B2B companies often have customer relationships large enough to warrant CEO-level involvement. Towering in size above other accounts like a mountain peak, these relationships often represent as much as 10%, 20%, or more of the firm’s overall revenue.
In contrast, B2C companies’ largest customers typically don’t contribute more than a fraction of one percent of sales.
Consequently, B2B companies must manage their key customer relationships with an obsessive level of focus. The loss of just one of these accounts may be devastating; contract renewal is everything.
I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our client’s service and sales location. I particularly wanted to meet the team at this agricultural equipment dealer because of their sound performance on our survey program. After spending several hours there, I came away with several observations.
First, they have designed their processes to actually serve customers. Second, employees appeared quite engaged in what they were doing. Lastly, there was a palpable sense of pride in what they were doing. The visit provided many insights into how to deliver excellent customer service.
Have you ever played the game of “telephone,” where players whisper a message from one person to the next? Once a message goes even one or two hops, it can break down quickly with often hilarious results when the message is announced at the end.
The same dynamic exists in B2B value chains though the end result is less amusing. If a B2B company relies solely on the next hop in its value chain to know how well it’s satisfying customer needs and identify opportunities for improvement, it’s at risk of receiving poor quality information.