Satisfaction. The word can bring contentment or dread depending on your strategy.
When it comes to crafting the best B2B customer journey, satisfaction rests at the heart of everything. From the impression, your ads leave to the long-term feeling customers hold toward your brand, every stage of the marketing funnel needs to consider satisfaction to some degree.
One of the biggest B2B lead generation challenges is understanding how to delight and satisfy people before they convert. Many businesses focus on satisfaction as a benefit to choosing their product, not a natural occurrence from simply engaging with them.
Changing this can transform your B2B strategy and reinvent the way you think about your leads.
In this article, we’ll explore how B2B customer satisfaction impacts your company’s success and what strategies you can use to make every interaction a positive one.
Let’s get started!
What is B2B Customer Satisfaction?
Sit back and think about the last time you had a really great customer experience. You know, one that you wanted to share with others so they can experience it too.
What stood out to you? You know that you were satisfied, but what specifically brought out that feeling? Was it the way the company connected with you on a personal level or was it the way they educated you about their product offerings without being intrusive?
Now, think about a time when you had a poor customer experience. You might have walked away feeling angry, let down, and ultimately decided that you no longer wanted to do business with that company. You probably also wanted to share this experience with others to prevent them from being disappointed as well.
Creating a positive customer experience doesn’t only exist between business and consumer. It’s equally important to ensure customer satisfaction in the B2B sector as well.
B2B experiences should mirror those same experiences seen in the B2C space with simplicity, usefulness, and most importantly, personalization along every step of the journey.
Why Customer Satisfaction Matters for B2B
Although it may sound like a generalization, it’s probably safe to say that most customer experience strategy sessions usually begin with flawed assumptions of what your ideal customer really wants.
Not that you don’t want what’s best for your customer, it’s just that sometimes a brand’s vision can become a bit obscured, especially when you’re marketing B2B.
When strategy teams talk about the competitive advantages of creating a more customer-centric organization, they’re usually only focused on their interactions with consumers.
And while this should be the focus when working in the B2C sector, we’ve learned that it’s also equally important to have that same customer-centric mindset in the B2B space.
But make no mistake. It’s fundamental to not only understand that it’s a complex process requiring specific marketing strategies to create customer satisfaction in the B2B sector at every stage, but also the understanding that B2B lead nurturing isn’t the same as B2C.
B2B vs B2C Customer Experiences
It’s important to remember that in B2B there is not just one customer; it’s an entire organization that you need to impress. That means understanding their needs, so you can create ongoing positive experiences.
In addition, B2B lead nurturing is quite different from nurturing B2C relationships. In fact, one of the most prevalent B2B lead generation challenges is understanding that customer journeys are quite different when compared to those of retail consumers.
B2B organizations usually offer more products and services than B2C businesses. The offerings tend to be very specific and may also consist of a variety of products or services offered together. As such, the customer journeys that you need to focus on are far more complex and are based on continuous interactions along multiple sales touchpoints.
B2B marketers need to be much more selective and detailed in their marketing; their audiences tend to be narrower than B2C brands, so they need to be highly in touch with their prospects to create responsive, satisfying marketing content.
It’s about so much more than just making another sale. It’s about building loyalty and ultimately real relationships that continue to deliver customer satisfaction.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction as a B2B Brand
Measuring your customer satisfaction in B2B can be broken down into three categories: Marketing KPIs, Customer Feedback and Metrics Analysis.
Customer feedback with surveys
When implemented properly, B2B customer satisfaction surveys are a tried-and-true method of collecting feedback. Collectively and on an individual level, you can address customer feedback and resolve any issues in a systematic fashion. Your surveys need to be targeted at both the customers and the questions being asked. This again means putting yourself in their shoes to ask the right kinds of questions.
Analysis of customer commentary
Analysis of customer commentary is another way to gauge levels of brand awareness and B2B customer satisfaction. Successful analysis identifies specific keywords and clues that zero in on your results, clarify customers’ feelings, and help to track changes of those feelings over time. Also referred to as social listening, you need to be listening where your B2B leads spend most of their time; i.e. LinkedIn.
Tracking NPS and CSAT
Keeping your finger on the pulse of consumers’ sentiments towards your brand enables you to stay on top of customer satisfaction. Two invaluable metrics for gauging B2B customer satisfaction are Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Capturing NPS can help gauge where your business stands in terms of loyalty. Does your client recommend you to colleagues or turn a blind eye? NPS is found by asking customers one simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?” The responses are then used to classify customers into:
- Promoters (scores 9-10)
- Passives (scores 7-8)
- Detractors (scores 0-6)
Subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters gives you the NPS.
The CSAT score, on the other hand, is determined by questioning customers about their satisfaction with a particular experience or transaction. Questions like “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?” or “How satisfied are you with our product?” often work well. Your CSAT score is then calculated as the average rating on your chosen scale.
While formal customer feedback provides direct insight into your customers’ thoughts, there’s an entire universe of unsolicited feedback and conversations happening out there. They happen daily on social media, review sites, forums, and beyond. This is where social listening comes in.
Social listening means scanning digital spaces to understand what’s being said about your brand, who’s saying it, and where those conversations occur. It ranges from tracking mentions of your brand name to identifying instances where someone might express a need that your product or service could fill.
Remember: people talk. And they tweet, post, share, and comment too! Social listening tools allow your business to detect customer satisfaction trends before they become official statistics. It presents an opportunity to respond to feedback in real-time and identify opportunities for improvement.
Beyond reacting to individual comments or complaints, social listening allows you to pick up on broader themes or issues affecting overall customer satisfaction. So tune into the chatter. Engage with meaningful conversations around your brand. Because knowing what’s said about you when you’re “not in the room” might be some of the most valuable feedback you’ll ever receive.
The days of face-to-face meetings are few and far between. Instead, following up on the phone, albeit via call or text, is the best way to stay in touch with both customers and potential leads. While some people prefer texting, reaching out with a voice call offers something more personal.
It shows B2B leads that you’re serious about doing business with them, and that they’re more than just another faceless entity. Even 10-minute conversations can give insight into how your current B2B customer satisfaction levels, or what’s preventing leads from making a final decision to work with you.
How B2B Companies Can Elevate Customer Satisfaction
Make connection seamless
Ensure that your customer communication channels are easy and accessible to everyone. Whether they’re reaching out for support or inquiring for more information, there should be an instantaneous action someone can take to connect with your business.
Consider integrating features like chatbots and B2B appointment setting services. These can help your brand boost customer engagement and streamline your conversations with every segment of your audience. Moreover, these high-tech integrations are available even when you aren’t.
Improve Responsiveness in Terms of Time and Quality
Time is of the essence whenever a customer has a question or concern. How quickly and, more importantly, how effectively you respond can make a world of difference in their satisfaction with your B2B company.
A timely response shows your customers that you value their time and business. Building and maintaining an efficient system for handling customer inquiries and feedback is vital. From email support to social media interactions, be sure to reply promptly. Don’t leave them hanging.
But time shouldn’t compromise quality. It’s not just about quickly firing off a response but ensuring it addresses your customer’s concern effectively and thoroughly. Empower your customer service representatives with solid training and resources so they can provide high-quality assistance.
Each interaction is an opportunity to showcase your expertise as well. Keep current on the latest trends and solutions in your industry so you can provide relevant advice and helpful suggestions. Customers who experience considerate, knowledgeable service are more apt to stick with you.
Become Proactive and Resolve Issues Before They Arise
Now, let’s talk about taking the initiative. In customer service, being proactive is the equivalent of getting ahead of the curve: identifying potential problems and resolving them before they ever reach your customers.
It’s all about staying a step ahead, predicting questions or issues that might arise, and providing solutions beforehand. In other words, you know them so well you’ve anticipated their needs. This requires an in-depth understanding of your products, keen observation of previous interactions, and continuous learning.
For instance, if a routine check shows that a particular component in your product malfunctions after a certain period, don’t wait for complaints to flood in. Communicate proactively with your customers about the potential problem, explain what’s happening, and describe how you’re fixing it. By doing this, you gain their trust and possibly head off a raft of negative feelings or reviews.
Becoming proactive means spotting trends in data around customer behavior or feedback and acting on them before they escalate. It means creating content or guides that help users navigate through common challenges. As you look for ways to improve customer satisfaction as a business-to-business company, take these strategic steps to anticipate potential issues before they become stumbling blocks.
Bring Value at Every Stage of the Funnel
Value looks a little different depending on what stage of the funnel someone is at, but B2B customer satisfaction matters at every level. From the moment someone first sees your ad to the closing conversation with a sales rep, they need to feel like they’re benefitting from their engagement with your company.
Use Feedback at Every Touchpoint
Make sure that you’re always focusing on what both your leads and customers are feeling. The best B2B marketing strategy incorporates opportunity for audience feedback.
Surveys are the easiest option, and they can be easily integrated into everything from email conversations to specific events on mobile apps.
Using touchpoints creates valuable opportunities for you to collect customer data that allows you to make more intuitive improvements.
Customize Whenever You Can
B2B lead nurturing, for example, is best done with a personalized approach. By being customer-centric and focusing on the individual, not the sale, you make the process feel more meaningful from the get-go.
You should also ensure that your sales team doesn’t fall into the trap of heavy fragmentation. This leads to disruptions between conversations that can negatively impact the B2B customer journey.
Whenever possible, use one sales rep to handle the entire lead nurturing and conversion process. This helps customers put a name on your company and feel more connected to your entire brand. If you have a dedicated sales team, make sure they’re all on the same page.
Take Advantage of Customer-Centric Services
Choose services for your business that ultimately make the entire customer journey more meaningful. For example, you may hire a B2B lead generation agency to find the right audience for your business.
Many B2B brands struggle to capture the right people from the start, so they lose money through elevated customer acquisition costs and expensive marketing campaigns. What if you could actually have an expert agency bring the right audience to you?
Another example is using a good CRM, or customer relations management system. This type of system keeps track of everything from sales records to lead email lists. Every customer gets their own profile, which any sales team member can look up to offer a personalized experience.
So, now that you’ve gotten a new perspective on B2B customer satisfaction, it’s time to put it into practice! Remember to keep things actionable. Rather than get bogged down by theory, focus on real things you can do in your business today that will have a positive impact on your customers’ experience.
We recommend always keeping things personal, which means building relationships with your leads and continually staying in touch with your existing customers. The more you focus on what you can do for them, the easier it is to align your marketing goals with a customer-centric philosophy.