Though technological advances transform the business world in a seemingly endless number of ways, the basic fundamentals will always exist. And one of the most critical fundamentals that will never change is the importance of keeping the customer happy.
Satisfied customers yield increased engagement, repeat orders, positive reviews, and the power of direct referrals - their value cannot be overstated. In the event of an unsatisfied customer, exceptional service can help to identify/address/solve the problem(s), and will often be a determining factor in whether they remain your client or take their account elsewhere.
B2B customers may have different needs, motivations, and time frames than those in the DTC space, but their expectations are still informed and shaped by positive ecommerce shopping experiences in private life. Simply put, most have come to demand from B2B sellers the same level of seamless, all-encompassing service they receive from large internet retailers.
What, then, are some essential practices for any company looking to provide optimal customer service today?
Assistance every step of the way
A great customer experience begins before the first purchase has even been made and continues through checkout, delivery, and beyond. This is ecommerce 101. As soon as a potential customer visits your site, you must have the capacity to assist them. Live chat allows your helpdesk to anticipate and answer questions in real-time like an associate on the showroom floor.
When a purchase is made, your shopping cart and checkout must be intuitive, straightforward, and as frictionless as possible. An order confirmation email is standard procedure, but it also offers an opportunity to add value through useful content related to the purchase. Detailed delivery information is a necessity, but it doesn’t end there. Your customer may still have questions and answering them accurately and efficiently shows your commitment to service extends out as far as their needs might require.
We have achieved something once thought to be impossible, a feat now so common, it hardly gets recognized - the ability to be in multiple places at the same time. A customer’s email and social media accounts are being checked frequently throughout the day, both their computer and mobile phone are in near-constant use, and all of these provide avenues for interaction. Whereas one client may reach out via email, another may enjoy using Instagram as a primary means of leaving feedback, and yet another may operate strictly via text message (SMS). And, Facebook. And, Twitter. And, on and on and on.
Your team's ability to centralize and communicate across a broad array of channels has become absolutely critical. This can be the difference between making the sale or losing it to a competitor who is better prepared and quicker to respond.
A personalized experience
The B2B buyer expects both a more elevated relationship and a heightened level of service than does the retail customer, and you need the means to provide it. Having detailed, well-organized customer data pulled from multiple sources, all in one place, allows for this by providing your helpdesk with a holistic view of the customer. Anyone on your support team should be able to instantly access information such as order histories and social media profiles, allowing them to rapidly transition from providing assistance and answering queries to obtaining insight and facilitating sales.
B2B customers are busy people and they are generally not browsing your website without intent or contacting you for no reason. They may need to find a specific quantity of a particular product and time is of the essence. Or, a pressing order hasn’t arrived yet, production could be impacted and they’re demanding an update.
Smart autoresponders can use intelligent macros to automatically pull variables from other apps. Your support agent can then add personalization and reply to the customer in a matter of seconds. The result? Accurate information is delivered extremely quickly and valuable time is saved for both your team and your client.
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