B2B customer service fails to meet customer expectations.
It’s slow, involves a lot of friction and, in many cases, is impersonalized (best regards, company name…).
Now, compare that to your favorite e-commerce store.
And the difference is obvious: responses are fast, it’s easy to start a conversation (chat, email, phone, WhatsApp) and you get to talk to a real human being (imagine that?!). 😲
It’s time B2B companies caught up to their B2C counterparts.
One way to do that? 👉 Use a variety of customer service channels.
European B2B companies are lagging behind
Despite the growing digital wave, many European B2B companies seem stuck in the past.
While these methods have served businesses well for many years, they fail to capitalize on the opportunities offered by newer digital channels.
Just 39% of the European B2B companies we surveyed use live chat as a service function.
This falls way behind the global B2B average of 66%, and the B2C average of 74%.
Likewise, social media is gaining ground as a B2B customer support channel, but it's still outpaced by traditional channels.
It makes you wonder – are European B2B companies missing the chance to meet customers where they are? 🤔
Let's learn from the B2C sector.
Customers there enjoy a variety of support channels: live chat, social media, self-service portals, and more. These channels offer instant gratification, a vital ingredient in today's customer service recipe.
B2B customers – also B2C buyers in their daily lives – are used to efficient, speedy customer service. They know what's possible. And if they don't get the same treatment from their B2B suppliers, it creates a disconnect that can dent their satisfaction and loyalty.
European B2B companies need to recognize this gap – and bridge it.
But to do this effectively, you need to develop a deep understanding of current trends and then apply this knowledge to their strategies.
Step one? 👉 Get a grip on the trends defining the future of B2B customer service.
3 trends shaping the future of B2B customer service
Digital trends are like shifting sands, constantly changing the B2B customer service landscape.
Staying ahead means understanding these changes – and adapting to them. This is not a one-time effort; it requires continuous learning and flexibility as customer preferences and technologies evolve.
So, here are 3 trends you can't afford to ignore:
1. The rise of self-service tools
The 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report found that 81% of consumers want more self-service options.
Why? Because they value quick response times above all else!
Customers want to feel in control and empowered, and self-service options allow them to do just that.
Traditional support channels like email, web forms, and phone often leave customers waiting.
Customers want answers now. And they're more than willing to find the answers themselves.
Enter self-service tools like knowledge bases and FAQs.
- A knowledge base is a central repository for helpful articles and how-to guides. Customers can access it to find solutions to their problems independently, reducing the burden on your customer support team and empowering customers to resolve issues at their convenience.
- FAQs, on the other hand, provide answers to customers' common questions.
Self-service tools are valued because they let customers find answers at their pace, on their schedule. ⏲️
They offer a level of autonomy that modern customers appreciate, reducing their dependency on customer service representatives and accelerating problem resolution.
2. The increasing relevance of chat
Email may be a popular support channel, but chat is gaining ground, especially among tech-savvy B2B customers.
While 85% of companies were expected to have some form of live chat by the end of 2022, 41% of customers already expected them to have it. Customers don’t wait!
Despite European B2B companies' slow uptake, chat's popularity can't be overlooked. The immediacy and personal touch that chat provides has made it a favorite among customers. They can have their issues resolved in real time, and the interaction feels more personal and human.
Customers love the real-time interaction and quick problem resolution that chat offers. This aligns with the 'instant gratification' mindset they're used to in the B2C world.
3. The importance of omnichannel support
Just like B2C customers, B2B customers want choices.
They want to pick how they communicate with your company, be it through email, live chat, web forms, or self-service portals. And they want the flexibility to switch between channels as per their convenience and needs.
Providing a consistent experience across different channels not only meets these expectations, but also improves the customer experience. It lets customers engage with your company on their terms, which can greatly increase their satisfaction and loyalty.
Companies offering consistent service quality across multiple channels can retain 89% of their customers.
And what about those that don't?
They manage to hold onto just 33% of their customers.
The secret to leveraging these trends? 👉 A robust CRM platform that supports these digital channels.
And that's where CRM steps in.
Bridging the customer service gap with SuperOffice CRM
Understanding digital trends isn't enough for European B2B companies – they need to act on them. SuperOffice CRM offers the tools to tackle these shifts head-on.
1. Customer Engagement Platform
If you’re keen to introduce self-service options into your business, SuperOffice’s customer engagement platform is the answer.
A key feature of the customer engagement platform is the Knowledge Base, helping you build an FAQ library.
This acts as a self-service hub, enabling customers to find answers quickly and easily.
2. Live Chat
SuperOffice's chat feature provides an interactive platform for resolving customer queries in real time.
It cuts down response times and allows more personalized communication, leading to improved customer satisfaction.
Here’s how SuperOffice Chat works:
Live chat lets your customers chat with your team in real time. It's fast and easy!
The best part? 👉 You can implement live chat in less than 30 seconds.
You’re literally minutes away from helping your customers via live chat.
3. SuperOffice Service
SuperOffice Service lets businesses seamlessly integrate different support channels, from email and web forms to chat and self-service portals. This ensures a smooth and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints.
For example, a customer can start a conversation via live chat and switch to email for more detailed assistance – without having to rehash their issue. Every conversation is kept in one place, giving everyone in your company a 360-degree view of the customer.
This kind of smooth transition between channels significantly improves the overall customer experience. And it’s exactly what B2C companies have been doing for years.
As the gap between B2B and B2C customer service closes, there's a golden opportunity for European B2B companies to evolve and adapt.
It's time to ditch outdated practices and embrace the digital shifts that are reshaping customer service. It's time to exceed your customers' expectations.
We're here to help you navigate these changes and put your customers at the heart of your business.
Schedule a free demo today to see how SuperOffice CRM can help you deliver personalized, efficient customer service that matches even your B2C counterparts.
Ready to take the next step?