Navigating the Path to B2B Customer Service Optimization

With actionable insights and strategies tailored to B2B organizations, we reveal the blueprint for leveraging customer service as a game-changing engine to help elevate and transform your business operations.

Cover art for the Vivantio Guide on B2B Customer Service Transformation, featuring AI-powered customer support and ITIL service management strategies.

Introduction

Leveraging breakthrough service to transform your B2B enterprise has become essential — with measurable benefits across all aspects of your business.

Achieving real success will demand a next-generation service infrastructure, including a gathering of all relevant data into a “unified service management platform” that gives your customer service (CS) and customer experience (CX) teams real-time insight—and the power to deliver new levels of customer satisfaction.

Whether you choose to read from beginning to end or skim through to what interests you the most – we aim to provide valuable insights into how a superior service strategy, combined with the right tools and a customer-centric mindset, can become a catalyst for transformative change in your organization.

Embracing B2B Service Optimization

Analysts from McKinsey to Gartner to the editors of Harvard Business Review have documented bottom-line benefits from an improved customer experience. Most companies (>89%) believe they need to achieve better service. Analysts continue to help them quantify the stakes in terms of KPIs like the ease of selling to a customer vs. a cold prospect (14x easier) and the measurable value of customer satisfaction (140% increased spending vs. non-satisfied customers)

Other measurable benefits include:

  • Reducing the cost of delivering a service
  • Reducing the resources required to deliver a service
  • Shortening the time required to deliver a service
  • Improving risk management and regulatory compliance
  • Supporting better contracts, including SLAs and T&Cs
  • Improving IT and operational availability/uptime
  • Improving security incident handling
  • Increasing satisfaction of customers using a service, by:
    • Reducing number of issues with a service
    • Empowering customers via automated fulfillment
    • Supporting customers in getting the most out of a service

How to measure the value of service optimization

In businesses where customer churn plays a significant factor, B2B companies are measuring significant gains by prioritizing service over sales, with the goal of achieving a phenomenon known as Net Negative Churn.

How service optimization can transform customer journeys

One of the first dynamics that many organizations note is an improvement in their sales processes. Often, this can be directly traced to the beneficial effect of having a truly satisfied customer base. (Fig D.)

Results from this advantage can include a shortened sales cycle and increased performance—not only in up-sell or cross-sell situations, but in net-new business as well, using satisfied customers as an initial engagement point.

Illustration of an infinity loop representing the customer journey, with the Sales process in blue, Customer Success in green, and Service Management in purple.

Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25-95%, depending on the industry according to Bain & Company and Harvard Business School.

Understanding the concepts and principles behind the Customer Journey can go a long way in helping you re-imagine current practices to find ways to streamline processes, break down silos, and increase transparency across the entire extended value chain:

Essential technology for optimizing service delivery

What do we mean when we suggest leveraging technology to improve customer satisfaction and CX?

In the old view, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system was used to house data about customers that could be tapped by sales and service organizations to support their efforts. Other systems—with varying degrees of connectivity and access—might house other customer data relating to things like credit terms, orders in-production, contracts, etc.

Moving quickly toward improved customer self-service

There’s no time to waste in advancing your self-service capabilities, as business-to-business customers are already demanding a better experience. In a survey of 1,000 B2B decision makers, lack of speed in interactions with their suppliers emerged as the number one pain point, mentioned twice as often as price.

Digital solutions loom large in executives’ thinking to make routine tasks more efficient. Some 86 percent of respondents said they prefer using self-service tools for reordering, rather than talking to a sales representative.

Achieving organizational alignment around customer service optimization

Changing the way you approach customer service, self-service, and the implementation of a unified service management platform is a serious task and should be positioned as a “marathon” and not a “sprint.”

Getting buy-in from both senior leadership and the teams that will be charged with implementing these critical changes will be key to your success.

“If there’s one thing that’s certain about the future, it’s that change is here to stay. The ability to constantly transform has become a top priority for organizations. Therefore, change management is now an essential business priority that can’t be overlooked or set aside. Leaders need to urgently develop change and project management competencies across all levels of an organization, from employees and managers to senior executives.”

– Harvard Business Review (2023)

In Closing

The role of service optimization has taken center stage. It’s no longer just about meeting customer expectations, but about surpassing them and delivering unforgettable customer experiences. B2B companies can no longer afford to ignore the fundamental shifts in customer service practices. This calls for a robust, unified service management platform that efficiently bridges the gap between customer service teams and customers, fueled by real-time insights, and a customer-centric mindset.

“Although customer-experience improvement is typically associated with B2C players, it is at least as critical in the B2B setting. While the nature of B2B relationships makes the reform challenge more difficult, with regard to customer and journey complexity, the competitive advantages and significant bottom-line gains that flow from it make the effort worthwhile.”

McKinsey and Co.

Transforming your business and reaching unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right strategies, frameworks, and tools in place, it’s an achievable reality. From embracing proven ITIL best practices, to mapping and understanding the entire customer journey, and leveraging advanced technology for optimized service delivery—each step brings you closer to a transformative change.

Some of the measurable benefits of service optimization include:

  • cost reductions
  • improved risk management
  • increased customer satisfaction
  • and ultimately, a boost in profits.

Embracing self-service, not as a replacement of your customer service agents, but as a complement to them, is about giving your customers the power to interact with your company on their terms, providing them with immediate, personalized, and efficient service.

The opportunity for improvement is boundless and the time to optimize is now. In the world of B2B, superior customer service isn’t just a competitive edge—it’s the catalyst for transformative change in your organization.

As a senior leader or a customer support role holder, understand that your influence is instrumental in driving this change. You are called upon to motivate, inspire, and lead by example. Gaining buy-in from all levels of the organization is crucial to the success of these transformative changes.

Together, let’s elevate your approach to customer service excellence.

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