There's a lot of excitement about new technology in customer service. Every day customer service is gaining more relevance and consequently many organizations are attempting to modify the way they provide support. But tread carefully—if you’re thinking of cutting customer service corners, think again.
The cost of poor customer service can be catastrophic. On the flipside, get it right and you’ll reap huge benefits. That’s why many so B2B companies are trying to figure out what comprises their most effective customer service tech stack.
How do Customer Service objectives differ between B2C and B2B?
The truth is, service objectives are largely the same regardless of whether you’re servicing a business user or an end consumer: You need to respond and resolve customer issues as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Nonetheless, how you go about servicing these users does vary from B2C to B2B. We looked at some of the trends we typically see in our own B2B customer base:
- Complexity—Problems in the B2B space tend to be more complex and require more back-and-forth communication than issues in the B2C space.
- Further-reaching ramifications—Many B2B companies are selling large and complex products or solutions to their customers, so every interaction has a larger revenue implications.
- Multiple potential contact points—This can lead to duplicate efforts by support agents and a lack of understanding. Also, the more customer interactions, the more costly for your business.
- Volume—The reach of B2B software products is often smaller, so challenges that come up are encountered by fewer users. This means a community for users to share challenges and best practices is incredibly helpful for their success.
Customer service in B2B SaaS
Even in B2B, mass customization and the great variety of choices on the market means many companies are vying for the same customer’s business. DMUs aren’t only making purchase decisions based on price and product functionality, but assessing Total Cost of Ownership over the lifetime of SaaS product use.
The success they see from your product is impacted by the effectiveness of your customer service, so having a robust offering here is key to winning new business. More importantly, though: retention is fast becoming the key strategic goal of B2B SaaS companies—even over attracting new users. This shift is so powerful that it’s revolutionizing customer service, particularly with the advent of chatbots, social media interactions, communities and knowledge base centers, to name but a few.
It’s time to acknowledge that great customer service is integral for success. So invest in your customer support team and their tooling stack and provide a better customer service experience by diversifying service options.
How do you diversify your support offering with the right options? Understand your users inside-out.
A deep knowledge of what your customers require means you can provide the right support content using channels that suit your users. Think: self-service support options, user communities to take the load off, and contextual support directly in-product to give your users a seamless workflow that drastically improves user experience. Do this right and you’ll not only increase loyalty, but even transform users into brand ambassadors.
Here are some probing questions your support team can ask themselves to stay on track:
- Are we providing our support in the right way, using the channels that best suit our users while keeping us effective as a team or support desk?
- How is our competition doing when it comes to the support experience?
- What are key customer pain-points we keep experiencing and how can we alleviate these upfront to deflect repeat tickets?
- What are potential challenges my customers might face with our product? Can we proactively mitigate these before they arise with support content?
Regularly reevaluate these questions and determine which support solutions best serve your customers’ needs.
Of course, not all companies keep these questions in mind...
Where do companies go wrong?
One of the most common mistakes we see is in B2B providers putting all their eggs in one basket when it comes to service channels. Whether it be a knowledge base, live chat, a ticketing system, a community—whatever you do, don’t rely on just one form of customer service.
Some other key roots of service dissatisfaction include:
- Answers to customer queries are not readily available or clearly displayed online in a help center, knowledge base or FAQ format
- Users wait too long for a response to their request
- Customers are ‘passed around’ between multiple support agents. 72% of customers hate this, and whilst it can’t always be avoided, it’s important to find a way to deal with it more smoothly.
Diversify your support channels
It won’t come as news to you that attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one. It could even be argued, then, that customer service is the new marketing—especially when an increase of 5% in customer retention can produce 25% more profit.
So what can you do to increase focus on customer retention?
Diversify your support channels to ensure you’re servicing all of your users in an optimal manner. Utilizing your existing user community to help enrich and populate an online knowledge base is one way of doing exactly that. Research has shown that 67% of customer service interactions can be handled by a dedicated community of core customers and over 60% of US consumers prefer self-service for simple customer service tasks.
A platform where users can ask any kind of question about your product and where all knowledge base answers are stored and easily searchable, significantly boosts customer satisfaction and retention. At inSided, our clients see an average 13% increase in retention when they combine their user community with their knowledge base. Combining a self-service community with a knowledge base is clearly the way forward!
This blog post was written by Gonçalo Melo and edited by Ben Robinson.