For B2B companies, bringing in new customers is always a top priority. But your existing customer base is often the best source for revenue growth opportunities. When you consider referrals, upsells, and extending the customer relationship’s life, you start to see the incredible potential of using customer service to grow your business.
The keys to delivering outstanding customer service are:
- Understanding why the B2B world is generally bad at it, and
- Focusing your efforts on making your company’s customer service experience stand out from the competition.
In this article, we’ll cover B2B customer service best practices and how they can translate into increased revenue for your company.
How B2B Companies Get Customer Service Wrong
With a business model that relies so heavily on long-term relationships, you’d think the B2B industry would have customer service pretty well ironed out. But B2B companies consistently score worse than B2C companies in terms of customer experience.
There are several reasons for this.
For starters, it’s often more inconvenient to search for a new B2B solution than simply stick with a lackluster experience. Many B2B companies know this and use it (whether consciously or not) to justify neglecting their customer service efforts.
Some companies also stick with the same sales and support pipeline for many years while their competitors adapt to ever-changing customer expectations. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is a flawed statement. If it ain’t broke, make it better would better serve both B2B companies and their customers.
As you’ll see, when you dial in your customer service, revenue growth tends to follow.
The Benefits of an Outstanding B2B Customer Service Experience
Bringing in new customers is always a good idea. But what happens when you give your existing customers an outstanding experience?
- They become more loyal to your company.
- They’re more receptive to upsells
- They’re more likely to recommend you to others.
The initial sale is only the tip of the iceberg. Upsells and referrals can be the secret ingredients that propel your business into new revenue heights. When you focus on customer success, you build confidence and loyalty in your customer base.
What is Customer Success?
Customer success is when your customer achieves everything they set out to achieve when using your product or service. It’s a process that begins with sales and continues in the form of support for the entirety of your relationship with that customer.
Selling doesn’t stop when you make a sale. Every time a user searches your website for a solution or contacts customer support, you’re fighting to keep that revenue stream. If you can empower your customers with your products and support, the upsells come naturally.
An additional bonus to having outstanding customer service is you can upsell faster. If you can create customer success early in the customer lifecycle, you can move them up to the next tier sooner, which leads to an exponential boost to revenue.
Learn What Your B2B Customers Want
Many B2B buyers actively avoid sales interactions. They’d rather research your product or service on their own than deal with a sales pitch. In today’s world, with our unlimited access to information, customers know what they want and need—the last thing they’re looking for is a sales department to push a feature that doesn’t interest them.
So what’s the way around this? Listening to your customers. The cornerstone to exceptional B2B customer service is listening to your customers (or potential customers) and learning what makes them tick. If you can learn about their problems and offer the perfect solution, your product will sell itself.
Another thing to remember is that B2B purchases are often higher-ticket. While B2C sales tend to engage with customers on an emotional level, B2B companies need to appeal to their buyers logically. They need to sell benefits and features.
When you know what your customers want, you can weave that knowledge into your sales process, your website copy, and your marketing channels.
Better B2B Customer Service in 4 Steps
Remember, in the B2B world, there’s always another option. So how can you build a customer service platform that creates customer success and boosts revenue?
- Make customer experience your company’s main focus across all areas. Your sales and marketing departments, web design, and social media accounts should all be obsessed with delivering an above-and-beyond customer experience.
- Set expectations and deliver on them, every time. The B2B sales process is involved and lengthy. Nothing can sour a customer’s experience more than discovering a missing feature they’d hoped for or experiencing sticker shock from an unexpected fee. Tell them what they’ll get, and provide them exactly what you promise.
- Get all your departments on the same page. In many companies (not just B2B), sales, support, and marketing teams rarely interact or follow the same scripts. Get the heads of each department together to make sure your message is clear.
- Make responsiveness a top priority. The sooner you can address support tickets and respond to emails or messages, the better. Remember, B2B customers rely on your products and services to make their businesses run smoothly. An efficient response time goes a long way toward building loyalty.
Customer Service is a Never-Ending Journey
The only constant in the B2B world is that things are constantly changing. The customer expectations of today could easily turn into the common annoyances of tomorrow. As long as you’re always listening, testing, and keeping your customers’ success at the core of your business philosophy, you’ll be able to adapt to the changing landscape of modern business.
While customer service is an essential component of your business strategy, it’s important to make sure it aligns with your marketing strategy as well. The right outsourced marketing team can ensure each element of your marketing is geared toward your larger B2B growth strategy — in other words, increased revenue for your business.