How Can B2B Companies Improve their Customer Support?
In this week’s episode of our Everything eCommerce podcast, we discussed B2B eCommerce, and one of the key points discussed was approaching this as a customer service issue. As a customer, if you purchase an item online and have an issue with it, you can get in touch and request support or a replacement, it’s inconvenient to you but it’s not a disaster. On the other hand, if you purchase software for your business and there is an issue with it, it now means that many people are not able to complete their work, which in turn means a waste of time, and ultimately money.
Business to business customer service is vitally important for customer loyalty and retention. So how can you ensure you are creating a smooth pre and post-sales process for your business customers?
Customer service starts before you even sell the product. If there is an inherent issue with the software or product you are selling, already you are providing a negative customer experience. The best and most obvious way to reduce customer support queries and issues is to ensure that your product works effectively. If you are selling a product with recurring issues then chances are, the same problems are going to crop up again and again. User testing is a great way to combat this, ensuring that the product is being reviewed before it is released. Providing ample information on the website is also a key way to do this. Through user testing, you can find common queries and make sure that you have all of the most important information easily available.
The post-sales experience is absolutely vital when it comes to customer retention and satisfaction. B2B companies are more likely to experience more complex, unique issues which take a considerable amount of time and effort to resolve. There is also more of an expectation to create a personalised experience and solution. Most people don’t expect Facebook to reach out to them personally if they experience a problem with the app, but a business spending thousands on software expect a tailored, dedicated service to assist them with any issues and provide a solution.
So how you can make sure that you are providing the best customer service you can? The two main ways to do this are through understanding your customer’s needs and offering a responsive, effective solution.
Understanding Your Customer
Customer needs are demanding and diverse, needing more customised solutions. It’s easy to get into the trap of thinking that quality and price are all that matters, when in fact, to retain a customer, there needs to be more. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, you are dealing with real people and individuals with different attitudes, opinions and emotions.
A great way to do this is through gathering customer information and voice of customer data. We mentioned voice of customer data in an article last week, but it’s extremely important when it comes to understanding what your customer needs. You can gather this through interviews and surveys, social media, reviews and feedback and live chat. Using a live chat service, you are able to use pre and post-chat surveys, gather information throughout the chat which can be stored in a CRM, or you can read through the chats themselves to find out FAQs and common issues which you can then use to inform your website design and the way you present information.
According to a study¹ by Zendesk, businesses not offering customer support at the time it was needed was among the biggest frustrations for customers. Email support is very common, but if the software your business uses is experiencing problems, this takes up valuable time where your business could be earning money. Phone support is another option and can be effective, but there is nothing more frustrating than getting stuck in a phone queue listening to some fuzzy music when you are experience issues with a product.
Due to this, live chat is becoming an increasingly popular way of dealing with customer queries. About 79%² of those who prefer live chat say they do because they are able to get their queries resolved immediately, so we can see how important it is to get those issues resolved as quickly as possible. Often businesses will use their own sales team for handling their live chat, but then find themselves losing customers when they weren’t able to handle queries immediately. Using a managed chat service with dedicated live chat agents can be a great way to solve this, as the agents are fully trained in your business and are able to reply immediately. Our chat agents have an average response time of 32 seconds and a 99% satisfaction rate, click here to find out more.
B2B customer support can be the difference between a customer staying with you or going to one of our competitors and is therefore absolutely crucial. By offering adequate support pre and post-sales through understanding your customer’s needs and a responsive, efficient solution, you’re able to ensure that your customers are satisfied, and you are able to retain their business.
Find out how live chat support can help you improve your B2B customer experience here.
Watch the full episode of Everything Ecommerce – B2B eCommerce here.
Catch up on all of the podcast episodes here.