Improving the B2B (Business-to-Business) customer experience is often not a priority because it represents a distinct marketing and customer support challenge. Unlike B2C (Business-to-Consumer) businesses, which more easily recognize how they can stoke customer loyalty and appreciation, B2B businesses may find themselves uncertain of how to proceed or improve. For these reasons, the B2B customer experience represents a treasure trove of untapped value propositions and clever loyalty-building that will drive sales.
A study from B2B International found that an astonishing 86% of sizable B2B companies were not customer-centric. Imagine how much opportunity has been squandered then by businesses who could pay greater attention to how customers feel, why they purchase when they do, and what helps them remain committed. Today, there are many tools that can provide the foundation for positive word of mouth, satisfied customers, and a company culture where the belief in keeping customers happy is thoroughly established.
Here, we’ll dive into the ways tools like remote expert guidance using Augmented Reality (AR) can improve the process of installing or maintain equipment sold by B2B companies, as well as the key aspects that contribute to a customer-centric culture and the method you can use to set a course for success.
When B2B International assessed B2B customer experience excellence, they identified ‘six pillars,’ including commitment, fulfillment, seamlessness, responsiveness, proactivity, and evolution. The second of these, fulfillment, is the one where most companies hit a snag and fail to deliver on the rest. You may recognize what your customers want and need, but how well are you delivering value?
Many B2B-oriented companies are installing, maintaining, and managing the uptime of another company’s equipment, such as in a factory or distribution center. In today’s digital climate, being able to provide an integrated virtual solution to those situations is crucial. Remote expert guidance via AR merges two real-time video streams and provides lifelike cues so that a user and an expert can interact as if they were together in person.
The possibilities for improving the B2B customer experience with this technology are endless. Most importantly, it allows your ‘business’ customer to immediately request and receive assistance with their equipment or service without having to wait for a technician to arrive. Fulfillment is thus more easily supported when you can provide a lifeline to customers who may experience challenges or need assistance troubleshooting at any given moment.
You’ll be more effective in leveraging tools like remote expert guidance when you identify the main aspects that contribute to a better customer experience. There are measurable factors you can assess based on data related to customer retention, customer re-purchasing of products or services, and customer loyalty duration.
There are three primary features of a company that maintains a strong customer-centric culture: (1) how effectively you listen to customers, (2) how well and quickly you implement customer concerns/needs, and (3) how consistently you actively seek customer feedback. In a B2B situation, it may seem like you and your customer are peers, but that doesn’t mean the bare minimum of professionalism is enough.
Think of companies like Amazon that are known for cultivating deep and abiding customer loyalty. They do it by being all-encompassing, always available, and quick to respond. If you can get back to your customer quickly, without expecting them to give you a break or understand because they are also a business, then you will stand out far above your competition. Investing in tools like Augmented Reality demonstrates your desire to ensure customers always have the support they need. You must give the impression that you are making a concerted effort, while also ensuring that there are real humans for customers to get answers from.
But how do you make improving B2B customer experience a reality? Sure, you can start the process of implementing AR, encourage employees to maintain responsiveness with their contacts, and reach out to customers to determine their desires, but what steps are most important and in what order?
Below, we have outlined four steps that will lead you in the right direction to ensure your company culture is customer-centric.
There is no point in just jumping into improvements when you don’t have a sense of where you are starting. Take the time to carefully document how well your employees meet customer needs, how satisfied customers are, and what their behaviors tend to be. Start by assigning the task to a few trusted sources and encourage transparency.
Next, you need to implement a new set of best practices to remedy areas you may be weak in and maintain those you are already strong in. This may involve integrating tools like remote expert guidance, introducing them to your customer base, and training employees. Make sure you are measuring impact and collecting data throughout.
No tool is beneficial unless people understand how to use it effectively. Any technology you rely on to smooth and improve the customer experience must be thoughtfully chosen. This is to ensure all employees are comfortable with it. Your staff will become more customer-centric if they don’t feel it upends their entire workflow. Take the time to help them adjust to the transition.
Any noble endeavor may start to lose its energy after a while. There will come a point when employees are less motivated and the challenges of change start to take a toll. Remember to reset once progress starts to lag and hone back in on the tools and techniques that will ensure a better B2B customer experience. That may mean refreshing with new training sessions, holding some motivational meetings, and finding ingenious ways to keep employees excited about the new initiative.
It is in your power to improving B2B customer experience something your clients will treasure. You’ll stand out by listening to issues and needs, acting on those tasks efficiently, and then gathering intel on the results. This cycle sounds simple but is much harder to make work without the use of modern tech tools like remote expert guidance.
Help Lightning provides the power of Augmented Reality to companies who want a leg up on providing immediate, virtual expertise to their customer base. Learn more about getting started with AR.
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