By David Gutierrez.
Providing excellent customer service is essential for all businesses, but B2B customer service is very different from B2C. In general, B2B customers make up a smaller customer base and tend to need more attention, since their issues are typically more complex and their account value is much larger compared to B2C customers.
Additionally, B2B customers tend to be a part of your customer base for much longer, so it’s important that your business can provide the right solutions to their needs for an extended period, and even grow the relationship through new products and services over time.
Here are four specific ways B2B firms can optimize their approach to customer service.
Address Multiple Stakeholders
Unlike a B2C business-customer relationship where you’re typically dealing with individuals, providing customer services to B2B customers means that you’ll need to be ready to deal with multiple people within the business. What’s more, these contacts may change over time as positions change within the business, with the impact magnified the longer the customer relationship lasts.
This requires you to be able to maintain focus and uphold a high standard of service while working across several departments and with multiple people.
Provide Multi-Channel Solutions
One of the key differences between B2B and B2C customers is that businesses tend to have more complex and multi-faceted needs. Customer service for complex B2B products and systems is much more than issuing refunds, dealing with complaints, and wishing people a nice day. B2B customer support software makes it easier for your company to keep track of all customer data, while ensuring that nothing is lost when assisting multiple teams or departments.
Additionally, you’ll need to provide a place for your business customers to go with issues, questions or requests – omnichannel communications provides a multichannel contact center which includes an extensive network of partners, allowing your customers to quickly find the answers and support that they need.
Involve Senior Leaders
It’s not always necessary to have a senior leader on hand to help with consumer customer service issues, but in a B2B setting, doing so can have a very positive impact in many situations. This is especially true for the service-recovery strategy; involving senior level management will help to assure your customers of how important they are to your business.
Having a senior staff member backing up customer service reps and account managers also helps build trust between the customers and the representatives who offer service to them on a daily basis. To best serve your B2B customers, provide senior leaders with all the information that they need to know to address and build strong relationships with them.
By focusing on B2B customers as unique customers with often complex needs, you can work to provide an even better level of service and boost your reputation.
Know Who You Are Dealing With
Consumer customer service is primarily transactional. You may gather some information about them over time and refer to it when receiving a query, but usually you don’t have a personal relationship with them. In B2B, clients are fewer but larger, which means that:
- Each individual client is more valuable;
- You can afford (and need) to gather much more information about each of them.
This means that when an issue arises, you can (and should) have as much information about the client as possible. Preferably, you should have specific employees who have more detailed knowledge about this or that client to be able to react faster and more consistently.
It may be a good idea to invest in B2B-level customer service software, e.g., a customer database (most B2C-oriented support software tools don’t have such functionality because they don’t need it). This way your support members will be able to see the bigger picture, beyond one customer and one ticket at a time.
Though B2C and B2B customer support systems share common goals, they involve very different methods.
David Gutierrez started his career as a web designer in 2005. In 2012 he founded a creative design agency. Now it serves clients all over the world across multiple industries with a specific focus on FMCG and Fin-Tech.