Customer Experience practices B2B should steal from B2C
Most best practices for customer experience research methodology comes from contexts where organizations are attempting to measure individuals (consumers, citizens, employees, etc). With huge numbers of potential respondents and a wealth of studies into the best measurement approaches, there are many benchmarks and best practices from which to derive high-quality data collection methodologies in B2C research. However, compared with research on individuals, there is very little empirical research that can inform best practice for organizational or business-to-business (B2B) research methodology. Nevertheless, in some cases, there may be best practices that are transferable from individual-level research to research on organizations.
In this article, we’ll list five customer experience best practices that B2B should steal from B2C.
Closing the Feedback Loop
Closing the feedback loop means acting on feedback collected from customers. It can be action on feedback from an individual customer and looping back to that customer to ensure that they are happy with the resolution (inner loop). In B2C this means following up with many customers and to reduce attrition. In B2B, this is arguably even more important because the number of customers is generally smaller, contract values are larger, and the cost of delivering experiences that fall short of expectations can be higher. Account managers should constantly be closing the loop and keeping a pulse on their customer’s experiences with your product/service.
In B2B, taking a structural view of CX is particularly important because each customer experience has the potential to involve multiple individuals within both the customer organization and your organization. This means that positive and negative experiences even around a single transaction can strongly impact the overall relationship since multiple individuals are touched.
Establishing a Digital Sales Channel
It’s no secret that online shopping has skyrocketed over the past 10 years. In fact, 96% of Americans now shop online, spending an average of five hours per week shopping. For B2C brands, this has meant a huge shift in providing a seamless digital sales experience for their customers. However, B2B has traditionally kept the 1-to-1 sales model but this may be hurting them as even B2B customer now want to shop online. A recent survey by Sapio Research found that B2B customers want to buy online because online purchases are easy, buyers have the ability to browse the online catalog, and Insight into available inventory and delivery times. The goal is to provide an experience that’s more like the traditional eCommerce experience.
LEARN MORE: Digital Customer Experience Software
Incentives should be used in both B2B and B2C contexts, but the difference is that monetary incentives generally drive higher participation rates in B2C, and in the B2B space, incentives should generally not be monetary. Rather the incentive should be left as intrinsic or qualitative such as a report of the results of the research. A more effective approach to using monetary incentives is to provide them internally to individuals or teams that produce the highest response rates for the survey. Critically, executives, employees, and customers should never be incentivized based on scores or metrics produced by the data as this very commonly leads to fraud or other practices that degrade the quality of the data. However, incentives can be used to drive increased participation in the research and to reward responsiveness to customer issues. For example, data integrity would not generally by compromised by incentivizing employees based on how frequently and successfully they close the loop with customers – driving B2B customer centricity rather than metric fixation.
Limited Survey Frequency
When considering survey frequency, remember that the survey experience is also a customer experience and surveying too frequently can lead to B2B customers feeling as if you do not respect the relationship and are spamming them. Consequently, B2B customer experience survey frequency should generally below, particularly for comprehensive customer satisfaction (CSAT) or other relational surveys, with a maximum of one to two of these surveys per customer per year. It is important that these surveys be conducted on a rolling basis to enable continuous feedback to be flowing into your company as changes are made in response to prior feedback.
Provide Multiple Support Channels
Many B2C companies have implemented multiple support channels, such as help sections, chat, email, forums, 24-7 phone support, and customer success reps. B2B companies do an excellent job of providing customer success or account managers, but they could benefit from providing additional digital support channels. Many consumers like to start the customer service process online, and implementing a chat or email help system is beneficial. Additionally, by creating forums or help sections on your website, you’re allowing the customer to take the initiative to solve the issue himself without needing a support person.
As the B2B customer experience evolves, your business should too. To learn more about how you can create a great customer experience for your B2B organization, Best Practices Guide for B2B Customer Experience Management
Best Practices for B2B CX Management