What B2B suppliers can learn from B2C customer experience

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B2B suppliers shaking handsAccording to recent research by Forrester, around two thirds of B2B companies surveyed said the way they interact with customers has radically changed in recent years, and to a large extent as a result of B2C influence.

B2B customer expectations are indeed rapidly evolving as empowered business consumers are carrying their own customer experiences with them into the workplace. They now increasingly expect companies to not only know and cater for their individual needs but also personalize the whole purchase experience from beginning to end.

Companies failing to move with the times and adapt to this changing demand are slowly falling behind. In fact, it recently emerged that business consumers are willing to pay up to 30% more for a product or service that offers an improved customer experience. This represents a huge loss of income for those businesses lagging behind.

As in B2C markets, customer engagement should occur over the lifetime of your relationship with a buyer, not only before sales, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, after a sale has taken place.

Once a sale has gone through, inspire your customers to immediately begin implementing your solution or using your products and give them access to all the tools and information they need to get the most out of them.

Likewise, regularly ask them for feedback. Few dissatisfied business customers will actually take the time to contact you to complain and may even continue doing business with you until they receive a tempting offer by a competitor. Apparent loyalty can be dangerous illusion!

Finally, make sure your customers can contact you easily whenever they need. Some simple steps you can take for improving customer interactions with your B2B customers include:

  • Making your contact information clearly visible on your website.
  • Adding a click to chat functionality to your website for urgent requests.
  • Making downloadable instruction manuals easily available on your website. It will help you save time by letting your customers find their own answers to any questions they may have about your products or services.
  • Devising a list of common questions and answers (via inbound support queries for example) and adding a FAQ page to your website.

The results will be worthwhile. By creating meaningful and consistent interactions with your customers and giving them access to the information they need, you will lead them to choose your brand repeatedly and perhaps even generate referrals. According to Avanade, over 60% of business customers consider positive feedback from fellow businesses and industry peers more important than conversations with salespeople when considering a purchase. So why not go the extra distance today?

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