When you run a business you either survive or thrive based on your reputation. When you’re in the B2C space reputation is important… but we’d argue that it’s even more important in the world of B2B. Businesses have so many vendors and service providers scrambling for their attention, yet don’t necessarily have the time to research products, services and solutions at their leisure in the same way that B2C customers might. What’s more, while businesses in the B2C space might invest a great deal of time, effort, resources and capital in delivering outstanding customer care, it’s curious how comparatively few businesses adopt the same approach for B2B. So B2B companies that really make the effort in delivering an outstanding customer experience often find that their investment pays dividends in the future.
Here we’ll look at some steps that B2B enterprises can take to ensure outstanding customer satisfaction and ensure that they remain popular and prosperous among even the most discerning business clients.
Remember: Word of mouth is essential for cost-effective B2B growth
B2B growth is a slightly different animal to its B2C counterpart. While word of mouth is essential for both, it’s arguably even more important for businesses targeting other businesses. All businesses are happy to work with anyone who can help drive down their operational costs or make the day-to-day management of their businesses a little easier. As such, they are often likely to recommend them to their other business contacts once trust and rapport have been established.
Generating talk triggers to create chatter among customers is a great strategy, but there’s really no strategy more compelling than consistently delivering operational excellence. Here’s how you do it…
Invest in the training and development of your team
No matter how compelling your branding, how engaging and authoritative your online content and how awesome your products or services… your business is only ever as strong as the team behind it.
And no matter how much effort you put into the recruitment process, you can never get the most out of your employees if your training process ends with onboarding. Of course the onboarding process is important even for outstanding candidates. Not only does it give them the core competencies they need to do their jobs well and safely, not only does it cover additional training like hazmat training or first aid it also introduces new employees to your company culture. And the more they’re able to own and embody your culture, the more they’re able to represent your brand to customers.
Still, don’t make the mistake of assuming that after onboarding the best kind of training is done on the job. You should also ensure that your team members get access to regular ongoing training and ideally have their own individual course of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
When you invest in your staff, they’re much more likely to delight your B2B customers.
Never underestimate the importance of content marketing
Your online content is important for a number of reasons in the B2B space. Firstly, when you regularly post new infographics, tutorials and other helpful content on your website it helps you to curry favor with search engines. It encourages movement around your website, builds scroll depth and time on page and appeals to a variety of other metrics that search engines value giving you an organic boost in SEO. And since time-poor business customers are unlikely to spend hours trawling through Search Engine Results Pages, an SEO boost can be a real bonus.
What’s more, your online content helps you to establish your knowledge and authority and help to build trust in jaded business customers. Your blogs, vlogs and other content marketing efforts can give your prospective customers that all-important something for nothing while also demonstrating your knowledge and expertise in the field.
Make sure you have a well planned and comprehensive content marketing strategy so that you can build value in your brand and win over prospects who are still on the fence.
Offer flexibility when it comes to payment
Your B2B customers are just like you. They have a cash flow to manage and books to balance. So anything you can do to offer flexibility will count hugely in your favor. If you can offer flexible pricing structures, allow for payment on different days of the month or accept payment via cryptocurrencies, business customers will appreciate whatever you can do to ease their cash flow and make their lives easier.
Charge what you’re worth… but build value into every transaction
If you’re new to operating in the B2B space, it can be extremely tempting to try and undercut your competitors on price in the hopes of securing more orders. But while B2B customers certainly have budgetary concerns, it’s important to remember that they’re not paying with their own personal money and that their priorities are different to their B2C counterparts.
They don’t want to pay over the odds and place a chokehold on their cash flow, but they’re generally happy to pay for quality. What’s more, they may take your low prices as a tacit admission that the service you provide is less than second best.
So, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, but at the same time- be sure to build added value into every transaction. Help them to feel supported and be responsive when they need you. Be transparent and clear. Offer comprehensive aftercare. Your customers have a lot on their plate, so do whatever you can to make their lives easier and more profitable.
You’ll find that’s always worth paying for.
Manage expectations and always deliver
Finally, one of the biggest frustrations for B2B clients is when brands over-promise and under deliver. While the urge to make bold claims in order to secure a contract is understandable it’s a strategy that often proves counterproductive.
Instead, focus your efforts on establishing and managing realistic expectations and ensuring that you always deliver on your promises. This is the best way to ensure consistent performance, keep customers happy and ensure cost-effective marketing through word of mouth resulting in new referrals.