With the globalization of the business world, competition is more fierce than ever before. Companies lose deals to competitors located half way around the world and are always looking for ways to win new business. One of the ways B2B companies are looking to one-up their competition is by highlighting their excellent customer service. In fact, the customer experience as a whole is not something many companies excel at, which makes companies that truly shine at the very end of the experience process more appealing to prospects.
Let’s look further at how to leverage B2B customer service as a competitive advantage…
Identify competitor weaknesses and put an emphasis on thriving in these areas – Developing a business strategy related to customer support is important. Instead of going toe-to-toe where your competition thrives, highlight your own strengths in areas where they are weak. For example, if a competitor doesn’t offer a chat or self-service solution, make sure you prioritize these offerings in your own sales and marketing materials. The same goes for companies that are facing competitors with limited support hours. By doing a direct comparison of your hours to theirs, it’s easy to quantify exactly how much more availability you have for a customer should they select your business.
Get good at customer service (and let everyone know about it) – This isn’t an advantage that will happen overnight, but once you become great at customer service there’s no reason to hide that you have an all-star team helping customers. If you’re a software company, encourage your trial customers to not only test out the features of your software but also to try out your customer service team. As a unique customer service competitive advantage, tell them to reach out with any issues so they can experience what kind of interactions they will have as a full customer with your business.
Train customer service to always prioritize retention – Worrying about new customers is fine, but at the end of the day it’s keeping your existing customers around that keeps the lights on. With this said, training agents to not only help customers but empowering them with tactics to keep customers is vital to success. Is it worth losing a good customer because your contact there is having a bad day? Absolutely not. Make sure agents understand this so they can humanize customer service by talking down customers and following up when appropriate. It’s also important to remember customers don’t forget about an occasional free upgrade or going the extra mile when they truly need you. These gifts may not seem like much to an agent, but they can make or break a customer relationship.
Want to learn more about customer service and the ROI it provides businesses? Click here to check out our infographic on the ROI of Customer Support and the value it brings to a business!
Make sure departments have a way to share their success with each other – Lastly, one way to make customer service a competitive advantage has nothing to do with direct customer communication. Instead, it’s all about doing a great job talking and collaborating internally. Create a virtual location for employees to celebrate together when a new sale happens and also when a customer is positively impacted by an excellent support experience. Too often, people in a company are disconnected and it’s a good way for salespeople to show prospective customers how different departments work together. It directly highlights the culture of your company instead of just saying “we have a culture” in sales meetings.
In short, there are several ways to make B2B customer service a competitive advantage. Getting good at customer service and then focusing on competitor weaknesses is a great and logical place to start. As you grow, don’t forget that emphasizing less practical customer service skills – such as retention and culture – are also excellent ways to remain authentic and keep customers happy. As more companies begin to weigh customer service more heavily in their decision-making process, it’s become more important for companies to optimize their operations in this area sooner than later to keep up with the competition and avoid losing deals.