Deliver Great Customer Experience: Assessing What's Broken And How To Fix It

Jennifer Schulze

When it comes to serving B2B customers, a customer-centric focus is just as critical as it is when dealing with retail customers. However, challenges often arise simply because the B2B customer journey is more fragmented and complex than the B2C journey.

According to a recent study, 86% of B2B decision makers consider customer service to be critical. However, only 23% of B2B companies experience significant returns on their investment in the customer experience. Something is going wrong somewhere, but what? What are the challenges and barriers faced by B2B companies today, and how can they be overcome?

Is there a problem?

How can you tell if you need to address a negative customer experience within your organization? The indicators may seem obvious. Perhaps you have customers frequently disconnecting from your service, making complaints or simply refusing to engage with you in the first place. Perhaps you are using metrics that give you a deeper view of your performance or flag areas that need attention.

One of the key struggles for players in the B2B marketplace is that the B2B customer profile varies greatly from the typical B2C customer. B2B customers often require a higher level of engagement, services tailored to their needs, and to be “touched” more often before they engage with your brand. They also require more nurturing throughout the journey and a high level of aftercare and support to keep them engaged.

Drive continuous value along the customer journey

A holistic approach to the B2B customer experience is essential if you want to give your customers real value. Typically, the experience should be no different from the approach used with B2C customers. Their needs are predominantly the same, but the time and overhead required to get a B2B client where you want them may be significantly higher. To get the best returns from your B2B efforts, you need to invest in the right approach.

  • Keep it consistent: Good customer service needs to be consistent across every department and at every touch point with your clients. Managing customer profiles and accounts via a CRM platform will help you to improve the customer experience by identifying opportunities or problems the moment they arise.
  • Split and track: Complexities with the B2B customer journey often arise because of the individual needs they must accommodate. However, you may also have B2B clients who have standards or similar needs. Splitting the client journey into specialist and standard tracks will help to reduce complexity, lower costs, and improve the customer experience.
  • Measure each touch point: The customer journey is never over while a customer is still engaged in your services. Even if a customer disconnects from you, you should seek to reconnect. For this reason, B2B organizations should invest in post-sale touch points to keep the relationship strong. Social media, email newsletters, and call-center interactions can all help maintain client relationships.
  • Get personal: Customer profiling is just as important in the B2B landscape as it is with B2C customers. Knowing what makes your target audience tick will help you to deliver a more personalized customer experience. This information needs to be collated within your CRM and shared with every department that has a touch point with your clients. Connections like this can really set your organization apart, and could be the magic formula to convert new prospects and retain existing clients.

Client relationships are one of the most important considerations for any company, whether they deal with B2C or B2B customers. In many respects, all customers are the same in that they expect good service and resolutions when something goes wrong. By identifying the ongoing needs of your clients, addressing their pain points, and nurturing the client relationship frequently, you can make huge inroads to improving your B2B client engagement and retention rate.

For more insight on improving client relationships, see Live Businesses Deliver a Personal Customer Experience Without Losing Trust.

About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.