The prolific use of digital technologies is having a profound impact on B2B organizations. With more of the B2B decision-making process occurring online, successful B2B companies are now required to better develop their digital channels and increase their B2B ecommerce effectiveness. While B2B organizations can certainly look to lessons learned in the B2C channel in this endeavor, they must also improve business processes and address the challenge of enhancing the B2B customer experience on their site to remain relevant and competitive.
Increased Expectations in the B2B Customer Experience
The B2B buyer is now typically smarter and younger and has grown up in the B2C environment of higher expectations of having what they want, when and where they want it. Buyers are requiring B2B organizations to better understand them and their needs, and they have come to expect the highest level of customer service possible. At the same time, B2B buyers, like their B2C counterparts, are engaging with companies in multiple ways, whether it be desktop, mobile or apps to the call center, and their expectation is having a superior experience across all these interactions. Compounding these challenges is the fact that B2B organizations operate in a highly competitive environment where a poor online B2B customer experience can lead to customer dissatisfaction and possible desertion to the competition. The negative business impact can become more detrimental by disgruntled customers taking to social media to air their frustrations and share their unfavorable customer experience.
Understanding the B2B online business process
The complexity of B2B transactions is another important challenge faced by B2B organizations. Unlike B2C transactions, the typical B2B ecommerce transaction is usually high volume – with many parts or components comprised in a single transaction. Automobile manufacturing is one example that illustrates the intricacy of B2B online business processes, where car makers must source many unique parts from numerous different vendors. The process encompasses handling quotations, special pricing and advanced payment options, supply chain and order management, as well as customer service and support. B2B ecommerce involves facilitating all of these processes online in a very effective manner where operational efficiency is key. At the same time, the successful B2B company must allow for collaboration across these online business processes within their organization, as many stakeholders and decision-makers are involved, and the sharing of information is important in providing a consolidated view of the customer and better understanding the customers’ experience. Visibility into the shared view of the online customer enables B2B organizations to understand how to deliver better online solutions and service and to assist with providing the superior customer experience that creates repeat and loyal customers.
How must B2B ecommerce adapt?
As the B2C trends are transcending into the B2B world, B2B organizations must optimize their online business and improve their business processes in order to provide a rich B2B customer experience. To help accomplish this, B2B organizations need to understand their customers’ online struggles and eliminate the obstacles that prevent successful conversions. So, it is not enough to understand what is happening on their websites; to effectively remove the barriers to successful business transactions, they must also quickly identify why something is happening online. And, given the various ways that the B2B buyer can interact with companies, it is important to understand this information across the various B2B ecommerce interactions. This valuable insight can be used to not only help B2B organizations improve their online customer experience, but it can be used to enhance B2B marketing efforts to more effectively target customers and increase conversion and retention rates.
Addressing the B2B ecommerce challenges
Today, customer experience is going beyond the sales transaction, and successful B2B organizations must advance their business processes and delight customers by delivering an enriched B2B customer experience. While it might be considered a daunting task, there are customer experience management (CEM) solutions that can help organizations improve and maximize their B2B ecommerce effectiveness and assist companies in creating a compelling customer experience. IBM® Tealeaf® CX on cloud, for example, provides extensive visibility into customers’ online experiences and actionable insights so B2B organizations can deliver superior and profitable interactions with customers, and the platform can be used throughout an organization to support a range of functions, including e-commerce, marketing, development and design, customer service and compliance administration.
To learn more about the components of successful B2B eCommerce, click below to access this FitForCommerce whitepaper, sponsored by IBM.
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