What do B2B customers expect?
Attracting customers is essential for the growth of your B2B or Business-to-Business company. The best way of doing so is by meeting their needs. For years, B2B customers have been distinguished from B2C target audiences. However, in the most recent years, we have been noticing a shift, initiated by the changing behavior and needs of B2B customers.
Different behavior and new needs
We are noticing that B2B customers will refer to their experiences as a private consumer to support their needs. A purchasing manager signing a quote for a new machine for his company in the afternoon, is later that evening shopping online for a birthday present for his partner. The excellent customer experiences on the B2C market have set new standards: online purchases should occur on an incredibly user-friendly and fast platform. This convenience has impacted the way customers think about their B2B transactions.
Customers are now more focused on the ease of use. They no longer want to have to rely on sales representatives for every purchase. They want to buy products themselves and prefer doing so digitally. An online self-service tool has therefore become a must in the B2B market. The user-friendliness of a said tool has to be the main priority, just like in B2C. With a self-service tool you can therefore fulfill the new needs of B2B customers.
How to engage B2B customers today
How can you meet the expectations B2B customers have about your self-service platform? There are three pillars that distinguish a good tool from a bad one. We’re bundling some of our tips using these pillars.
Customers are used to the speed that B2C giants offer in the form of next-day delivery and a customer service that replies to questions within 24 hours. Don’t let your customers wait for weeks on information or on quotations. Offer a self-service platform that is available 24/7 so customers can make their own quotations or place orders. By doing so, you are taking away a huge obstacle for buyers. Besides, research shows that the first manufacturer who delivers an accurate quote closes the deal more than 60% of the time (Forbes, 2019). There’s no time to lose!
- Ease of use
Make sure that your self-service tool is extremely user-friendly. Customers should be able to find installation guides, spare parts, technical sheets and more within seconds. They don’t want to lose time on tasks like these. By integrating your platform to your product and business rules, you can ensure that every order is validated, avoiding costly mistakes and once again, winning time!
By communicating openly and clearly, you build a relationship of trust with your customer. That is why we recommend being transparent about things like pricing, order and delivery information, and discounts. Customers should be able to consult this information easily on the purchasing platform. On top of that, B2B customers expect to get insights in stock levels, order status and other changing data concerning the products they are interested in. To optimize their experience, you should share this information on the platform.
These tips will help you to create and offer a customer experience that is more aligned with the new needs of B2B customers. Provide a self-service tool so they no longer have to rely on sales representatives. Use our three pillars to set the priorities straight: speed, ease of use, and transparency. That is how you make sure customers love buying from you, which leads to more sales!
Curious how you can improve your self-service platform for customers? Contact us!
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