There’s often a strong correlation between the quality of customer support a company offers and how many customers they have. If you sell 100 million books each year, a few bad customer experiences each day probably won’t cut into your profit margins all that much. If you sell a regulated service, like electricity of telecommunications service and customers have no choice except to purchase from you, you may feel less inclined to improve the state of your customer experience. For B2B companies, however, the customer pools are often smaller, the price tags of products and services higher, and word of mouth of bad service has a smaller pool to travel through.
While it should be a priority for every company to improve the quality of their customer service, it’s of particular concern for B2B providers. A recent study recently conducted by CustomerThink found that of 135 business-to-business organizations surveyed, 100 reported having a customer experience initiative in place, which they defined as "a focus on improving customer experiences to achieve business outcomes." Interestingly, the strong push for improving customer support in the B2B world appears to be quire new: nearly half (46 percent) of the customer experience initiatives analyzed in the study were found to be less than two years old.
"Business-to-business enterprises have always had a strong incentive to create and sustain long-term customer relationships," said Bob Thompson, publisher and editor-in-chief at CustomerThink.com. "What's been missing, however, has been an enterprise-wide focus that encompasses the complete customer experience."
Interesting data uncovered by the study include:
- Companies that are putting the most effort toward customer experience initiatives ("optimizing") report success at twice the rate of those in the lowest effort ("developing") category.
- The most important element separating leaders from laggards is when company executives set a positive example in the way they prioritize and act on customer experience objectives.
- The top source of actionable insight for improving the customer experience was employees. The next three sources were all unstructured sources, including survey comments, qualitative interviews and customer surveys/other non-survey text.
- Respondents listed the top five issues preventing effective CX execution as a lack of time, no measurable ROI, lack of strategy and goals, not enough people and people lacking the right skills.
We can draw several conclusions from this information. That employees are the most critical resource for improving the customer experience shouldn’t be surprising. The lack of time, strategy, measurable insight and goal-setting are problems that can be solved, at least in part, with a robust customer support solution. Solutions such as those offered by TeamSupport enable B2B companies to respond to customer inquiries how and when they prefer, regardless of channel. Support agents can help customers who use the phone, email, chat, or even Facebook (News - Alert) and provide an exceptional customer experience while ensuring no tickets are lost, dropped or duplicated.
The stakes are high in B2B customer support today: customer loyalty is more fickle, competition is fiercer and poor experiences are often shared on social media with other customers and prospective customers. Bringing customer support onto a failsafe platform can go a long way toward ensuring a positive customer experience every time.
Edited by Maurice Nagle