Good customer service should be at the heart of every b2b business, whether big or small, and whatever industry you serve.
Referred to as ‘client service’ in the marketing world, customer service can be quite an intangible beast, yet it should be the wrapping around everything you do as a business. More often than not it’s the thing that customers remember most about a purchase, since it typically covers any direct interactions with your organisation.
Primarily, it should provide a positive experience that helps differentiate your brand in what can often be hugely competitive markets. A reputation for great customer service can be worth its weight in gold, helping to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, brand advocates and business referrals.
It also makes sense to your bottom line too. As we all know, it’s easier and more cost effective to keep your current customers than it is to acquire new ones. No matter how good your product or service is, if your b2b customer service is poor, your customers won’t hang around for long.
So how do you ‘do’ great b2b customer service?
It’s something we’ve asked ourselves internally, and which resulted in the launch of our own client services manifesto recently. Here’s some key takeaways…
Firstly, embed great service across the organisation. Your team need to know why it’s important, and the part they play in it, whether they’re customer-facing or not. Everyone can contribute to giving your customers a positive experience of working with you.
Get a deep understanding of your customers’ industry, plus their individual needs, pain points and preferences. Contrary to the beliefs of some, technology won’t automatically improve customer service; adding layers upon layers of technology or automation will get your team further away from the core principle of customer service, that of being available to talk to. So, pick up the phone, go and meet your clients or customers, whether to discuss a project, take a brief, or simply just to grab a coffee.
Manage expectations; set out where you’re trying to get to, and what success looks like. And be realistic. Things won’t always go to plan, and when they don’t, take ownership of fixing it and quickly finding a solution that suits both parties.
In competitive and commoditised markets, such as those often found in b2b marketing, service delivery really can make all the difference. The small things add up.
How do you put customer experience at the heart of your business? Share your thoughts below.