There are several universal truths in business, but maybe none are as true as this: No matter what you do, there is likely to be a customer out there who will have a bad experience. It happens in every industry and in every sector of business. Companies either learn how to handle problems or they risk losing customers. And yet, when it comes to the business-to-business (B2B) sector, lots of companies are doing a poor job addressing customer concerns. Twenty percent of B2B customers report having problems, and 60% of them say their problems didn’t get resolved.*
This is a serious problem for the B2B entities. But it also poses some real opportunities. If you want to start or advance a career in business, learning how to resolve B2B customer service issues can help lead a business to greater success. Here’s what you need to know to do just that.
Better Customer Service Means Better Business Results
Research has shown time and again that properly engaging your customers through the customer life cycle can lead to business success. How much success? The Gallup organization, which has worked extensively with businesses on customer engagement, has found that, compared with bottom-performing groups, groups that engage customers realize:†
- 50% higher revenue/sales.
- 33% greater likelihood to be first choice for future business.
- 34% higher profitability.
- 63% lower customer attrition.
- 55% higher share of wallet.
- 32% fewer days sales outstanding (i.e., your customers will pay you sooner).
You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel to Improve Customer Service
The customer service performance of B2B companies might lead you to believe that the nature of B2B makes providing good customer service difficult. However, that’s not the case. B2B customer service does tend to differ from B2C (business-to-consumer) customer service, but high-performing companies have found plenty of ways to keep their customer service problems to a minimum. If you want to improve your B2B customer service, you need to:
Understand your customers’ business.
Take time to understand why and how a customer is using your goods or services. This can help you anticipate, understand, and better resolve problems.
Treat sales as partnerships.
B2B tends to be more complex than other types of business. To help avoid miscommunication, treat your sales like partnerships. You’re not just selling a good or service, you’re helping another business reach its goals.
Get everyone involved in customer service.
When a problem with a B2B customer arises, it usually requires the involvement of more than a single contact person to resolve. Because of this, you would be wise to promote a culture where everyone in your business understands the value of working diligently to resolve customer problems.
Lean on your leaders.
When a customer has a problem, they want to feel like you’re taking it seriously. Involving your top leadership in customer complaints can go a long way toward demonstrating your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to leverage your company’s leadership to maintain relationships.
Not take good customers for granted.
Many B2B companies have long-standing relationships with their top customers. This can lead to complacency. Don’t assume your long-term customers are accepting of your mistakes. Instead, work with them to identify and make improvements before issues arise.
Ask your customers to tell you what you can be doing better. Many big problems start out as smaller ones that your customers may not mention unless engaged by you. Establishing a system of feedback helps ensure strong communication between you and your customers.
Earning a Business Administration Degree Can Give You a Leg Up
If you want to become truly versed in customer service, you should consider earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Through a business administration degree program, you can gain insights into many facets of business and learn the skills you need to be a successful business leader.
Thanks to online learning, you can even earn a bachelor’s in business administration while you continue to work. That’s because online business degree learning platforms can provide both convenience and flexibility. Instead of attending classes at a specific place and time, an online university gives you the opportunity to complete coursework from home on a schedule that can allow you to continue working full time.
Many B2B companies need employees who know how to provide strong customer service. When you earn your bachelor of business administration online, you can become just such a leader.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online BS in Business Administration degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*A. Adkins, Big Problem for B2Bs: Resolving Customer Problems, Gallup Business Journal, on the internet at www.gallup.com/businessjournal/189986/big-problem-b2bs-resolving-customer-problems.aspx?g_source=B2B&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles.
†Gallup, Maximizing Business-to-Business Customers: A Better Way to Grow, on the internet at www.gallup.com/services/170852/b2b.aspx?utm_source=gbj&utm_medium=copy&utm_campaign=20160322.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.