Why the B2b User Experience Is Just As Important as B2C

This post was originally published by Four51 and is used with permission.

The idea of personalizing the experience for customers isn’t new. I’ve heard of two neighboring small towns in the midwest, which were so small in fact that not only did they share the same county hall, the same guy worked as the clerk for both towns. When a person walked in to ask about a park, or permit, or other service, they needed to choose which window to go to… one for West Town, and one for East Town. The clerk then, observing which window was in need of his attention, would don either his West Town clerk hat, or the East Town clerk hat and help the customer.

What was common in small towns: people knew your name, they knew what you liked, disliked and bought regularly, and they could use this information to help you in a highly personalized and friendly way. The combined technologies of big data, mobile and modern commerce now allow you to bring this same experience to your B2B customers.

But should you bother? Is the B2B user experience in commerce as important as it is for B2C? YES!

In fact, B2B customer experience is becoming so important that a majority of B2B firms now measure it regularly, and actively work to improve it by modifying customer-facing channels, and by incentivizing customer-facing employees. The most popular and effective measurement in modern Customer Experience (CX) is probably the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is based on the notion that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories. “Promoters” are loyal advocates who keep buying from a company and urge their friends to do the same. “Passives” are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are more likely to be attracted by the competition. And “detractors” are unhappy customers trapped in a bad relationship. Customers can be categorized based on their answer to the ultimate question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you’d recommend us to a friend?”

Why is Customer Experience (and your NPS score) important in B2B commerce? It is critical because B2B customers are much more likely to choose and trust companies that come recommended from other businesses and friends. In fact, 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision. [USM]

Focusing on CX improvement is key for manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and others that derive a significant portion of their business via commerce and online order management. Millennials are now the number one generation of business users too, and they expect an “amazon-like experience” when buying online and via their mobile devices. Give it to them with a friendly interface, mobile-optimized design, personalization such that you demonstrate that you “know them” across all channels and devices.

Put on the correct clerk hat, give them the B2B user experience they expect, and they’ll reward you by telling their friends.

-Chip House, CMO at Four51