to be able to quickly identify them and track their past contacts. You should have a database that shows which products they currently have. There should be an easy way for customer reps to quickly assess concerns and resolve problems.
Your support team needs a robust database of resources to allow them to serve customer needs. You may also wish to have a customer-facing solution to allow 24/7 self-service. Within the system, you will want to link feature requests and bugs to your ticketing.
Your CX team will need immediate access to all prior interactions to quickly build and track tickets. Your customer support system should also allow for custom conditional fields and automated ticket routing.
Customers communicate in various ways these days, including phone, text, chat and social media – sometimes all in the same conversation. You need a seamless way to serve your customers on every channel without making them repeat information.
Make sure that the full internal team is also communicating with one another. It's an all-too-common lament: Siloed sales and marketing teams cause miscommunications opportunities. This issue can be resolved easily through increased communication. By encouraging regular dialogue between the teams, you can unite your company departments' goals and strengths. Stronger internal relationships translate to stronger strategies – and a growing bottom line.
CRMs, helpdesk software and other business tools need to be integrated smoothly. APIs can connect with internal systems to avoid duplication of effort and more comprehensive workflows.
You also need a way to track interactions and assess effectiveness. Reports and analytics can provide business intelligence and customer insights and track customer support effectiveness.
Improving your customer experience
How important is customer experience for B2B? A study by Accenture reveals 90% of B2B executives believe improving customer experience is critical to achieving strategic priorities. In fact, nearly three-quarters of businesses say that improving customer experience is their top priority.
To improve your customer experience, you will need a robust technology infrastructure with a flexible architecture. This infrastructure should provide a systematic and organized approach for customer support teams, a historical perspective on clients, and a structured approach to solving problems and concerns. Only then can you improve your overall customer experience and deliver increased customer value to improve your bottom line in the long run.