Great customer service is important whether you’re running a B2C or a B2B company. However, just like there is a difference between industrial marketing and consumer marketing, how you deliver customer service significantly varies when you are talking about B2B customer service vs. B2C customer service.
B2C companies offer products and services directly to consumers, such as individuals and households. B2C customers’ buying decisions are heavily influenced by product or service features, pricing, or discounts.
On the other hand, B2B companies provide products or services at an account level, such as to teams, functions, or organizations. Unlike B2C buyers, B2B buyers look forward to long-term relationships and quality services.
Whether you’re new to the B2B industry or you’re looking to grow your business, here are some important strategies to improve your B2B customer service.
Technology is your best friend when it comes to delivering top-quality customer service in B2B industries.
To find the right technology, conduct research to understand what the best options are in your field. Some of the proven solutions for B2B customer service are:
- Cloud-based customer support. By deploying a cloud-based support channel accessible across multiple devices, it’s easier to connect with your customers and address their concerns.
- Comprehensive B2B-specific software. B2B customer support technology provides features that are unique to this industry. Through targeted solutions, your customer service team will have a streamlined structure for resolving issues.
- Advanced ticketing systems. Consider a system that lets your customer service team create custom tickets and automated tickets. This leads to a better workflow and faster resolution times.
2. Differentiate with Exceptional B2B Customer Service
Positive customer experience is a crucial competitive advantage for modern businesses. The thing is, if your customers are happy, they will continue to do business with you.
While a client could be highly satisfied with your products or services, it doesn’t mean they will be loyal. They can be lured by a competitor through a more attractive customer value proposition.
So, make sure to focus on providing a quality customer experience while also maintaining quality products or services.
What actions should you take to create a great customer experience?
- Commit to making your customers feel valued – By treating your B2B customers as “partners”, you are engaging their cooperation towards a shared purpose.
- Create a dedicated customer service team – They should be knowledgeable and highly trained to deal with your clients (see below)
- Understand your customers’ needs – Use data to get clearer insights into what your customers really need and want.
- Practice seamlessness – Whether you’re processing orders, delivering supplies, or addressing problems, aim to make everything easy and simple for your B2B customers. Seamlessness is central to a positive customer experience.
- Be responsive – As consumers live in the digital era, people have become accustomed to receiving answers in a matter of seconds. Timely response, delivery, and resolution all equate to a better customer experience (see below).
Your customer service team has a core function in ensuring that your B2B customers are happy. Since most B2B companies provide complex and high-value solutions, poor customer support can have significant implications for customers.
First off, make sure you have the right people for the job. Invest in customer-centric people who have the skills and attitude for delivering a positive customer experience.
Training programs should focus on information-based skills, including product and service knowledge, industry insights, and problem-solving. Training should also include time management skills. This will ensure that your customer service team is efficient and understands the value of your customer’s time.
Remember: Even if you have experienced and tenured agents, regular training is still necessary.
4. Solve Your Customers’ Problems Quickly
Customers want a great experience, and part of that means not losing time, money, and patience. Strive, then, to solve a customer’s problem quickly and easily.
Creating a defined process is the key to this. Additionally, here are some tips to listen to address customer service situations:
- Listen to them and show genuine empathy – Active listening is the first step to customer issue resolution.
- Assess the situation – Once the customer finishes explaining the issue, the agent should repeat the main points and ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Offer a solution and give options – Agents should provide the most appealing solution to customers, and provide alternatives if possible.
- Follow up with the customer – This is a very crucial step. Once a solution has been implemented, agents should proactively contact customers to see how they feel about the resolution and ensure that the problem has been definitely resolved.
- Be open and accountable – Ensure that the information about how to file complaints is easily accessible. Create a clear process for customers to file complaints and be transparent about the scope of complaints that your company can consider, including timescales and handling arrangements.
Attend to the Specifics of B2B Customer Service
Customer service is essential regardless of the type of business you’re in. However, it’s important to note that B2C customer service greatly differs from B2B customer service. The latter is more complex in nature.
Thankfully, there are best practices and strategies that B2B companies can adopt to ensure that their customers are happy and satisfied. Hopefully you can use the tips in this article to improve your customer service offerings!