Evaluating customer satisfaction is always ongoing and a never-ending process. When a customer does business with a company for the first time, a new relationship begins and it can move in many different directions. So how can you make your B2B (business-to-business) customers swoon for your business and fall in love with you? OK, maybe they won’t be swooning, but here are some ways to turn customers into advocates who love working with you…
Be NICE and respectful – It’s crazy to think that this should even be listed here but to be honest it’s completely necessary. As industry expert Shep Hyken says, 80% of customer service is just being nice. We’ve all encountered people in our lives that we’ve “heard good things about” only to be treated rudely or even disrespected. At the end of the day always stress to your support team that these people are your customers; if they are reaching out to support in the B2B (business-to-business) world they may be in a high pressure situation or instructed by their management to do so. Make them feel comfortable, respect their time, and of course don’t forget to say thank you (in a personalized way if possible) after each interaction.
Be genuine and transparent in interactions – This can be accomplished by properly training and having faith in the agents you choose to hire. Encourage them to address customers by name and let agents be themselves. Your support team will enjoy responding more to customers if they can act in a manner that is comfortable to them and it will promote more of a conversational tone instead of one focused strictly on business. This personal touch helps to build strong relationships and shines when matters are important but not urgent – when the latter occurs make sure agents know to be empathetic and punctual in their responses.
Be accessible for a customer but respect their space – It’s usually good to follow up if you haven’t heard from a customer regarding their issues, but don’t bombard them with messages just so you can close their ticket. If possible, have agents who have worked with a company in the past work on tickets for that same company. They will generally be more successful in dealing with the company based on past experiences and they can form a working relationship with people at that company who usually submit tickets.
Don’t make every interaction negative – Be smart with how you interact with customers and remember that every interaction should not be related to a ticket or issue. When you build relationships with customers, reach out to them in different ways – examples include asking for a referral, talking about the industry, and facilitating a formal customer survey. Simply asking questions shows you value their opinion and perspective, but make sure you listen to their feedback and implement it when appropriate or else they will feel like their voice is not being heard.
Effectively communicate changes – People are generally averse to change, even if it’s for the best, so it’s a good idea to let customers know in advance when something significant will change. This communication also helps your support operations because fewer “why did this change” tickets will be sent in. When you make these noticeable alterations, make sure you build a communication plan as to how these changes should be conveyed to the customer. Many organizations use a multi-faceted approach with multiple touchpoints for major changes – email, webinars, social media, etc. – and will keep reiterating the message several times. Having a customer hear about a change twice isn’t a huge deal, having a customer not hear about it at all can be a big problem.
In short, communication and trust are key in making your B2B customers fall in love with your company. Be kind and authentic in conversations while being respectful of their space as a customer. Make sure to mix in positive interactions and don’t forget to be smart when communicating changes to customers. These things will help in turning customers into advocates that will make you love them back when they help refer business to your company and improve your bottom line.