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In the past few years, we have witnessed a significant increase in the attention paid to customer experience (CX). With most of this seen in the Business to Customer (B2C) market, the Business to Business (B2B) market has been lagging behind. According to the statistics from PwC, customers are willing to pay up to 16% more for a better customer experience. The same survey states that it helps increase the overall customer loyalty when required attention is paid to the B2B customer experience.
Having taken part in B2B CX transformations at Treasury Wine Estates and Asaleo Care, 2 large manufacturing firms from beverage and personal care sectors, I want to share 5 key strategies manufacturing firms must do when improving their customer experience.
1. Understand Your Audience and Be Customer-Centric
Since customer experience is directly linked to how and what the end customers feel about your brand’s products or services, there is no way you can create a good CX without first knowing the customers themselves. To master the B2B customer experience, you must have a solid rapport with the people on your account.
As we are talking about the B2B industry, it is important to understand your end customers are technical and have their clients to cater to. Understanding the unique needs and pressure of your B2B buyers is very important.
After all, you can’t deliver what your customers need without knowing what they need. Without a proper foundational understanding, you can’t expect to deliver a successful customer experience.
One way you can go about better understanding your customers is by having frequent meetings and mapping out mutual goals that need to be met at the end of a given time period. Additionally, doing extensive research into the client and understanding their company’s story and ethos will help you better deliver on your end.
2. Offer Personalized Experiences
As B2C customers who visit an online store don’t want to be sold the same pair of shoes as everyone else, B2B customers will also need something different. Every customer and its business is different and hence would like to have an experience customized to its business.
With the increasing competition in B2B, companies don’t want to be just like any other business.
And when talking about personalization, it is essential to have it happen at every point in the customer journey. From the initial communication to offering the best product or service recommendations, personalization is at the center of it all.
One small thing you can do to personalize the customer experience proposals and collateral for meetings, so your client knows they’re being given your full attention. This also helps demonstrate that you’re not giving them a one-size-fits-all solution and that your team put thought into curating specific content for them.
3. Use Customer Service Technology
Modern customers are very smart. They are equipped with the latest technology and find the most relevant or latest information on the internet. As a B2B business owner, you must match their needs with your use of technology.
Leveraging advanced technologies like automation, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) does not just help create a better customer experience and lets you stay ahead of the competition overall.
Make use of customer data to complete as many small tasks as possible. Chatbots are available for real-time and human-like CX. Make better predictions with the algorithm to know when customers will need follow-up equipment. The possibilities with the latest technology are endless and can be adapted to the needs of each company and customer with the right planning.
4. Offer Post-Purchase Support
Like the B2C industry, the relationship with customers in the B2B industry doesn’t end with the sale. Since B2B businesses have clients that stay with them on retainer, offering them post-purchase support is the best thing to offer.
And by service, it means more than just making sure customers are happy with their purchases. You always want to find the best ways to work efficiently with their new products and to constantly meet their needs.
5. Collect Customer Feedback
Sometimes it can be quite tricky, but receiving consistent feedback from your customers about their experience with your business is a very important step to creating a better CX journey.
Successful business giants like Amazon routinely ask for customer and seller feedback, to help streamline their experience on both ends quickly and effectively. Getting specific feedback allows you to have a holistic view of the unique problems your customers are experiencing and how you can help them overcome those obstacles.
B2B customer experience is more crucial and significantly more tricky than B2C customer experience. It takes more individual attention, but the approach is more or less the same. Research your customers, create personas, personalize the customer experience, and routinely seek out feedback that will help you perform better as vendors of a product or service.
Dasun Premadasa is the Founder and CEO of DASCX, the premiere B2B CX consulting firm for manufacturers in Australia. With over two decades of experience including four large CX and digital transformation programs at 4 different manufacturing and automotive firms in Australia, he's one of the best business technology experts for B2B customer experience.