The overwhelming majority of customer service surveys happen in the business-to-consumer world.
Which, if you think about it, is a little strange given that the business case for an effective customer feedback program is much stronger in the business-to-business world. In B2B, the value of each customer is usually higher, the acquisition costs higher, and the length of the relationship longer. Reputation and word-of-mouth is just as important in B2B, but it's less likely to be visible through social media and other public channels.
We have a number of very successful B2B customer feedback programs in place, and our clients have found it to be a powerful tool. Many of the tools and techniques we use in B2C customer feedback are just as useful in B2B, such as real-time interviews, delivering data to the front lines in real-time, and a robust service recovery process.
There are a few things to be aware of, though, when implementing a B2B customer feedback program:
- Reaching the right person can be more of a challenge than in B2C. It's common to have multiple contacts for each customer and lot of out-of-date information.
- B2B customers are very willing to talk to an interviewer for a few minutes--refusal rates are typically very low. However, you need to respect their time, and automated surveys are not likely to be successful.
- B2B customers expect a high level of service, and if they have a complaint they expect it to be addressed. A proper service recovery process is not optional.
So don't listen to the people who think you can't do customer feedback in B2B--our clients know it isn't true.