When the topic of customer satisfaction arises, the modern mindset leaps immediately to the traditional retail realm of B2C relationships and starts compiling all the exciting new ways to keep track of, as well as boost their success. Yet, this same mindset is becoming increasingly essential in the world of B2B, since a customer-focused approach dictates the long-term success and the quality of relationships built in both B2B and B2C. You may not create a standard questionnaire or stick to a classic social media scheme to delve deeper into the minds of your customers, but B2B is in dire need of redirecting their focus to their customer pool.
In fact, it is expected for customer experience to play a key role in B2B sales by 2020 -even larger than the price or product which were seen as essential until recently. It has already become such an important factor in doing business that 66% of B2B customers stop buying from a vendor after a poor customer experience. With all that in mind, the importance of keeping an eye on your customer satisfaction cannot be overstated – so let’s see which factors come into play as the most important ones for your business.
Who’s your target?
When your company strives to make actual changes in how you handle your customers, then selecting a random group of people from the businesses you work with will mean little for your efforts. However, if you take your time to find the key stakeholders and influencers who are a part of regular transactions, and work directly with your company, you’ll know how to tailor your questions and what to do with the feedback.
You should aim at companies and their long-standing employees who have done business with you for a significant amount of time, since they’ll have meaningful comments to offer. Acting on what just a prospect or a one-time customer has to say would be a waste of time, since your sales are driven by those who stick with you for a reason. By asking them the right questions, you can establish the mechanism to reinforce those reasons and inspire them to remain your clients.
Third-party or direct surveys
Just like it’s important to choose the right interviewees for your questions, it’s equally relevant to find a suitable person to lead the survey. Both approaches have their perks and disadvantages, it all depends on which will work best for your own company and your existing relationships with your clients. Keep in mind that fewer, better focused questions are always better than bombarding them with endless series of questions that yield little to no relevant information.
If you go with a third-party led survey, you should aim for someone who knows and understands your brand, but has never dealt with your clients per say – an advisor or a board member will do. For the other option, your senior managers make for solid candidates, although they might not be ideal since your customers may hold back some of their thoughts for the sake of protecting their relationship with your company.
Real-time data monitoring
As any marketer knows well – numbers never lie, so it makes perfect sense to base your future client-retention efforts as well as signing new clients with regards to the way their key performance indicators (also known as KPIs) play into the CX equation. There are several metrics that most B2B companies focus on, such as your revenue growth rate, the lifetime value of your customers, churn rate, as well as project-specific metrics that let you know if you’re on schedule.
What’s crucial to remember is that these metrics are fluid; they are much like a living, breathing entity, and they change constantly. Hence the need to monitor your KPI dashboard at all times and see where you can adjust your performance in order to achieve greater customer satisfaction. When you succeed, it will be reflected in your profit growth, but also your ability to retain, as well as sign new long-term clients.
Tracking your NPS and CSAT
The notion of customer satisfaction (CSAT) is predominantly used in determining your short-term success over a particular transaction and it’s typically conducted immediately when that transaction is complete. A typical example is a short survey over the phone or online that you are asked to take in order for the company to know if you’ve been satisfied with that particular exchange. Although it’s short-term, it gives you invaluable insight into your customer service’s daily success rate.
On the other hand, the net promoter score (NPS) is a much more specific indicator of lasting success, because it focuses on asking questions that define your customer satisfaction over a longer period of time. A perfect example would be: “Would you recommend our service to a friend or a partner company?” Such in-depth questions allow you to see the quality of your relationship with your customers, letting you make a difference where it truly matters for the future of your company.
By Nate Vickery