Commentary

What B2Bs Can Learn From B2Cs About Customer Experience

There’s broad consensus that we are operating in the age of the customer. To date, B2C brands have felt the impact of this change the most, and they’ve responded by investing in digital transformation and customer experience (CX) initiatives.

These investments have dramatically changed the way B2C brands appeal to and support their customers. B2B companies, on the other hand, have lagged behind in this evolution.

According to a study from Accenture, 90% of B2B executives cite customer experience as a “very important factor to achieving their organizations’ strategic priorities,” but only 20% “excel at CX and achieve strong financial results.”

To help remedy this lack, consider three key takeaways B2B brands can adopt from the B2C space.

Fast, convenient customer support is paramount. A key source of customer frustration is when they’re forced to wait on hold to speak with a customer service representative or to scour the internet in seeking a solution to a problem that they’re facing.

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To address this problem, B2B companies should consider some of the same solutions as B2C brands: automated phone systems that call customers back, using chatbots and automated tools when possible, and offering multiple channels for customer outreach.

Customer education and training programs are also an effective means of proactively addressing support questions. By tracking common inquiries and understanding where customers are having trouble on a regular basis, companies can create educational content to pre-empt problems.

The human touch still matters.Even as technology and automation have become more prevalent, 71% of Americans would still rather interact with a human than a chatbot or other automated process (PWC). Self-service support certainly has a role, but it’s important that customers can reach a human when needed. Having a dedicated customer success and/or relationship manager can make all the difference in ensuring that a valued business partner is onboarded and supported effectively.

Personalization is a must-have. B2B buyers are looking for solutions to their specific problems. They don’t want to be pigeonholed into a one-size-fits-all solution.

By having a thorough understanding of buyer and user needs across the organization and offering customized solutions that fit their unique use cases, B2B companies will be better positioned to form lasting relationships with customers.

Increasingly, experiences in the B2C world are also influencing buyer expectations in the B2B sector. Buyers now demand the same well-designed user experiences from both sectors, and their loyalty is contingent on that experience meeting their expectations. While many B2B companies are just getting started on this journey, they could certainly stand to benefit by applying the lessons learned in the B2C realm.

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