Regardless of your business model, customer support will be a top priority for adding value to your customers and enriching client relationships. However, business-to-business (B2B) customer support and business-to-consumer (B2C) customer service can vary dramatically.
Dealing with More Complex Issues
One of the first differences between the customer service of B2B and B2C companies is the complexity of the inquiries they’re dealing with. Businesses that are dealing directly with the customer will often provide quick resolutions to straightforward issues, like damaged merchandise or a product return, for example.
For B2B organizations, this isn’t the case. On the whole, B2B customers, especially within the digital world or software space, are more up to date with technologies, and will, therefore, contact their vendors with much more complex issues. These tend to involve testing to resolve and will require back-and-forth communication with the customer to get to the bottom of it.
Familiarity with Clients
The relationships B2B companies develop with their clients are often personal and in depth, which is completely different to how B2C organizations engage with their clientele. A large company that deals directly with customers may never develop a personal relationship with them, while a B2B company will spend a lot of time with their client, which means they tend to understand them on a much deeper level.
For example, when a B2B consumer calls through to customer support, the help desk representative should already have good knowledge of the customer’s history with the company, their business model, their needs and their goals. Customer support software that’s collaborative makes all of this possible, as representatives are able to log background information every time they speak to a customer and resolve their complaint.
More Contacts and Larger Clients
In most cases, a B2C company will be speaking to one customer at a time, but B2B companies often create relationships that involve a large number of people. Equally, it’s unlikely that a client will only be contacting one person for their support, so B2B customer service teams need to have a thorough database in place, so they can clearly identify each of the contacts they have within a particular organization.
When a company offers B2B support, they need to be prepared for all of these added issues, so they can avoid duplicating their efforts between their support team and client contacts. They can do this by using a support system that provides them with full visibility of their customers. Using the right technology allows them to provide exceptional customer service to larger clients with complex issues.
Focusing on Collaboration
It’s always beneficial to have collaboration within a company, and this is particularly true for B2B companies. Due to the fact there are a number of issues that can arise when a client uses their services/software, including user experience issues, glitches and lost data, the demand on customer service teams can be huge.
As we’ve previously touched upon, B2B issues tend to be more complex, too, which means they’re used to receiving unique requests. And in order to provide the best solutions for clients, customer support must utilize the right strategies that employ everyone on their technical team, as well as their account executives and senior leaders.
Marketing Unique Relationships
The marketing strategy of a company will often have customer service at its heart, particularly within B2B companies. Because of this, throughout the entire relationship with their clients, B2B organizations should be engaging their customers. Therefore, these companies should not stop nurturing their client relationships after the client has signed on the dotted line. Rather, customer support should continue to be used as an effective marketing tool, with representatives continually reaching out to clients to offer new solutions.
In a B2B business, client loyalty and customer support go hand in hand. In fact, in a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, it was found that 86% of people are happy to pay more for an organization if they are able to guarantee a superior service. Furthermore, 89% had recently swapped suppliers because they had received poor customer service.
As you can see, there are huge differences between B2B and B2C companies when it comes to interacting with clients. That’s why, when you’re implementing software to assist your customer service team, you need to make sure you’re selecting a provider that specializes in the B2B or B2C domain. Customer service is paramount to your company’s success, and the software, marketing techniques and strategies you use all play a key role in how satisfied your customers will be.