For years, modern and individualized customer experiences based on cutting-edge technology have dominated the business to consumer (B2C) sector.
However, in the business to business (B2B) industry, outstanding customer experiences are becoming more important than ever, with many organizations developing user interfaces, such as portals, that resemble the personalized and rapid experiences found in the B2C market.
As more and more operations shift online, effective B2B customer experiences are becoming increasingly important for businesses.
According to Forrester, by 2021, B2B eCommerce would account for 13.1% of all B2B sales in the United States, demonstrating a continuous increase from the 11% share of B2B eCommerce in 2017. Furthermore, by the year 2023, customer experience will have surpassed price and product as the most important brand differentiator.
With B2B digital experiences becoming increasingly important to a company’s long-term success, it’s critical that organizations seek to develop and optimize their online presence. But the issue remains: what can be done to improve a successful B2B client experience?
What’s B2C’s Influence on B2B Customer Experiences?
According to a McKinsey study, B2B customer experience index ratings are significantly lower than B2C customer experience index ratings, with the average B2B company scoring below 50% compared to 65 to 85 percent for B2C enterprises. This suggests that the vast majority of B2B customer experience audience members are unhappy with their online interactions with industry companies.
In order to compete with one another in ways that aren’t seen as often in the B2B world, B2C enterprises are constantly giving the latest in digital experiences. As a result, continually rising customer expectations for B2C experiences are spilling over into the B2B realm.
B2B buyers currently believe that making a purchase is very complicated and time consuming, so it is even more important for sellers to provide well-designed user interfaces that remember their interests, services, and products that predict needs based on previous purchases, and other features that make the journey quick and easy to navigate for their B2B audiences.
What is Holding Back Your B2B Customer Experience?
According to Customer Think, just 17% of B2B enterprises have fully integrated customer data across the organization, which indicates that these companies’ decisions are frequently based on inaccurate or partial data insights.
If a company is unable to obtain customer insights from all departments, such as customer service or social media, they risk missing out on key aspects of the customer experience that have a significant impact on the overall quality of business interactions, as well as data that can provide a more accurate picture of each audience member.
Businesses may lack the capacity to fully govern and execute their customer experience strategy beyond gathering data to improve interactions. According to Accenture research, only 21% of B2B organizations have complete control over their sales partners, who are in charge of delivering CX to their target audience. Even a well-designed B2B user interface can result in an ineffective experience if a company is unable to establish how, when, and to whom these experiences are offered.
Back-end integration that allows for more accurate and timely access to customer data, modern interfaces that allow for personalization based on individual needs, and improved delivery systems that govern how these interfaces are delivered to audience members can all help to improve a company’s modern B2B customer experience.
How Can Business Experience Impact Your B2B Relationships?
Great customer experience strategies aim to create a frictionless environment in which users can have a journey that meets all of their needs as quickly and easily as feasible. While B2B audiences are less likely than B2C audiences to abandon a buying experience or switch to a rival because of a bad experience, the influence of bad experiences on long-term partnerships is constantly increasing. According to The Tempkin Group’s research on B2C and B2B experiences, 86 percent of individuals who have a positive customer experience are inclined to return for more.
However, only 13% of customers who had a poor customer experience will return, according to the report. Furthermore, according to Rosetta, engaged and satisfied customers will buy 50 percent more frequently and spend 200 percent more annually.
Creating outstanding B2B experiences is critical not only for keeping up with competition and audiences, but also for improving corporate performance. B2B organisations who modified their customer experience procedures found benefits similar to B2C companies, according to McKinsey, including a 10 to 15% increase in revenue, greater client satisfaction scores, improved employee happiness, and a 10 to 20% reduction in operational costs.
The combination of these advantages results in a stronger return on investment for B2B activities, which helps the organisation as a whole.
What Should Leaders Focus On When It Comes to B2B Customer Experience?
Digital disruption and transformation in the B2C industry is all around us, as we all know.
- No vehicles are owned by the world’s largest taxi firm.
- No real estate is owned by the main accommodation provider.
- There is no inventory at the most valuable retailer.
- There is no money in the fastest-growing banks.
- The largest telecommunications corporations do not own any telecom infrastructure.
Consider this: over 70% of B2B buyers say they would switch suppliers if the entire digital experience with another company was better, and 79% of B2B marketers believe a better online experience will alter their business.
What does this entail for your company’s manufacturing or distribution? Many, if not all, B2B companies are discovering that in order to satisfy their customers’ expectations and remain competitive, they must improve their business experience (BX).
How Can Business Experience (BX) Improve B2B Customer Experience?
The overall experience is a big reason why buyers choose to buy from certain vendors. When you examine all of the criteria, an online B2B customer experience requires many different unique business pieces to function together, and it may be rather difficult. Billing rules, procurement rules, large inventory, and dealer distribution networks all exist in B2B, but they don’t exist in B2C.
Digital commerce experts that work with B2B organizations will tell you that one thing holds true across all projects: the customer doesn’t always realize whether they’ve had a wonderful experience until they’ve had one. Apple has built a fortune by anticipating what a fantastic experience is and offering something that the client did not expect.
Many of us don’t realize how good a user experience is until it happens to us. In your market, the trick might be to start with your own brand.
Customers are more likely to return to a website that is well-designed and provides a positive user experience. Let’s look at the six most critical things you can do to improve your consumers’ online shopping experience:
Personalization is, without a doubt, the most crucial factor. According to Gartner, B2B enterprises who provide a more personalized experience through their ecommerce offering will outsell competitors by 30% by 2023.
Personalization for business-to-business transactions might be challenging. To design relevant processes and personalization features, you must first understand the demands of distinct user personas. B2B personalization is intelligent enough to recognize who is logging in, allowing you to assign very particular sequences for very specific actions to your customers.
One customer may be a branch buyer, but he may need to acquire approval from a corporate-level buyer, for example. Another customer may require a quote, which must be routed through the account manager’s sales person.
B2B personalisation speeds up order processing, increases order conversion, and builds customer loyalty.
Web Design and Usability
The whole customer experience is strongly tied to the user experience (UX) on your B2B ecommerce website. With words, photos, visual design, and interactive design, the UX weaved throughout your website design provides a conduit to quietly express your brand’s core messages and value propositions throughout the site.
Digital frills and flashy visuals may easily get in the way of effective UX design, jeopardising the very essence of what you want your website to do.
Three guiding principles will help you prevent this and focus your UX design efforts on providing an excellent B2B customer experience.
First, fish where the fish are. Half the time your online customers are using mobile devices, but the rest of the time they’re using a laptop or desktop. Welcome, all users with a website that accommodates all devices.
Second, make cognitive and emotional connections. Your website should instil confidence in your industry knowledge, product quality, and ability to comprehend your consumers’ business problems.
Third, make it simple to do business with you. Customers are more likely to buy from a company that assists them in performing their jobs more efficiently.
Product Content That’s Customer-centric
Boring product information isn’t going to help the customer experience. When it comes to switching to eCommerce, B2B companies often don’t devote enough time and resources to creating product content.
Typically, each product’s material is limited to its price, quantity, and a brief (and possibly useless) description. If this describes the quality of product content on your website, your users are likely to be dissatisfied with it.
Keep in mind that B2B purchasers are also consumers. When they’re seeking for anything or investigating a particular product, they want to be informed and motivated. You should invest in better photographs and videos, improve product descriptions and documentation, and even integrate product videos in order to create comprehensive and easy-to-consume material surrounding your products.
On your website, how easy is it for customers to find the things they’re looking for? How do you make it easy for them to place a short order or repeat a previous order? If your website lacks simple search and order capabilities, it may give the impression that your organization is disorganized.
Product data that is thorough and accurate is required for common features such as keyword search, logical product categories, and results that are arranged according to client choice.
Suggested search improves the customer experience by allowing customers to start typing a word, and then have autocomplete possibilities appear, sometimes with an image to help with order accuracy. (Once again, this is contingent on the fullness of your product’s content.)
Customers that visit your site frequently will benefit from quick order options, which allow them to order things using SKU or item numbers. They simply type the number, enter the quantity, and check out without having to search for a product or navigate through a series of pages to find what they require.
Another element that encourages client loyalty is the ability to repeat orders so that customers do not have to reorder commonly purchased items. Why would a consumer go to a competitor when the purchase they require is already completed and ready to go on your website with little changes?
Your website’s intuitive search capabilities demonstrate that you understand your clients’ demands and are giving features to make their lives easier.
Responsive Design For Mobile
Our tolerance for non-mobile websites is dwindling as we become more reliant on our mobile devices. We anticipate the same content when we visit a website full-screen on a huge monitor as we do when we visit it on a smartphone or tablet, despite the fact that we’re working in an entirely different footprint and using a completely different medium.
Mobile apps are transforming B2B markets in the same manner that they are transforming B2C markets. There are already B2B users in the field who use solely mobile devices and don’t utilise larger PCs at all.
The answers to a few crucial questions will determine whether you have one “responsive” website design that recognises the device and adapts accordingly, or two websites – one for larger PCs and one for mobile. What devices do your customers use today, and what devices will they use tomorrow? What level of content do they require to make a purchase decision?
When it comes to building a website for mobile devices, there are a lot of things to think about. You must decide on the level of personalisation you will provide mobile consumers. A research engineer on the manufacturing floor has different requirements than a corporate buyer in a cubicle.
The website’s general density and design should ensure that there isn’t too much on the screen. Remember that mobile consumers, like desktop users, require sophisticated search and filtering capabilities. Consider how much product information mobile customers should have access to, whether it’s the same as for desktop users or a condensed version.
Finally, order completion must be simple, which in B2B generally means that some users have credit, while others require POs, and still others require a credit card. Regardless of the many payment procedures behind the scenes, all users should feel that ordering from your website was made simple for them.
Fulfillment and Follow Through
Order fulfillment is one of the most important keys in the B2B customer experience. Ordering on your website was only half of the customer’s experience with your company. the follow through after the order is placed is critical and involves complex workflows.
Understanding your customers is essential for setting up a selling strategy that complements their procurement process, which is a major benefit of doing business with you. It could be that you need to support a dealer/distributor network, or that you need to handle purchase orders.
Integrating your backend systems is difficult, but necessary. What type of data must be sent in which direction and at what rate? If you want to genuinely deliver on your promise to give a pleasant customer experience, you need to know what happens behind the scenes when a consumer puts an order.
Delivering on the promise you make on your website is what fulfilment is all about. You are ensuring how your customer orders are processed and received, that repeat orders are filled accurately, that customer reviews are positive, and so on in the final steps of the order process. These final steps can be challenging to incorporate, but they’re essential for providing your clients with a positive experience.
At Kilowott, we craft a future and market-ready approach that helps businesses unlock profitable growth through the digitally enabled transformation of their sales, marketing, supply chain, and distribution channels. Let’s talk!