Implementing B2B Customer Service Best Practices: The Power in Planning
Customer service is paramount in growing a modern business, especially in B2B markets. Business owners and professional buyers value companies they can build long-lasting, satisfying business relationships with. To prove that this is possible, the firm they’re partnering with needs to put emphasis on planning out the customer journey.
As far as B2B customer service best practices go, planning is arguably the most important. When referencing the customer journey, we are referring to the path a buyer or business owner will take as they are guided through the sales and customer service processes of a seller. By carefully planning the methods behind each step of that experience, businesses can ensure more reliable, quality relationship-building.
There are a few specific points of focus when crafting a customer journey in the B2B space:
- Proper planning
- Providing prompt and friendly customer service
- Personalizing the customer service experience
Planning the customer journey requires a business to first map out the steps a customer will take. These generally include the sales process (onboarding, needs assessment, selection of product, purchase, etc.) followed by their personal experience implementing and engaging with the product and the customer service experience.
The customer service experience generally includes responding to queries, proactively checking in, and advising the client on new ways to use their product or others in the lineup. The idea is to make this part of the process an efficient pathway back into the sales process. This way, the customer journey doesn’t end after the sale, but instead becomes a cycle that leads right back into repeat purchases.
Providing Prompt and Friendly Customer Service
The more obvious aspect of customer service management, and the focus of most B2B customer service best practices, is the provision of friendly service before, during, and after the sale. There are different ways to enhance the customer experience within each step of the process.
Service before the sale typically comes in the form of associates or bots that help buyers navigate a website, learn more about what a company offers, select the right product or service, or anything else that may help them work their way toward a purchase. This service is usually done by members of a marketing or sales team, and so buyers in this stage should be routed to those associates.
During the Sale
During the sale, quality customer service can be more focused on the logistics of a purchase. This involves informing the client on delivery timing and frequency, pricing, and how each of these may be amended to meet their needs. Ensure the partnership between the seller and the customer is a good fit. It is also just as important to know when there is not a good fit and when to walk away. Also imperative is measuring the value the customer will realize with the partnership. Consider their current state as well as the future state they can achieve with the relationship with the seller.
This is the stage that is most commonly thought of when discussing CSM, as it is the stage in which dedicated customer service agents are almost always called upon instead of sales or marketing reps. These agents help a client get familiar with a product or service once it is in their hands, handling any questions or concerns with care. The best agents will even find a way to recommend more dynamic uses for the product, and open sales opportunities for others.
Personalizing the Customer Service Experience
How a seller caters to clients can set them apart from others in their market. The level of personalization a client feels they have received throughout the customer service journey is often the deciding factor between whether they decide to make repeat purchases.
There are a few ways to personalize the customer service experience:
- Dedicate a Customer Success Manager to the account as well as a reactive customer service agent
- Guarantee responses within a specific timeframe
- Offer reasonable, but substantial benefits or discounts to remedy mistakes
- Proactively reach out to ensure a client is satisfied
- Send cards on birthdays and first purchase anniversaries to show extra care
- Conduct regular business reviews to demonstrate value, ROI, and what further value can be realized on the customer’s side by further use of your products or services
While these may seem easy enough, the reason so many businesses haven’t been able to implement these changes is that the logistics can be tricky to manage. Ensuring that a specific customer’s tickets always go to the same person, that all the notes on that client are properly organized, and that contact information and important dates are kept handy can be difficult to keep track of without the right tool.
Luckily, Vivantio offers a tool that makes personalizing the customer service experience seamless.
Implement B2B Customer Service Best Practices with Vivantio
While each of the benefits listed in this article work wonders for businesses, they won’t help if managers choose a platform that doesn’t offer all of the necessary features. Vivantio offers a cutting-edge customer service software platform that offers everything listed and more, including:
- Endless integrations to make implementation easy
- Automatic ticket routing to ensure every ticket gets to the proper agent
- Workflow designer tool that allows managers to customize the framework of their CS operations without any technical knowledge required
- White label service portals so businesses can maintain a cohesive brand throughout the service process
- Holistic view of each client to ensure that no agent is left without vital information
For businesses looking to bring their customer experience into the modern age, Vivantio is a no-brainer option.