How to Give Your B2B Customers a Better Online Experience

What Do B2B Customers Really Want?

Business to business (B2B) customers may be buying for their companies. But they’re still people and they still have needs and preferences that you can cater to. In fact, B2B customers are often more demanding than consumers because their time is limited, and they have more at stake if they make a poor buying decision. As a vendor, one way to give B2B customers more of what they want is to deliver a better online experience

You can start by eliminating frustration points. B2B decision makers get frustrated with a clunky ordering process, having issues when looking for the products they need, suffering from technical issues, and being targets of pushy sales tactics, among others. Here, BairesDev presents more tips for improving the online experience for B2B customers.

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Get on the Customer-Centric Bandwagon

There’s a good reason savvy companies are obsessed with customer experience (CX): it costs less to retain existing customers than to attract new ones. Loyal customers not only spend more per purchase, but buy more frequently, post positive reviews, and refer you to their colleagues. CX is the entirety of a customer’s interactions with your company, so you must make every touchpoint a positive one. 

In terms of online experience, positive CX can come from things like:

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    Frictionless purchasing process
    Features like detailed specification information, use cases, buying guides, and easy comparisons can help B2B customers make decisions easily.
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    Quick purchasing process
    The above functions must be fast as well as easy. In the time it takes for a B2B customer to search for a comparison tool, they can just as easily navigate away from your website altogether.
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    Effective communication
    Finding the right balance in communication with B2B customers isn’t easy. You must keep them apprised of their orders, send information about other products they may be interested in, and invite them to buy from you again, without overwhelming them.
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    Help with purchasing when needed
    If a B2B customer has questions, it’s essential that someone from your business is available to answer them. Yet, it’s equally important that those same customers don’t get flooded with information about your products.
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    Opportunities to provide feedback
    Rather than sending a pages-long survey, get quick feedback from customers at every touchpoint. For example, ask for a star rating on each website visit, or send a one-question survey through email following a customer care interaction.

B2B Customers Need Control

The bottom line for giving B2B customers a better online experience is giving them control. One example is self-help options that enable them to reorder, check the status of an order, review or pay invoices, or get help when they need it. Here are some additional methods for giving customers ownership of their purchasing process:

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    Offer personalization
    Shopping with your company shouldn’t be the same for everyone. To create a unique experience for each customer, provide relevant product recommendations, deliver useful content , and make suggestions for product use.
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    Create subscriptions
    Make B2B customers’ lives easier by creating subscriptions for products they order regularly. If you take both the purchasing and payment processes off their plates, you’re giving them back time to perform more mission-critical tasks.
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    Provide flexible billing
    Each company that buys from you has its own cash flow cycles. Make it easy for them to adjust how and how often you bill them, whether it’s once per week, once per quarter, or once per year.
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    Integrate omnichannel customer service
    Today’s B2B customers need to be able to reach you in the time and manner of their choosing. They also need their information to be available across different channels. Giving them the choice between text, email, chat, and voice enables them to access your representatives in a way that works best for them.
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    Refine the sales process
    Sure, you get all kinds of great data from your website about customer activity. But you need to use it smartly. Bombarding customers who have visited your site with emails will only push them away. Determine key points in the purchasing process and deliver on-target messages to support their buyer journey.

Educate and Support

As you can see from the advice we’ve given so far, the key to providing B2B customers with a better online experience is the experience part. While of course you want to do what’s best for your bottom line, think of your role as one of education, advice, and support. If you do that job well, your bottom line will be very well served. Here are a few examples of how to fill that role:

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    Understand their needs
    It’s likely you collect valuable data on your website and other online resources. Use it to understand B2B customer and prospect patterns and potential needs. Once you’ve taken this step, use the suggestions below to help them fulfill those needs.
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    Provide useful information
    Know what B2B customers are looking for in terms of information about your products and services. Understand that it may be different from the information you think they should have. Use data resources like search terms and reasons for calling customer support as hints.
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    Dispense advice
    The key here is to serve in the role of an objective advisor, not a salesperson. It might take some mental gymnastics to make the switch but remember that B2B customers who see their vendor as someone they can trust are likely to return the favor with loyalty.
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    Maintain a relationship
    The sales process isn’t complete the minute a B2B customer has paid their bill. Be sure to reach out with post-purchase care to make sure everything is working out the way they had hoped. This phase is also a great time to offer suggestions for different product uses.
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    Deliver proactive customer service
    This might sound like taking CX a bit too far but think about it. Most customers follow a fairly predictable path through the customer journey. You can know what actions might be helpful to reach out with even before your customers do. For example, if they purchased a printer, engage with them when it’s time for a new toner cartridge.

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