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The Difference Between Customer Service in B2C and B2B

October 25, 2016 / Reinsurance

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You may be surprised to hear that transitioning from a customer service role in a B2C retail environment to a B2B service provider environment is not all that different. I began my career working as a customer service representative (CSR) for a medium sized car rental organization and then moved on to a role as a CSR with a telecommunications giant. My first role required me to be face-to-face with strangers on a daily basis; my second role required me to be on the phone, conversing with different people for every minute of the 8 hours I spent at work. Two different methods of customer communication, both within a B2C environment.

Now that I’ve transitioned into a customer service role at a B2B company, the way I communicate with customers has once again changed. But providing exceptional customer service is still key to customer satisfaction.

How does customer service translate to customer satisfaction?

In both environments, exceptional customer service enables the customer to confidently communicate with you and trust that you, your employer and your colleagues can provide consistent, professional service. Ultimately building a strong relationship, which leads to customer satisfaction. The only difference is that B2B relationships are usually much longer (hopefully!). During my experience transitioning from B2C to B2B, I’ve learned that customer satisfaction really comes down to three critical components: communication, quality work and dedication. They are just applied differently according to the environment.

How do the key components of customer service differ in B2C and B2B environments?

 

Communication

In my opinion, speaking face-to-face with a customer is the most organic form of communication and a great way to become highly accustomed to customer service. You need to be sensitive to your customer’s choice of words and body language and you have to be quick on your feet to respond according to the situation. This is the type of communication I was accustomed to in my first B2C role. But now, at LOGiQ3, the playing field changes as email is the primary form of communication. Since physical human interaction is removed, the key to communication in this environment is timeliness, tone and approach.

You may not have an immediate solution to every customer inquiry, but this doesn’t mean you should leave them hanging. It is best practice to acknowledge the client’s issue, let them know you are looking into the matter and will respond as soon as you have the answer.

PRO TIP: Try to give them a timeline so they have expectations around when they will hear back from you. It will help you build credibility and trust. And if you still don’t have a solution within that time frame then follow up and provide them with a quick status update. It’s better to keep them in the loop rather than wondering if their email has been read.  


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Quality Work

Communication is not the only way to succeed in customer service. You can communicate all you want, but it needs to be met with quality work. One of our maxims at LOGiQ3 is “Quality work, the first time” and this statement holds true with all customer service roles. The transition from B2C to B2B here is simple. At call center positions, an important objective is to reduce call backs by solving a customer’s problem within one call. In an administrative customer service role, I found that this is achieved by providing all necessary information to the client and commenting on any anticipated issues. This will help reduce the frequency of correspondences on one topic. Making you more productive in your role and your customer happy that they only have to contact you once for a solution.

Dedication

Dedication to the customer stems from dedication to your own brand. An employee that is dedicated to their company will effectively be able to succeed in the aforementioned areas. Dedication also means believing that the product or service your company provides yields great benefits for the client.  In my previous roles, this was an important facet for customer satisfaction and transitioning this working philosophy to LOGiQ3 was easy. Understanding the importance of your company’s products and services will allow you to understand the positive impact they have on the client. When you illustrate your dedication to your company in your work, it will translate into trust on the client or customer’s end.

While the interactions you have with customers in a B2C and B2B environment might be different - focusing on these 3 components will help you achieve customer satisfaction in both areas.  If you have had any personal experience in a similar transition, please feel free to comment and let us know what you think!

If you are looking to make a transition in a customer service role, these tips will help you build a stellar LinkedIn profile to stand out to prospective employers.

 

Written by
Sehij Gahunia