When you think about customer success stories, the first ones that come to mind are likely to be from B2C companies. Though the subject is often talked about in connection with B2C, it is far from exclusive to this type of business.
In this article, we’ll be looking at why it is just as important for B2B companies to invest time and resources into developing an effective customer experience strategy.
A B2B customer is first and foremost a customer
There are, of course, several key differences between B2B and B2C customers. A B2C customer is an end consumer, whereas a B2B customer is a business. B2B companies will always have fewer customers (sometimes even significantly fewer) than B2C companies.
However, A B2B customer is first and foremost a customer, who is looking for a high-quality, efficient and personalized customer experience. The purchasing behaviour of B2B clients is becoming increasingly similar to that of B2C customers, for one simple reason: a B2B customer is also a B2C customer outside of work.
As they are likely to choose B2C brands that offer a quality customer experience, these customers hold the B2B companies that they work with to the same standards. This means that in order to meet these customers’ expectations, B2B companies also need to make the customer experience a key area of focus.
Customer experience: B2B lags behind
However, B2B companies tend to lag behind in this area. The customer experience is viewed as mainly — almost exclusively — a subject for B2C companies.
A 2015 study by Accenture Strategy, which surveyed over 1300 sales and marketing managers in B2B companies, concluded that only 23% of these companies have implemented strategies to optimise the customer experience. Nonetheless, three-quarters of survey participants agreed that the customer experience will become a strategic issue over the next few years. The same study showed the extremely positive impact of a high-quality customer experience on the sales performance of B2B companies.
Top-ranking companies in terms of customer experience achieve, on average, a 13% annual increase in turnover. Companies that have not implemented strategies to improve the customer experience reported only 1% average annual growth. This clearly illustrates why it is important for B2B companies to focus on optimising the customer experience!
Here are a few other key findings from the survey:
- Two third of B2B companies stateed that they ndo not collect data on the effectiveness of their customer journey
- 58% of B2B companies said that they are not satisfied with th tools they use to interact with their customers
Drawing inspiration from B2C to optimise customer knowledge
Because many developments in this field come from B2C, a B2B company looking to improve the customer experience should therefore look to B2C companies for inspiration and best practices, especially when it comes to customer knowledge!
Customer knowledge should be approached as a large-scale project that involves the entire company. It requires all collaborators within a company, from employees to management, to adopt a customer-centric approach.
Here are a few tips to improve your customer experience, inspired by B2C strategies:
1. Use modern tools and platforms to communicate with your B2B customers
For some companies, a key way to improve the customer experience is to modernize their website (both in terms of features and user-friendliness). Many B2B companies use outdated tools, so updating these should be a priority, especially tools that are used to communicate with customers (marketing automation, CRM tools, Enterprise Feedback Management platforms).
Investing in up-to-date digital tools is essential for B2B companies who are looking to improve their customer experience.
2. Offer high-quality customer services
Customer service should continue even after the sale is complete. Maintaining a strong customer relationship over time is the best way to retain customers and increase their customer lifetime value.
To go further, Discover how the 7 keys to discover the best customer service.
3. Use customer knowledge tools to better understand your B2B customers’ needs and expectations
MyFeelBack's solution enables companies to collect customer feedback via well-targeted surveys, sent out via any of the communication channels that they use (website, text message, phone, social media, mobile app, email, etc.) Having access to customer knowledge is the most reliable way to provide an experience that meets your customers’ expectations, as well as identify any areas for improvement as quickly as possible.
4. Take an omnichannel approach
Offer your customers new ways to interact with your business by linking your various different communication channels. B2B companies should provide a consistent, high-quality customer experience across all channels.
Myfeelback enables you to share your customer surveys on all of your different channels, as well as determine which of these will be most effective in reaching your customers. Our intuitive solution is able to determine the best channel to use in order to collect the data that you need. Gathering any missing customer data will make it easier to improve the customer experience that your company offers.
5. Improve the customer journey
This includes mapping the customer journey as well as collecting data at every step, in order to streamline the entire journey and identify any areas of improvement.
The customer experience has become a key strategic issue for B2B companies. Most of the companies concerned — regardless of the current level of development of their customer experience strategies — agree with this. It is essential for B2B companies to implement initiatives to increase their customer knowledge in order to improve the customer experience, and the strategies mentioned above are a great place to start!