The pandemic has significantly blurred the lines in the B2B and B2C customer experience. As customers’ expectation has been elevated due regarding customer experience, it has become necessary for B2B brands to keep watch out for latest trends in customer experience.
With the world embracing digital technologies due to the pandemic, many B2B firms have realized that they are dealing with real people rather than the entity itself. It has also been observed that the more B2B organizations get to know their clients at a personal level, the better they can forge relationships with them, resulting in a greater customer experience. In fact, according to a study by Salesforce, over 80% of respondents say their experiences are equally important as the company’s products and services. Therefore, organizations should rethink their B2B customer experience if they want to continue to meet client expectations in a relevant and insightful way. Below are a few B2B customer experience trends that brands should look out for to thrive in a post-pandemic world:
Customers will expect deeper personalization levels
The consumers of B2C brands want them to know and understand their preferences, and the same is true for the B2B customer experience. Today’s B2B decision-makers desire a humanized, personalized, helpful and relevant expertise to reduce the complexity and save their time. They want their brands to anticipate their requirements by going beyond the standard algorithms in place. This way brands will be able to build better relationships that are enhanced by data, tools and automation when combined with intelligence gathered from each interaction.
Popularity of Self-service will increase
The ability to problem-solve quickly and effectively using digital tools is becoming increasingly popular among B2B customers. The option of self-service plays a crucial role in delivering an excellent B2B customer experience even with complex B2B products and services. In fact, the Salesforce study found that up to 65% of customers would prefer to solve their issues using self-service portals for addressing simple matters. Additionally, having a self-service portal will also influence customers’ buying decisions.
Engagement via social channels will be high
As more and more B2B buyers are actively engaging in social media channels since the lockdown, there is a higher chance that many executives will use social media to support their purchase decisions. For brands, social channels will enable them to inform and engage their customers. Furthermore, brands can use them for listening, and delivering insights that can drive more profound levels of engagement within the customer experience.
Customers will continue to prefer virtual face-to-face interactions
Even though virtual meetings cannot wholly replace the importance of ‘in-person’ interactions, they can still accelerate professional relationships while helping to strengthen their trust. Virtual meetings also help get a group of decision-makers together virtually rather than in person, while any questions or concerns can be addressed promptly. In the post-pandemic world, the B2B customer experience will mostly consist of hybrid and face-to-face remote interactions.
The expectation for emotional intelligence will increase
Since every individual has a unique pandemic experience, brands must communicate and interact with their customers with sensitivity and empathy. As a result, emotional intelligence has emerged as one of the most critical skills during the past year. And it will continue to be valued as well as influential in the B2B customer experience.
Just like the usual shopping experience, the B2B experience has become highly influential in buying decisions. While no is certain what new emerging technologies would look like in the post-pandemic era, it is down to all B2B organizations to act responsively, respond quickly and add real value to ensure better customer engagement.
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