B2B Businesses Are Underestimating Customer Service and Must Learn from the B2C Approach: Claranet.

Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: RESEARCH
 
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The continuing consumerisation of business customers has fundamentally shifted organisational buying behaviour--now the B2B market must acclimatise.

The pervasiveness of technology in everyday life means that people have come to take for granted the convenience of mobile, e-commerce, instant access to information, products and services, and the ability to offer feedback through social media. Their expectations around how to find, research and buy what they want have been moulded by these digital experiences, and as they enter the workforce, they take these expectations with them. New research from managed services provider Claranet, however, has found that B2B organisations could do a lot more to ensure a high level of customer service by improving their digital experiences. To be successful, they need to act more like B2C businesses in the way that they interact with their customers.

The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne who surveyed 750 IT decision-makers for Claranet's Beyond Digital Transformation research report, has shed light on this recent shift in attention towards the customer experience amongst B2B and B2C businesses, and it is clear that B2Bs have significant work to do if they are to catch up.

According to the findings, 49 per cent of B2B businesses broadly recognise that a stronger focus on customers' digital experiences could deliver greater competitive advantage, and 45 per cent believe it would bring enhanced levels of innovation. Despite this, B2C businesses are set to spend roughly 50 per cent more on improving the customer experience than their counterparts in the B2B world, and B2Cs are twice as likely to report that improving the customer experience was a top priority for their IT departments than B2Bs.

Commenting on the findings, Michel Robert, Claranet's UK Managing Director, said: "Customers' digital experience is likely to get still more important in the B2B world, with new, disruptive and customer-focused businesses entering the fray all the time. With this in mind, B2B businesses can't afford to be complacent. The key is to find ways to serve customers more effectively via digital technology--whether that is providing a new way of buying products through e-commerce, creating more convenience for the customer through mobile applications, or innovating with completely new approaches. At...

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