In the business world, the idea of “customer care” is often crafted around business-to-consumer customers. Most articles are written with b-to-c in mind, and most the advice that is presented in these articles goes along with it. That being the case, it leaves the providers of business-to-business customer support a bit out in the cold. Do b-to-b customers react the same way as b-to-c consumers? Do they have the same expectations and needs? Do they use the same channels? Do they have more or less tolerance for delays in getting help? These are all great questions.
“For companies who provide B2B customer support there is still some hesitance and even confusion over how customer experience applies to them,” wrote TeamSupport’s Laura Ballam (News - Alert) in a recent blog post. Let us assure you it DOES matter in B2B, maybe even more so than in B2C.
Ballam cited a recent article by customer experience champions Temkin, which recently performed some research on how customer emotions can affect the outcomes of customer support sessions and the customer experience as a whole. “Customer Experience Needs More Emotion,” proclaimed Temkin in its infographic. Every interaction, according to Temkin, affects customers along three dimensions. They are as follows:
Success. Was the interaction successful, as perceived by the customer, were they able to accomplish what they wanted to do?
Effort. How much effort did the customer have to personally put forth in the interaction, and how easy was it to interact with the company?
Emotion. What was the emotional outcome, how did the customer feel during the interaction? Answers can range from "upset" to "delighted.”
“Emotion” is the reason why a customer can leave a perfectly satisfactory customer transaction feeling very little – neither positive or negative – but leave an initially bad customer experience actually feeling good about a company because of the way a single support agent rescued the transaction and went above and beyond for the customer. Unfortunately, positive customer emotions aren’t something that can be purchased and deployed…they have to be cultivated with a positive customer support culture.
“How the customer feels when they interact with your company is ultimately the deciding factor in how much business they are going to do with you,” wrote Ballam. “So as you focus on the customer in 2016, make sure you consider the entire experience, including emotion (the ‘human’ element) along with your resolution statistics.”
In the b-to-c world, fostering positive emotion for your organization may be necessary just a few times a year when that customer calls in. For b-to-b companies, which often have much closer contact with their customers on a regular, ongoing basis, it’s even more important and more challenging. Consider ensuring that each customer has a dedicated support team with which they can foster an ongoing relationship rather than the “first available” person. It will make your b-to-b customers feel more valued, more connected and more positive about your organization.
Edited by Maurice Nagle