Digitally enhancing the B2B customer experience

11th January 2018

The digital series:
Welcome to the second in our miniseries of blogs focused on digital marketing…


The world of customer communications has been transformed beyond recognition since many of us marketers first entered the profession. Our digital capability has changed the way we find our customers and reach out to them, and it’s changed the way they discover and interact with us. Expectation has also changed: customers want - and expect - instant information, real-time conversation, fast and convenient services around the clock, and to be able to access all of this on the move. With the pace of change showing no sign of slowing down, and with a staggering 55% of the global population now accessing the internet from a mobile device, it’s no wonder that customer satisfaction levels can hinge on how well a business communicates – and responds - in the digital world.

It’s no time to fall behind

Unfortunately, digital communication is one area in which B2B businesses might lag behind their B2C counterparts. B2B has traditionally been slower on the uptake when it comes to using digital methods such as social media and live chat to communicate with its audience; potentially missing out on invaluable opportunities to inform or influence customers, prospects or stakeholders - and certainly losing out on that extra chance to enhance the overall customer experience.

A B2B business (and we’re using a broad brush here, so forgive us if this doesn’t apply to you) is also less likely to have a fully optimised website that looks fantastic on any device, is probably less likely to make truly effective use of SEO, and is certainly less likely to give proper time and attention to the kinds of analytics and social listening which could make a real and tangible difference to their customer relationships.

So, how to catch up?

With all of the above in mind, we’ve created a quick guide to five things that could help your business improve its digital communication strategy and bring your overall customer experience up to scratch:

Online and social listening

Putting your messages out is only one half of the conversation - listening to your customers and competitors is equally important. In this digital age, it has never been easier for your customers to tell you about their experiences with your company, and ignoring them is not an option. Customers are now more likely to search for reviews through social media sites than Google, so it’s paramount that you have a positive online presence.

No matter how hard you try, it’s likely that you’ll get the odd bad review, and that’s fine - as long as you respond in the right way. Make sure that you listen to any complaints and resolve them quickly, so potential customers can see that you have a high standard of customer service. Take a look at your competitors’ websites and social media accounts – who’s doing it well? What could you do better? Look out for our next blog, which will look at how planning can improve your social media strategy.

Automated processes

Streamline your daily processes and get up to speed with the software that could help you.

The need for personalisation has always been important, and this is increasingly the case, even within the B2B environment. Personality has become important to brands as a means of connecting with your audience, and automation can be used to tailor the customer journey. However, it can’t always be relied upon to give a truly personal response (see later!). Augmented reality has much potential further down the line in delivering messages in a personalised manner, particularly for our ever-mobile population, and artificial intelligence, or AI, is widely considered the next “big thing” in terms of quickly gaining detailed insight about customers, that enables businesses to then deliver a carefully tailored and relevant message, for maximum cut-through (look out for our forthcoming blog on the use of AI in marketing).

Human to human interaction

When you’re marketing to other businesses, it can be easy to forget that your message needs to appeal to a human. While there may be more stakeholders involved in a business purchasing decision than a consumer purchase, these stakeholders are still people who are looking for a product or service that can help them to solve a problem.

That’s why we believe in focusing on the benefits of a product or service, rather than features. How does your business’ offering improve their world – which of their pain points can you resolve? Your customer should be at the centre of everything you do. Be on hand to answer queries for potential and existing customers – having a live chat feature on your site can be a great way to connect with customers in real time, for example.

Analytics

Your website can provide vital information about your audience. Use Google Analytics to gain insight into where your website traffic is coming from – who is reaching your site, and who isn’t? The answers might surprise you.

Google Analytics can be really useful when it comes to assessing your website’s effectiveness – you can see which of your pages are the most popular, how many visitors are converting and where visitors are leaving your site. However, Analytics can’t tell you why your audience behaves the way it does on your site. To answer this question, you should think about different ways that you can reach your audience and get some good quality feedback from them – could you carry out some market research, short surveys or attend industry events?

Get everyone on board

Your sales team has contact with customers, as does your finance team – but how can you ensure that your customers are getting a completely joined up experience?

It’s important to get buy-in from the top, but your key messages must be communicated throughout your entire organisation, so everyone is on board. Encourage your employees to become advocates for your business, so they’re actively promoting your products and services to people they interact with both online and offline.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, digital is an incredibly important element of customer experience – download our guide to enhancing your customers’ experience to find out more. And if you think that your customer experience could benefit from some Pod expertise, give us a call on 01564 742848 or email us!

Read our recent blog on how digital has affected PR.