It’s no secret that delivering a great customer experience is crucial for B2C companies. Columnist Loretta Jones explains why B2B brands need to hop on board and learn how to put the consumer first.
Throughout history, the customer has been on the receiving end of a sales pitch. While businesses today aren’t necessarily hawking their wares on the streets, their marketing messages still make a lot of noise.
In this, it seems consumers have evolved more quickly than the businesses they buy from. People are talking more to each other and paying less attention to the marketing materials brands are throwing their way.
They’re reading reviews and news articles, trying to glean as much information as possible so they can make the most educated purchasing decision. And with the help of the internet, getting all that information is as simple as a few keystrokes.
This consumer research trend has been the norm for a while in the B2C space, but prospective buyers are doing the same online investigation when they’re purchasing for the companies for which they work. It’s been a slower shift for B2B marketers, but it’s happening all the same. Where once, B2B brands controlled their messages, now online reviews define a business.
Crowd-sourced review sites like G2Crowd, Software Advice, Capterra and various B2B app marketplaces have changed the way B2B customers research products. Prospects can now comparison shop for business services, much as they do for their consumer goods.
As a result, B2B companies must step up their customer experience game to maintain customer satisfaction and ensure their ratings reflect a positive reputation.
The following are some ways to keep the customer experience front and center with your B2B brand.
Empower Your Customer Care Team
According to a recent survey conducted by Avanade, business customers are willing to pay as much as 30 percent more for a product or service that offers an improved customer experience. To ensure your company is able to build solid customer relationships, you need to create a customer care team that can educate, train and resolve user issues.
Even better than just solving customer problems, your team can gather and track product feedback, which can then be turned over to the product and engineering teams. For example, exit surveys, focus groups, Net Promoter Scores and other data can show spikes or drops when a new feature is introduced.
This can help to determine what features are most popular, the types of training that are most useful, and when customers require more support to prevent problems and dissatisfaction.
The Customer Experience Doesn’t End After The Sale
B2B companies often forget how important the post-sale experience is and how it can dictate future sales. The customer care team should be following up with customers periodically after a deal has been signed.
For example, by identifying key user milestones, such as specific features a customer should be using by day 30, you can determine the materials he or she needs to reach that goal. Not only does this give customer care reps the chance to interact and build relationships, but it also ensures that each customer is on the path to success and satisfaction.
Once customers have been wowed by your customer service, let them tell the world. Sixty-one percent of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision, according to Econsultancy, and customer reviews are an effective way to increase retention rates for B2B companies.
Delivering a great customer experience is an important part of the overall sale process, and in this era of transparency, an excellent customer experience is more than a nicety — it’s a competitive advantage.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)