The differences between B2B and B2C customer service
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
They can make or break you in seconds. Who? Your clients. Whether you single-handedly manage an organic soap shop or an international corporate company, you know that satisfied customers are a must. The good news: You already have your eyes on the prize. But what is often much less clear is how to get there.
One of the most important factors of ensuring clients love your brand is providing top-notch customer service. However, how you define excellent support depends on the specific case and all its distinctive factors. Like an algebra equation, the need to solve for X remains the same but the variables will change.
These differences may seem minute, but that could not be further from the truth. In this article, we’ll focus on the client's factor. B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) oriented brands dramatically change the way you strategize and implement your customer support.
No need to dust off your old algebra notes, we are going to explain everything you need to know about the differences between B2B and B2C customer service.
Knowing the habits of your audience
B2C: Help customers help themselves
In a nutshell, B2C support is trending towards a more independent and self-service oriented approach. The best tool to provide your patrons is an intuitive knowledge base to help them autonomously find the right articles and answers they need. Most of us, clients included, head straight to Google for answers. That’s why having a SEO-friendly knowledge base plays an important role in getting your content found on the first page of search results. For repetitive issues, you’ll be able to structure your knowledge base based on clients needs and help them find the answers fast.
B2B: Addressing complex and intricate issues
Any decision made from a business-to-business interaction can cost (or save) a company millions of dollars. This is why having a dedicated and professional support team can ensure that the job gets done right. Yet, often when dealing with B2B clientele, there are multiple people using your product or service from the same customer account. You could be receiving a plethora of tickets about a variety of issues from the same company - like the infamous mythological monster, the Hydra. Utilizing a help desk software is vital in this sense, as all customer interactions are kept in one place, which means your support reps will have all the necessary information at their fingertips, anytime they need it. This will avoid duplicating efforts and ensure that every issue is tackled as efficiently as possible.
Defining your relationship status
B2C: Short, sweet and to the point
Supporting individual customers requires providing lightning speed answers. For your business, that means having a trained support team to ensure each customer receives the solutions they need in a timely manner. If your team delivers the right answer in one reply, this will significantly improve your first contact resolution (FCR) and can be a good indicator of overall customer satisfaction. Let’s be blunt, this relationship is as surface-level as they come. Often, the average B2C customer will see support agents as faceless brand representatives - and that’s okay, as long as the job is done. Of course, the ideal scenario is to aim for more personalisation on both sides of the line - a major customer service trends of 2019. To clarify, this means that on one hand, your customer is treated with the utmost care of their specific characteristics, and on the other hand, your representatives let more of their personality surface during the interaction. This can only improve the quality and durability of the bond the customer will feel with your brand. How to reach personalization? Start by practicing these fundamental empathy tips in customer support.
B2B: In it for the long run
In contrast, business-to-business clients require a deeper, more tailored, and often long-lasting relationship when it comes to receiving assistance. Why? B2B customers hold monetary value - from thousands to millions of dollars. You may only have a small handful of clients, yet the revenue they represent is generally higher than B2C clients. If you lose a client by not providing adequate support, this can result in a substantial loss of both revenue and trust. One way to distinguish yourself and capture your B2B client's heart is to offer a dedicated account manager or support agent who will understand their needs and foster a positive relationship. Reasonably, you’ll know them by their first and last names, just like you would a significant other.
Finding the connection point
B2C: It’s all about mobility
In 2019, the number of global smartphone users is expected to pass the five billion mark. So, if you’re a B2C, you need to make sure you have mobile-friendly options, such as live chat on your website and social media contact points ready to roll. If not, you’ll risk losing business on a daily basis. Being reachable via mobile makes you more desirable to clients and also falls in line with the 24/7/365 culture which continues to grow by the day.
B2B: Email and platform integration options are king
In a world where two-year-olds know how to unlock a smartphones before they can form basic sentences, it is easy to assume that everybody’s preferred communication method is on-the-go (whether it be text or call). But, you may be surprised to learn this is not necessarily the case for business-to-business clients. Don’t panic - businesses are not returning to the days of the typewriters. Employees and business owners prefer options such as live chat, video conferencing and email.
They will also be looking for a greater variety of web applications to use on a day-to-day basis, which can be easily integrated to your help desk software. Services such as Zapier can seamlessly connect to apps like Excel, Trello, Asana and more. Integrations allow communication between businesses to keep track of productivity and assign tasks without having to move across different browser tabs.
Putting your customers in the spotlight
B2C: Make your customers sing your praises
We’re going to let you in on a secret: customer service is code for good marketing and when it comes to B2C, social media is the name of the game. Commonly known as social proof, individuals rely on the masses to show them what is valuable, whether it be on social media or in product reviews. It’s a perfect way to leverage word-of-mouth, which can successfully evolve into potential customers. For instance, if you’re providing customer service on Twitter, you can set-up your most responsive hours and customize a welcome message when customers direct message you. This alone encourages people to reach out to your brand, knowing they’ll get a quick response. Just make sure you have open accounts on the relevant social media platforms for your business and industry. And don’t forget to update them regularly with fresh and engaging content, which is the number one factor in becoming successful on these platforms.
B2B: Predicting needs to exceed expectations
Where B2B relies on external marketing strategies such as social media, B2B emphasizes value on the internal factor of word-of-mouth and fostering close ties with their service providers. While it may seem that B2C marketing has all the fun, the truth is adding diversified content, such as informative videos or blog posts, can aid engagement and portray the brand as genuine and reputable to other businesses. In doing so you will not only build loyalty with the individual customer in question, but improve customer retention and strengthen the brand reputation.
Ready to make a difference in the customer support you provide? Try out Wix Answers help desk software to give your business a competitive edge.