Customer Experience: The New Competitive Element in B2B
Brought to you by WBR Insights
We can often think of customer experience as being the sole domain of consumer-facing businesses. However, that assumption would be a mistake, as B2B businesses also have a lot to gain from turning their focus towards delivering exceptional experiences to every customer.
Perspectives are changing from within B2B industries. Two years ago, 86 percent of B2B executives went on the record to state that customer experience was an important factor in achieving their strategic priorities. However, this year, that proportion rose four percent to 90, indicating a progression in B2B attitudes towards customer experience.
In fact, 80 percent of B2B buyers expect the exact same buying experience in their professional lives as they receive when participating in B2C exchanges. Nonetheless, B2B sellers have a relatively low CX maturity, with only three percent found to value CX as a core element of their culture.
With customer experience leaders in the B2B space growing twelve percent faster than their less-focused competitors - and brands that improve customer experience seeing up to a 15 percent boost in revenue and a 20 percent reduction in costs - B2B brands have much to gain from turning their attention to it.
B2B Customer Experience
One of the best ways B2B brands can improve the customer experience is through personalized support.
A significantly high proportion of B2B customers are lost because they feel that their service provider is indifferent to their struggles. Your customer support is a mirror that reflects how much your organization values its clients, and it's here that the battle lines of customer experience are drawn.
Live chat is a simple way your B2B business can immediately provide a better customer experience in your support department. B2B customers are busy people and they simply do not have the time to sit on hold, waiting to be put through to tech support. With live chat they can have the dialogue window open alongside any number of other screens, allowing them to get on with other important tasks while simultaneously talking to you. Because live chat customer service representatives can handle multiple contacts at once, it also reduces waiting times.
Live chat can also be used during the sales journey. In fact, research shows that customers are three times more likely to convert when they can contact sales teams via live chat. Because of this, live chat provides an average ROI of over 300 percent.
Repeat business is the core goal of any profit-driven company. It costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one - so, how can B2B businesses make sure they keep hold of the customers they have?
Well, taking another leaf from the B2C playbook, one of the best methods is through aptly-named loyalty schemes. However, with the very nature of B2B relationships being rather different to B2C ones, you're going to need to think outside of the box a little, rather than ordering a load of stamp collecting cards.
You will need to turn to your data to discover what makes your customers tick. Not all customers are driven by the same reward pathways, so analyze the buying habits of your most lucrative accounts, focus on their behavior, and create valuable loyalty programs and associated rewards.
You could, for example, offer special rebates on your products or services for returning or long-term customers. Many B2B companies offer prospects tiered incentives while they are still in the sales funnel as a way to get them to opt for higher-level products from the beginning of the relationship. Another popular reward scheme often deployed by CX-savvy B2B brands is a referral program where customers get discounts or free upgrades for introducing their friends or colleagues to their company. The referred customer will also often be offered a discount, giving the whole process a nice "quid pro quo" element.
Another great way of driving loyalty is to hold special events whenever you launch a new product or service. Invite your most valued clients to get hands-on with the new offering and offer special rates if they pre-order at the event. Offer other incentives for attendance such as food, drinks, games, etc., and create a real social club feeling around your brand.
These examples are just a few ways of putting customer experience at the heart of your B2B business. With a little ingenuity and innovation, you can make sure your professional clients feel cared for, respected, valued, and important, and you can look forward to holding onto their business for many years to come.