B2B vs. B2C Customer Service

BY Rachel Cagle
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Did you know that B2B companies score less than 50% in customer experience index ratings while their B2C counterparts average 65 – 85 percent? That’s one of the stunning statistics highlighted in Ganesh Mukundan’s article, “The Future of Customer Experience in B2B.” Mukundan believes that this may be because B2C companies incorporate customer service into every part of their businesses since the focus is more clearly on humans, while B2B companies tend to see their potential customers as whole businesses instead of as the individual beings they interact with. What can we learn from B2C companies that are setting the bar for your clients’ expected rates of service?

When you think about shopping at a B2C business, you'll often picture employees who will approach you to make sure you're finding what you need. This occurs both in person at brick and mortar stores and via chatboxes online. Is your customer service that proactive? Don't be afraid to reach out regularly; you never know when your clients may need help and just haven't asked for it.

A misconception you need to snuff out is that your product will do all the talking for you. That’s getting into the potentially harmful viewpoint of just looking at your client as a business that could benefit from what your company has to offer. B2B sales and customer service should be just as personal as B2C's; customers prefer to buy from people they like and get along with. How can they get to know you if you hide behind your product or service instead of interacting with them as humans? Don't forget to sell yourself along with your product.

Next, B2C service is generally more straightforward: these businesses have specific customer profiles they target, making it easier to determine what types of service those customers will expect. B2B products and services mostly target other companies as a whole, so you’re expected to be available in a wider variety of formats to accommodate a wider variety of people. You rarely know how a new client will reach out to you. From phone to email to in-​person, it all depends on the client's personality type. You need to be more flexible, and you can't show a preference for one format and ignore the others. Keep your clients comfortable by being available through the formats they prefer.

Lastly, B2C companies typically know how to handle a crisis. To avoid having their customers potentially cause a scene in the store or all over their social media pages, these businesses often have a set policy for how to deal with faulty products and dissatisfied customers, and the employees keep their cool as they handle the ordeal as quickly as possible. B2B companies need to do the same. Are you coming up with a solution to your clients' problems ASAP, or are you spending time making excuses? Do you have a plan that will help move the process along with a personalized touch to encourage them to continue working with you? If you don't, I'd say it’s time you sat down and thought that out.