In this day and age, business to business (B2B) customer support is essential to long-term success. More and more B2B executives are seeing customer-centricity as critical to the success of their business and strategically working to improve their levels of customer-centricity.
Companies that hope to empower other businesses with their products, software or services must have an intuitive, integrated customer service strategy in place, because B2B organizations serve as active partners to their clients. Whether a company is in its beginning stages or looking to attract and maintain more clients, customer support should be top of mind. That said, here are 10 customer service quick tips to help you in your quest for customer service excellence:
1.Hire the right people
One of the first steps to creating a positive customer experience is hiring the right people. While one person may have years of experience in customer support, another may have a greater passion for a particular business and clientele, and a better understanding of the relationship between companies and their clients. There are a handful of characteristics of great customer service professionals:
- They view clients as people rather than numbers.
- They are collaborative.
- They are tech-savvy.
- They are used to working in an omnichannel support environment.
- They understand how every customer issue affects the company’s bottom line.
People are the backbone of a strong customer support strategy. Without the right staff, businesses will struggle to keep up with competitors that are more accomplished in customer experience.
2. Utilize technology
Second to people is technology. In the modern business world, manual tracking processes and silo’d business functions simply aren’t effective. Instead, cloud-based B2B customer service software enables you to activate more modern customer support strategies and in effect, have happier clients. The benefits of B2B customer service software include increased collaboration, reduced support costs, faster resolution times and more clarity into customer relationships.
3. Abandon scripts
Scripted customer support should be a thing of the past, especially in B2B, where effective companies are seen as trusted advisors to their clients. Scripts serve as a replacement for skilled employees, irritate clients, and are extremely impersonal. Additionally, a survey from Software Advice found 69 percent of customers said their experience with a customer service call is improved when the agent doesn’t sound like they’re reading from a script.
Instead, support teams should provide personalized experiences to clients each time they interact. With the right technology and tools in place, agents have access to all the information they need to abandon the script and begin treating their clients like humans.
4. Emphasize collaboration
Collaboration is an integral part of a strong customer support team. However, a 2014 CMO Council report revealed only 12 percent of B2B marketers said that functional teams were strongly aligned around a holistic customer experience strategy. Business to business customer support is different from business to consumer (B2C) because service teams are often helping clients navigate more complex issues.
With this in mind, customer service should be a collaborative endeavor that involves support, product development, research and development, operations, finance, and marketing teams. Collaborative customer support software allows your teams to share pertinent information throughout the organization and solve complex problems more quickly.
5. Understand your customer
Of course, even the most effective collaboration can go to waste if you don’t understand your customers. With the right customer service software, though, your support team can have all the information they need about any particular client including history, how problems were solved in the past, and that customer’s unique pain points.
6. Be proactive
Proactive customer support is not just nice to have, it’s a must-have for companies that hope to succeed in an increasingly competitive B2B environment. Rather than waiting for clients to have a problem, support teams can predict their needs in real time with cloud-based help desk software that features tools like a Customer Distress Index to identify potentially at-risk customers, as well as robust reporting tools to continually monitor and track customer success.
7. Empower clients
A good business partner will empower clients to solve and troubleshoot their problems quickly. In addition to knowledgeable, proactive, and collaborative support teams, your B2B organization should provide customers a variety of self-service options, such as an online portal, Knowledge Base or community forums.
8. Embrace omnichannel
Today’s customers move quickly from one device to the other and want access to support through multiple channels. A good business will leverage a customer support strategy that spans mobile, live chat, self-service, social media and email. In fact, research speaks to the benefit of offering varied, unified channels through which clients can get in touch. This yields a number of benefits for both your organization and your customers:
- Customers don’t have to repeat themselves as they transition from channel to channel
- Agents see the full history of a particular issue.
- You and your company save time and money.
9. Consider operations
Customer service isn’t just about solving problems, but creating solutions. The best help desk software will easily integrate with the other business software your company depends on, and ultimately make operations more efficient and create a better customer experience overall.
10. Plan for growth
Finally, if you plan to expand your business in the future you should develop a customer service strategy and invest in software that can accommodate that growth. As your organization’s products, services, and offerings continuously evolve, your customer support tools and structure should be agile enough to grow with you.
This article was written by Robert C. Johnson from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.