Guest Post by Robert C. Johnson: Robert is co-founder and CEO of TeamSupport.com, a cloud-based, B2B software application built to help customer-facing support teams serve clients better through stronger collaboration, superior teamwork, and faster issue resolution.
Over the years, the B2B (business-to-business) industry hasn’t exactly taken to adopting the latest customer engagement technology as quickly as its B2C (business to consumer) counterparts. Be it the evolution of the internet or more recently smartphones, the ever-changing consumer has been more agile and modern than the traditional B2B customer. However, don’t forget that a B2B customer is also a B2C consumer on their own time, when they email a retailer about a birthday present or have a live chat about movie tickets. With this exposure to omnichannel B2C engagement methods, some B2B customers by comparison are becoming underwhelmed with their customer engagement options in the workplace.
So how can organizations in the B2B industry improve and widen their customer engagement through omnichannel tactics to meet these evolving expectations? Here are 5 ways B2B companies are currently implementing these strategies through modern customer support software…
1. Cut through the clutter with a customer support hub
Many B2B companies have a phone number for all of their customer needs, but why don’t they have a single place online with the same capabilities? Nothing contributes more to a disjointed customer experience than having information in many different places without a central location to access it all. Customer support software can not only create a centralized location for you that integrates directly with the software but also enables a customer to view documentation (knowledge base articles, wiki, etc.) and check on the status of a ticket in real-time.
2. Make sure your customer experience is mobile friendly
Did you know that 52% of B2B customers are less likely to engage with a company if their experience isn’t mobile friendly? Spending thousands on a mobile site tomorrow might not be realistic for many B2B companies, but at a minimum creating a clear link to your customer hub on your homepage is a good first step. It’s frustrating to a customer when they can’t figure out how to get help when they need it on the go, but the right customer support software automatically creates a mobile friendly and customizable customer support hub right out of the box.
3. Omnichannel ticket creation and information sharing
Many B2B companies are amazed when they see how information can be shared within customer support software. This is especially true with the ticket creation process. For example, not only can a ticket be created through all traditional channels (such as phone, email, and live chat) but a conversation that starts on live chat can be automatically converted to an email ticket with no information lost should the customer not have the time to get their issue resolved during the chat session.
4. Improve internal communication and solve problems faster
This is one of the least praised but more powerful benefits of implementing a customer support software solution. You’d be surprised how many B2B companies have stuck with their current solution “because it isn’t broken” and they don’t want to rock the boat. Sure, it may still work, but optimizing it can save considerable time and money. For example, the right support software can track products and inventory for each customer, enable internal chat and ticket actions, and can auto-generate customer reports. It also allows for other non-support departments (such as sales and marketing) to gain access to support intelligence to understand how relationships with customers are going – it’s probably not a good idea to attempt an upsell of a new feature to a customer with a high customer distress rating.
According to recent research by Accenture, 48% of B2B companies cited technology integrations as being one of the top barriers or challenges inhibiting their customer engagement strategy initiatives. This is especially true for B2B companies who sell or track products online as they must syndicate this information throughout all of their technology systems. The right customer support software has the ability to create custom integrations with any systems necessary as well as pre-built standard integrations with popular software (primarily CRM software suites).
In conclusion, B2B customer engagement through omnichannel tactics is not only possible but it is also profitable once a company leverages the right customer support software. This technology enables employees to resolve customer issues more efficiently, communicate better with each other, and seamlessly share information with other systems. All of this, combined with a one-stop digital customer hub that universally supports customers online, only leads to improved relationships between a customer and a company in the B2B world.