Customer engagement isn't just for B2C companies - it's a critical consideration for B2B firms, as well. B2B organizations that aren't able or willing to effectively engage with their clients will never maximize their revenue, their customer relationships or their competitiveness.
Yet a recent Gallup report revealed that the vast majority of B2B companies are coming up short when it comes to customer engagement performance. To improve in this area, B2B firms would do well to take a page from B2C companies that have developed robust, sophisticated customer engagement strategies.
The Gallup survey revealed that 71 percent of B2B customers are not engaged. Diving deeper, the study found that 20 percent of responding B2B customers had experienced a problem with an organization or its products. However, of that group, only two-fifths said that the B2B company successfully resolved the issue.
That's an alarmingly high figure. After all, problem resolution is one of the most basic, important aspects of customer engagement in both the B2B and B2C spaces. Firms that can't effectively and quickly resolve their clients' complaints won't hold on to those customers for very long.
B2B engagement benefits
At the same time, the Gallup report highlighted some of the most significant benefits that B2B firms can expect when they achieve a high level of customer engagement.
Most notably, Gallup found that those B2B companies with high customer engagement scores enjoyed 50 percent higher revenue/sales, 34 percent higher profitability and 55 percent higher share of wallet.
B2C customer engagement for B2B
Given these findings, it's clear to see that B2B customer engagement is coming up short, but the rewards for improving in this area are tremendous. The question that B2B companies should ask themselves, then, is how to incorporate some of the best practices and greater degree of success that B2C companies have achieved in this capacity.
To a significant degree, this simply comes down to a question of commitment. If a B2B firm doesn't make customer engagement a priority, then this level of interaction and attention is not going to happen. Out of necessity, B2C companies have typically put far more value on customer engagement than B2B organizations. But this is changing. Customers, both as consumers and as business decision-makers, are becoming increasingly demanding of companies. If they feel disengaged, they will take their own and/or their organization's money elsewhere.
"B2B companies across all industries are at risk of being replaced - not because of their products or prices, but because they are failing their customers," Gallup concluded.
As part of any effort in this direction, B2B firms should consider investing in more advanced customer engagement tools. Speech analytics solutions are obviously far more common in B2C contact centers than in the B2B space, but such resources can unveil invaluable insight that can then be leveraged for more targeted, effective customer engagement with B2B clients.
Just as importantly, personnel who work with B2B customers need to receive greater training to help them better recognize their clients' needs as well as opportunities for more sophisticated engagement efforts. This is arguably even more important for B2B, given that personnel at B2C firms will likely have more background in this area.
Lastly, and simply, B2B organizations need to have sufficient resources on hand to handle their customer engagement requirements. Whenever a client reaches out, the business needs to have the ability to answer and to continue the conversation on an ongoing basis.
What customer engagement recommendations do you have for B2B companies?