There’s a tendency to think of customer experience (CX) as a measure of the relationship between businesses and consumers, but business-to-business (B2B) transactions require every bit as much attention. Given the size of the markets, you might even argue that it is far more important to understand how your business customers are feeling.
Although there are far more business-to-consumer (B2C) companies around the world, they don’t do near the sales of their B2B counterparts. Because B2B companies are selling to large businesses instead of individuals, they tend to get much larger orders with far more value than B2C transactions. According to 2019 figures from Statista, the global B2B e-commerce market was valued at $12.2 trillion — more than six times the value of the B2C market.
Creating a strong customer experience is now a strategic priority for B2B organizations, in part because of their increasing focus on providing consulting, accounting, legal and other types of services to business customers. Companies that sell services are essentially selling themselves, their expertise and their reputation, and that requires building lasting relationships through exceptional customer service.
That’s certainly what B2B customers expect. Nearly 90 percent of business buyers in a Salesforce study said the customer experience is as important as a company’s products and services, and 82 percent say they are willing to pay more for a great experience.
Although B2C companies have long tracked the customer experience, B2B companies have been late to the game. According to McKinsey & Company management consultants, B2B customer-experience index ratings significantly trail those of retail customers. While typical scores for B2C companies range between 65 percent and 85 percent, B2B companies average less than 50 percent.
CX index ratings are typically calculated using a variety of metrics that quantify customer feelings and perceptions across numerous touchpoints along the customer journey. Social media platforms, virtual collaboration tools, video conferencing solutions, customer portals and cloud-based contact centers are among the digital touchpoints that companies use to maintain customer relationships.
Modern contact center platforms can help B2B organizations evaluate the customer experience over multiple touchpoints. Solutions such as Mitel’s MiCloud Engage Contact Center feature omnichannel communication capabilities that allow customers to communicate with businesses by phone, email, live chat, text, mobile apps or social media on the device of their choice.
In an omnichannel contact center, all these communication channels are fully integrated, providing customers with a seamless experience regardless of the channel they use. This also makes it possible for organizations to deliver personalized service based on the customer’s history and preferences.
An important feature of omnichannel contact centers is the ability to capture, aggregate and analyze customer history data. This allows you to see what’s happening during each interaction of the customer journey and pick up signals that indicate customer preferences, intent and satisfaction. Based on these insights, you can make data-driven decisions at every point of the customer journey to improve the customer satisfaction.
Customer experience evaluations are typically associated with consumer-focused organizations, but they are becoming increasingly important in the B2B space. However, B2B experiences are a bit more complicated because they involve companies with multiple stakeholders rather than individual consumers. Modern contact center solutions such as MiCloud Engage have the rich features businesses need to extract insights all along the customer journey to better understand the experience of their business customers.