B2B Customer Retention Strategies & Tools
B2B customer relationships usually involve taking time to develop long-term relationships. Learn more about customer retention strategies & tools here.
When growing revenue many businesses focus on acquiring new customers - but retaining existing customers is equally important. The costs of acquiring new customers continues to grow, while providing positive customer experiences to keep customers happy generates a greater ROI at lower costs.
Furthermore, customer retention strategies and tools are particularly important for B2B companies because of the lengthy process of acquiring new, loyal customers. While B2C customer relationships are typically based on transactions, B2B customer relationships usually involve taking time to develop long-term relationships. Scaling B2B eCommerce growth is about relationship building, and it is important to view the customer journey with a mindset on customer retention metrics.
Customer retention involves focusing on existing customers, inspiring repeat purchases, cultivating loyalty, and ultimately increasing the profitability of each established customer. For your B2B company, your existing customer base is one of your most valuable assets. Through effective retention strategies, your existing customer base can become your extended salesforce.
To refresh your memory on customer retention metrics, read our blog post here.
Read on to learn more about the leading customer retention strategies B2B and tools.
Provide Reliable Customer Service
Reliable, consistent, and effective customer service is an essential part of retaining customers. Customer service includes any interaction with a customer after a sale is complete including training, delivery, upgrade offers, invitations for feedback, support, and complaint resolution.
For B2B enterprises in particular, customer service needs to be timely and proactive, because you likely provide services or products that are essential to their operation. Customer service can be delivered through multiple channels, and it is important that service is uniform across every mode of communication. One-on-one calls are an excellent way to show customers that you value their business and care about their success. Furthermore, one-on-one customer service calls are not only important opportunities to address problems, but they are valuable opportunities to expand revenue, upsells, referrals, and brand loyalty.
These days, one of the most effective customer service channels is an online self-service portal, where customers can access documentation, support resources, product information, order history and more, whenever they need to.
Establish a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are fun and effective ways to show customers appreciation. Loyalty programs consist of rewards, discounts, or special offers given to customers who conduct repeat purchases. These programs can promote brand identity and cultivate a sense of belonging.
Loyalty programs can also take the form of subscription programs that provide access to exclusive content, events, or products. Subscription programs can be fee-based or free, as both options can be used to effectively gain customer loyalty.
Applying the principles of B2C loyalty programs to B2B customers can be highly impactful, but require a bit of creativity. As B2B buyers are usually not singular people but are usually company representatives from multiple departments, the loyalty program must either focus on the goals of a specific party or align with the collective goals and strategies. Programs can involve differentiated benefits, gestures, or perks that help shift the B2B relationship from one that is merely transactional to a true partnership.
Focus on the Customer Experience
Customer experience is becoming increasingly important in B2B markets as many B2B buyers are expecting enjoyable product or service experiences.
However, businesses’ ability and priority to provide great B2B customer experiences are still lacking. The B2B market researcher, B2B International USA Inc., determined that only 14% of large B2B companies are truly customer centric, and only 31% of B2B firms are focused on customer centricity. This shows that within B2B companies, there is room to grow in customer centricity and that focusing on the customer experience could provide a distinct advantage.
Building trust takes time, and involves repeated demonstrations of reliability On the flip side, it only takes one mistake to lose it. 70% of consumers report that brand trust is more important than ever before. Consistently follow through on your brand’s promise, and your customers will perceive your brand as trustworthy. When mistakes are made, apologies and corrective measures are critical to retain loyal customers. You can build strong brand loyalty and trust through various ways, but here are 5 ideas:
- Transparent communication
- Authentic content and relationships
- Personalized and engaging messages
- Manage social proof: share customer reviews and testimonials
- Ask for feedback and always be reachable (e.g. chat, SMS)
Inspire with a Mission
As discussed in Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “Start with Why,” companies that have a compelling mission can inspire profound action. Positioning your B2B business around a vision that other companies care about can inspire loyalty.
Donating a percentage of profits to a charitable cause shows customers that there is a deeper purpose to your business and it appeals to the altruistic needs of customers. Charitable donations can inspire customers to feel proud of choosing your business and can lead to repeat purchases. For B2C companies, charitable giving is a well-established practice. For B2B companies, charitable giving is a rising strategy to grow brand image. Charitable donations do not have to be monetary. They can also involve donations of time or effort. B2B businesses are uniquely positioned to partner with suppliers and other businesses to orchestrate creative and impactful charitable campaigns.
Welcome and Listen to Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is a valuable asset that can drive product innovation, design, marketing, and advertising. Globally, 77% of consumers prefer brands that request and apply customer feedback.
It is difficult to assess the performance of your business if you do not know how your customers feel about your products or services. For B2B enterprises, this may involve soliciting feedback from multiple departments or points of contact within a client’s organization. Create a customer feedback system to invite, collect, analyze, distribute, and apply customer feedback.
A simple survey and retention metric like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) can be used to ascertain customer opinions. The NPS uses a 0-10 scale to learn how likely or unlikely a customer is to recommend the business to a friend or colleague. Additionally, you can invite customers to participate in testing and focus groups.
Look for trends and themes in the results, and share these within your organization. Many teams within your enterprise need insights from customer surveys and reviews to enhance user experiences.
Customer feedback can be taken to the next level through co-creation strategies in which customers are invited to participate in the creation of ideas, products, or services. This strategy can give customers a sense of belonging and a feeling of personal investment.
Provide Personalized Experiences
A 2020 survey showed that 93% of B2B professionals worldwide believe that eCommerce personalization efforts led to revenue growth. Personalization strategies show customers that they are valued and help companies proactively meet the unique needs of each consumer. Through data and smart use of analytics, it is possible to collect customer data and apply it to create personalized eCommerce experiences. With DynamicWeb, personalization is easy as your eCommerce, Product Information, CMS and Digital Marketing all live on one platform, integrated with your ERP and CRM.
Convenience is king. Whether your B2B enterprise sells tangible products or services, your offerings need to be as convenient as possible for other businesses to purchase and use. Identify the desires and needs of your customers and acquire systems that make your products and services as accessible as possible. Other business owners need your product or service in order to serve their clients, so the more convenient and reliable your offerings are, the more likely it is that those businesses will be repeat customers.
Clearly Distinguish Your B2B Company from the Competition
To retain customers, it is important that your audience clearly understands the unique value you can provides over the competition. Cultivate your reputation to establish your authority within the marketplace. Your B2B customers are more likely to be repeat patrons if your specific products or services or quality of offerings cannot be found anywhere else. It can feel natural to get inspired by your competitors' activities. But, try to do something different in order to stand out and be remembered.
Educate Your Customers
Information is one of the most valuable resources you can offer to your customers. For businesses, investing in a new product or service can involve a substantial learning curve. Educational programs can solidify your enterprise as an industry leader, and ensure your customers are successful with your products or services. Additionally, customer education resources are valuable because they can keep your customers engaged and interested.
Tools for B2B Customer Retention
Designing and executing customer experiences that foster loyalties is no easy feat, especially with disconnected systems. Luckily, there are tools that can simplify and streamline the B2B customer experiences and ensure every stage of the customer journey supports your customer retention strategy.
The DynamicWeb eCommerce suite delivers powerful B2C and B2B digital experiences. The comprehensive platform can help you improve conversions, simplify complex business processes, develop business relationships, and serve your customers through all channels with personalized experiences.
More than 4,000+ brands worldwide trust DynamicWeb with digital solutions. Our customers include leading brands like Lego Wear, Vredestein, Unilever, Winnebago, L’Oréal, Flying Tiger, Toyota, Europcar, and Skanska. Built on DynamicWeb, these customers are empowered to gain lifelong customer relations, increase revenue and grow their brands.
To help your company grow and thrive with B2B customer retention strategies and tools, contact DynamicWeb today!