Dealing with poor b2b customer service is a grating experience. Waiting on hold for ages, having to re-explain the same thing to multiple customer service reps, and poorly designed chatbots are, unfortunately, all too often part of resolving an issue with technology and service providers.

But it's a situation that fewer and fewer b2b customers are willing to tolerate. Studies have revealed that 89% of b2b buyers are  likely to switch to a competitor even after a single negative experience. And they are willing to spend more with companies that offer their preferred option to reach customer service such as chat. 

So, there's no doubt that delivering exceptional b2b customer service makes good business sense, which is why we decided to take a closer look at what it takes to excel in this department. 

The common pitfalls in b2b customer service 

To get b2b customer service right, it's useful to understand the most common reasons why it goes wrong. 

  • Limited availability - Difficulty in reaching customer support representatives or long wait times for assistance can slow your issue resolution process and erode customer trust. To address this, offer multiple avenues for customers to reach out, such as phone, email, live chat or a self-service portal. Be available to your customers on the channels that are relevant to them. 
  • Lack of communication - Delayed responses to customer questions or a lack of personalised attention can set a negative tone for the entire relationship because, let's face it, no one wants to be ghosted. Committing to a specific response time and clearly communicating this to your customer can help manage expectations. Coaching your customer success time to read a request closely before responding will ensure a more relevant response. 
  • Complexity in the resolution process - No one wants a headache. Cumbersome or convoluted processes for resolving customer inquiries or complaints exacerbate frustration and prolong resolution times, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. Simplifying the support process makes it easier for your customers to get the help they need. You can use technology, such as CRM systems, to automate and streamline support processes to enhance the overall customer experience.
  • Insufficient product knowledge - There's nothing quite as jarring as dealing with a customer success rep who knows less about the product than the customer or repeatedly being sent to the knowledge base articles you've already read. Ensuring that your customer success team has been trained on your product is critical for delivering exceptional customer service. Having proper escalation processes in place for more complex issues will keep things scalable.
  • Inconsistent service quality - Discrepancies in the level of service provided across different touchpoints or customer interactions can undermine the overall customer experience and damage your customer relationships. This happens when there aren't standardised b2b customer service processes to ensure consistency in the level of support provided across all channels. To maintain consistency and improve the overall customer experience, implement ongoing training and development programs for customer service teams to ensure your service delivery across all channels is airtight.

Strategies for effective b2b customer service

Create a knowledge base 

Customers often face frustration when they cannot find the information they need to resolve their issues independently. Building a comprehensive knowledge base with FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and best practices can empower customers and support staff to resolve common issues quickly and help customers troubleshoot themselves. Easy access to relevant information ensures a smoother resolution process and enhances the customer experience. Like with most things, you should treat your knowledge base as a work-in-progress because as your product evolves, so will the care and support information. There's no use having screenshots and troubleshooting instructions on your product from 3 versions ago. 

Implement a robust ticketing system 

Invest in a comprehensive ticketing or case management system that allows you to log, track and resolve customer inquiries and issues efficiently. A marketing automation platform can send updates and notifications to customers regarding the status of their inquiries or orders to help manage expectations and keep them in the loop. Note that it's important that all customer inquiries are logged and assigned to the appropriate team member for resolution. But don't treat this process as a set-and-forget. Regularly review and update your ticketing system to ensure it remains aligned with your business processes and customer needs.

Create feedback mechanisms 

Soliciting and acting upon customer feedback is essential for continuously improving customer service operations. This can include post-support satisfaction surveys to gather customer feedback about their experience. Also, encourage customers to leave online reviews to share their experiences and provide valuable feedback. Regularly review customer feedback and use it to identify areas for improvement in your customer service processes.

Empower frontline staff with the authority to resolve issues 

Your b2b customer service representatives can resolve issues more efficiently and effectively if you equip them with training and resources. What's more, they can make decisions and take action to resolve customer issues without having to escalate them to a manager. This can lead to faster resolution times and increased customer satisfaction. Develop a comprehensive training program covering technical and soft skills, such as communication and empathy. 

Provide multi-channel support

Offering multi-channel support ensures that your customers can reach out to you in the way that is most convenient for them. This involves providing multiple avenues for customers to reach out, such as phone, email, live chat, or a self-service portal. Ensure all channels are staffed with knowledgeable and helpful customer service representatives who can assist customers quickly and effectively. Pro tip: it helps to integrate all support channels into a single platform, allowing customers to seamlessly transition between channels without repeating information.

Leverage technology to streamline support processes

Chatbots and CRM systems can help streamline support processes by providing customers quick and accurate responses to their inquiries and issues. Integrate your chatbot with your ticketing or case management system to automate the process of logging and resolving customer inquiries. Invest in a comprehensive CRM system that allows you to track and manage customer interactions across all channels, providing a seamless and personalised experience for your customers.

Build a support community 

Fostering a sense of community among your customers can provide them with valuable resources and support. Create online communities or forums where customers can self-help or get help from others. Encourage customers to share their experiences and best practices, creating a sense of camaraderie and support, which can also help you win back some time spent on issue resolution. However, that doesn't mean you don't show your face in these forums. Rather, it's important that you periodically monitor and participate in your online communities to provide assistance and support to your customers as needed.

Delivering exceptional b2b customer service is as much about building and nurturing long-term relationships with your customers as it is about resolving issues. By addressing the common pitfalls and implementing the strategies outlined in this blog, your business can transform your customer service processes to ensure satisfaction, loyalty and ongoing success.

To learn more about how you can consistently deliver exceptional b2b customer service, get in touch with us here.   

Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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