The best business-to-business (B2B) customer support strategies are those that go beyond quickly resolving issues as they arise, and instead focus more on understanding customers well enough to anticipate their needs and frustrations proactively. Further, effective support teams work together to resolve issues and maintain relationships, rather than relying on a ticket system that confines valuable client information to ineffective silos.
In many ways, this differentiator is unique to companies that operate in the B2B world because the customer experience is largely driven by deep understanding and a sense of partnership between the client and provider. For this reason it is essential to use a customer support software designed for B2B, with a robust customer database that enables management and understanding at a company level rather than just at an individual ticket level. The good news is collaborative customer support software enables businesses to understand their clients better at a holistic level, and bolster customer satisfaction long term.
Customer pain points lend insight
Companies that serve the needs of other businesses must work to constantly evolve and meet changing customer needs. Throughout the duration of a client relationship, customer support agents should be empowered to constantly tap into clients' needs, pain points and frustrations.
"Customer support agents should be empowered to constantly tap into clients' needs, pain points and frustrations."
By gaining this understanding, businesses can proactively reach out to their customers and make changes that lead to longer-term retention. In fact, Esteban Kolsky, founder and principal of thinkJar, told The Huffington Post in an interview that through his surveys and research, he found 11 percent of customer churn could be prevented by simple company outreach.
Of course, outreach for the sake of outreach doesn't serve any kind of impactful purpose. When customer service teams have access to knowledge about a client's specific experience with a tool, software or service, they can reach out to relevant contacts already prepared with solutions. That's where B2B customer service software comes in. Tools that provide data and interfaces that shed light on customer needs, such as our Customer Distress Index, enable support teams to understand their clients and resolve problems proactively. With a deeper understanding of customer pain points and how they operate, companies can also provide suggestions and best practices to improve the client's processes – further establishing themselves as a valued partner.
The relationship between collaboration and understanding
Another component that is integral to understanding customers better is collaboration. B2B customer service teams that have the processes, structure and tools to collaborate efficiently are better-equipped with deeper insight into clients' needs, objectives and overall history with the service.
Collaborative customer support software allows businesses to share insight from various teams including account management, technical support, engineering and customer service and paint a full picture of the client relationship with this knowledge. Tools that are equipped with alerts empower everyone to share pertinent information about a client with the entire team, so at all times, everyone involved has an understanding of the company.
In the B2B world, companies can't hope to be successful unless they have a thorough understanding of their clients. Since B2B customer relationships are more complex, involve multiple client contacts and often involve more challenging issues than business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions, companies rely on widespread knowledge and understanding as a route to success. With the right software and strategy in place, businesses can improve the customer experience by understanding their clients better.