Don't Drive Clients Away — 5 Tips B2B and B2C Companies Can Learn from Each Other To Improve Customer Experience and Client Retention from Graziano Associates

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Whether in corporate or retail, customers expect certain levels of service, or they will leave. Customer service, communication, insight, innovation and streamlined processes all factor into a positive Customer Experience.

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Denise Graziano, President of Graziano Associates, LLC

Businesses should always strive to create an experience that clients would not want to leave for any reason

In the world of Customer Experience the lines are steadily blurring between B2C and B2B. Once thought to be solely a retail or B2C consideration, successful companies have recognized that Customer Experience and Customer Service factor heavily into company perception and client retention rates. Forrester Research examined 7500 consumer surveys and found that providing a good customer experience influences consumers' willingness to repurchase, their reluctance to switch to a competitor, and their likelihood to recommend companies across all industries studied. Graziano Associates offers 5 tips both B2C and B2B can use to improve their overall customer experience.

"The easier we make it for our clients to deal with us, the more likely they will be repeat customers," says Denise Graziano, President of Graziano Associates. "Businesses should always strive to create an experience that clients would not want to leave for any reason."

5 Tips to Improve Customer Experience

1. Start with service.
Customers in both worlds demand good customer service. All companies can benefit from reviewing their approach. According to a global 2013 Accenture study 66% of B2C consumers switched providers due to poor customer service. Consumers will not feel loyalty to companies that do not value their business. One size fits all answers to service questions are not acceptable to retail consumers, nor should they be.

A Forrester survey also cites an excellent example of service. Sprint focused on eliminating the root causes of customer complaint calls to the contact center and jumped from last to first in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Since they fielded fewer outsourced calls, and decreased the number of customer credits needed, Sprint saved $1.7 billion dollars.

2. Anticipate client needs and preferences.
B2B, take a page from Amazon’s “if you like x, you may also like y” suggestions. This approach forces companies to pay more attention to their clients and make correlations for them. Save your clients a step or two and demonstrate your understanding of their needs. When people feel understood they are more inclined to buy.

3. Know your customers AND Be innovative.
Take trends and make them relevant and tailored for your customers. Be innovative. When you know trends and you know your client, bring the two together to create a spin, look, approach that is all your client’s own. No one in B2B wants to show up at an event where everyone has the same approach, look, goods, et al. Avoid cookie cutter solutions.

4. Streamline the process, respond quickly through all stages of the sales cycle, and COMMUNICATE.
With many online business transactions tracking information, order summaries or other confirmations are immediate. B2B clients are busy people who juggle many projects. Do not make them chase you for information. Be the one who is always one step ahead of their questions. Provide accurate information quickly and efficiently and apprise them of any changes or issues that need attention. Poor communication drives business away.

5. Make it easy to work with you.
If you want to give a discount to a customer, give it to them. Do not make them fill out impossible rebate paperwork and wait two months for an update. This is infuriating and unnecessary. Find a different business approach for revenue. Remember these poor practices impact overall company image.

Not only does good customer experience affect overall revenue, referrals for new business, and client retention, it also has an impact on stock performance. Leaders in Forrester's Customer Experience Index had a cumulative 43% gain in performance from 2007-2012, compared to a 14.5% increase for the S&P 500 Index, and a 33.9% decrease for companies with poor customer experience. The message for all corporations, both B2B and B2C is to examine your business through your clients' eyes and make improvements where needed. Everyone benefits from positive customer experience.

A strategic thinker and leader with over 27 years of business experience, Denise Graziano is President of Graziano Associates and author of the forthcoming book Once a Client, Always a Client™, and creator of Client Relationship Mastery™—the formula designed to help sales professionals retain clients in today’s competitive business landscape. To have Denise Graziano speak to your corporation or sales team, contact her at 203-254-0195. Please visit http://www.grazianoassoc.com for more information.

Graziano Associates is a marketing and promotions firm which helps clients to get the best results from their sales messaging, client retention, employee motivation, event presence, and trade show performance. Founded in 1992, Graziano Associates is based in Fairfield, CT.

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