In a world of limited budgets and demanding customers, we sometimes need to make tough decisions as a company. Do I invest more in my products? Do I need to do a better job educating my current customers? How can I make smarter business decisions? The good news is B2B (business-to-business) customer support can help a company answer these questions and even more. Once an afterthought for some businesses, customers are now expecting more from the B2B industry as a result of their B2C (business-to-consumer) interactions. These support solutions, when implemented and performed successfully, can actually be a huge asset to a company in both their short and long term growth plans. Here are 3 reason why B2B customer support is a no brainer business decision for companies…
1) It saves you time – It’s not uncommon for a business customer to feel like their concerns and problems are ignored by the companies they do business with. And, just like any problem, when it’s ignored it often gets worse. Identifying “at risk” customers and being proactive by reaching out to “check in” on a recurring basis is a way of providing good support and boosts customer satisfaction. It also heads off customer problems before they become major issues. These interactions decrease the total number of customers that other teams (such as development and business retention) need to spend time with. Finding out about problems when they are in their infancy may mean a little more time is spent up-front talking with customers, but the substantial time commitment of repairing relationships and major issues is all but alleviated.
2) It saves you money – You may have deduced this from the first point, but having fewer problems and issues with your customers means you need to devote less employees to customer-related concerns. This will save you money on the payroll side, but there’s even more savings to be had thanks to technology. Simply put, technology is the future of customer support. More efficient systems and processes, through solutions such as customer support software, enable automation which results in even fewer people needing to work with customers. Software also features more forward-looking technology such as live chat that lets your support employees speak with multiple customers at the same time (unlike phone calls). While working with several customers concurrently, software can make your team smarter so they can provide better and faster responses. When a customer reaches out for help, a few clicks can bring up all the information on a customer so effort isn’t wasted on potential solutions that were brought up in the past. Some companies even take the technology component further, offering online self-service portals that are available 24/7 to answer common questions. A portal can also provide guides featuring images and video assets to explain complex solutions in more detail. As you can tell, technology now plays a key role in saving companies money when it comes to customer support.
3) It makes you money – Yes, that’s not a typo. Customer support isn’t just a cost center, over time it can become a source of revenue. As customers have more positive interactions with support teams, trust is built between both sides. Leverage this trust, along with customer intelligence information from B2B support software, and train your team on how to navigate conversations so they can pursue upselling opportunities when appropriate. With this said, make sure you don’t step on the toes of sales. Let your team know when and when not to get a salesperson involved, especially since sales is clearly the specialists in closing opportunities. By giving your customer support team the leeway to help customers first but also generate and identify opportunities, you’ll maximize the ability to increase your revenue from current customer opportunities.
To summarize, B2B customer support is a no brainer business decision because it has a direct impact on the bottom line and success of a company. Support often spearheads retention efforts by being the first line of contact with customers and can let your larger team know of any emerging issues immediately. The support team also saves businesses money by utilizing technology to reduce the total interactions that are needed to assist a customer with an issue. Lastly, the potential for customer support to be a revenue stream is very real as it can leverage the relationships built with customers. This tactic provides a direct first step to qualified sales conversations.
Support is more than just answering a customer question, it’s about responding to an inquiry so well a customer will come back next time and give you another opportunity to improve the business relationship you have with them. There’s a reason why support is so important in the modern era of B2B, and operating a team that specializes in building these customer relationships has become critical for business success.