Too often, B2B managers jump on the Customer Feedback bandwagon without thinking as much as they should about their customers.  Yes, I said, “without thinking about their customers!”  They decide to adopt feedback approaches that come from the business-to-consumer (B2C) world.  B2B Customers have unique needs.

While the email survey you received after your recent auto repair experience worked for you as well as the dealer, it may not be the best approach for your B2B customers. Here’s why.

B2B Customer Volume vs. B2C Customer Volume

The typical B2B company has a smaller customer base than many B2C companies.  If you have one thousand customers listed and you do an email survey, you may not get enough responses from email alone.  The typical response rate for email surveys is 8 to 12%.  Assuming a 10% response rate, you will not receive enough responses to have a that is statistically strong.  If your customer base has different types of customers (e.g., larger, smaller, etc.), you will not be able to get much insight into what different customers types are thinking. 

Complexity of B2B Equipment and Services

The typical B2B company we work with offers products and services that are quite complex. Because of this complexity, just getting feedback from one contact at a customer may not always work.  The CFO may have an entirely different view of a provider versus the head of operations.

When thinking through your feedback process, make sure to get feedback from all the key players and not just one. Since more players are involved, this is different than B2C, where there is typically one or just a few involved in the decision-making process.

B2B Product Support and Service

B2B Customers have unique needsProducts sold by many B2B companies are used for many years.  For example, the service life for a production lathe is typically ten years or more.  A large piece of construction equipment has a similar life span.  Such equipment also needs significant servicing and parts support. In thinking about your feedback program, be sure to get feedback at those critical points during the entire ownership cycle.

A customer buys a new product, and the purchase experience is excellent.  However, the service that happens after the purchase is not great.  Without knowing this information, poor service may cause the customer to go elsewhere for service and, when it comes time to buy a new product, choose another option.

New B2B Support Roles

The notion of product support in many B2B markets is changing.  While providing service and parts was always essential, now, the support demands are even more continuous. If you look at the cab of a large tractor or combine, or a bulldozer, you will likely find several screens and monitors.  The equipment owner needs support to ensure it is working well.

Because of the critical nature of much of this equipment, getting it working and keeping it working is essential.  A well-designed feedback process will let you know when it is and isn’t.

B2B Customers Other Unique Needs

I have read several recent articles that argued that industrial, B2B customers made decisions based almost exclusively on logic.  I do not agree!  These customers do tend to make rational choices, but feelings play a critical role.  Why else would one major equipment manufacturer have the following words as the mantra for its B2B Customer Feedback program: “Appreciated, Secure, Effortless

So, when designing a Customer Feedback program, make you plan your feedback tap into the non-rational, emotional satisfaction. After all, research shows that emotionally satisfied customers are far more loyal than those rationally satisfied.

 


 

In conclusion, when implementing a customer experience program, B2B customers need special attention to be happy and remain loyal.  Their environments are >different.  These points are essential to for a successful Customer Feedback program. To learn more about implementing a Customer Feedback program, read, “Essential Tips for Getting Started with B2B Customer Feedback” from our knowledge library.

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