There's a strong disconnect between what businesses and their customers see as good customer support - one that can have drastic consequences for B2B companies. When evaluating the state of their customer service, businesses tend to focus their attention on the overall situation. They implement policies that span their entire support teams and take a top-down approach to fixing any issues. Customers, on the other hand, view support as a series of interactions between themselves and the business they're dealing with. They come to their conclusions on a case-by-case basis, taking each encounter as evidence of a business' success or failure.
Adopting the customer's point of view will help a business improve its support efforts overall. Focusing on the individual customer reveals valuable insights that can then be applied to others. As each of these experiences switches from negative to positive - or, better yet, remains positive - more customers are satisfied.
"B2B companies have much to lose from poor customer support."
Individuality among B2B customers
Not recognizing the importance of each customer has disastrous consequences. A recent article from Gallup laid it out clearly: B2B companies have far more to lose from poor customer support on an individual basis than B2C companies. In the latter case, a dissatisfied customer is just one of many. If they take their business elsewhere, the company has hundreds or thousands of others to rely on instead. Any negative word-of-mouth the customer spreads, while not exactly welcome, is easily offset in the end by proper marketing and by showcasing examples of satisfied customers.
On the other hand, if frustrated B2B customers leave, they take with them thousands of dollars - if not more. B2B suppliers generally have fewer customers than B2C, so the departure of one has a proportionally greater impact. If poor customer service becomes a consistent issue, it will spread quickly among the remaining customers, and they'll be tempted to start looking at competitors' services.
B2B companies can prevent this setback from happening by attending to customer needs at the individual level. With personalization tools provided by B2B customer service software, businesses can address a customer's specific needs as opposed to adhering to a uniform directive. Such ideas seem like they would solve support issues overall, but they don't allow for personalization or individual attention. While resources like satisfaction monitors and customer alerts remain out of public view, they provide agents with the ongoing knowledge necessary to improve customer engagement. Thus, the business experiences fewer contract terminations. What's more, agents can take what they've learned from one instance and apply it to similar occasions in the future.
Using one experience to change all
Business2Community agreed: If a company is stuck in its overall state of poor customer support, the answer is to focus on singular experiences instead of looking at customer service as one huge function. Each personal interaction reveals something new that customer support representatives can take with them to resolve issues with other clients.
This personal touch is what customers want, after all. Gallup noted B2B customers have high expectations for individual customer service. They can't always articulate those expectations, however, so it's up to the B2B company to anticipate them before they turn into major problems. Businesses can prepare for these needs by evaluating the support tickets of similar customers. For example, if one customer has an issue with a particular software update, B2B suppliers can assume another customer in the same industry will have a similar problem. They can then act proactively instead of reactively, establishing clear communications and steps to solve the dilemma at hand.
Ultimately, good service is a series of singular, personal interactions between a business and a customer. Each experience is part of a whole, and treating them as such ensures your customers are happy and engaged.