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Successful B2B Marketers Know Customer Experience Is a Three-Legged Stool

by Robert Johnson  |  
March 28, 2016
  |  1,948 views

In the business-to-consumer (B2C) world, support typically happens after a company has earned a customer and relates almost exclusively to an individual's relationship with a product.

Another characteristic of B2C customer service that differs from business-to-business (B2B) is that support is often problem-focused.

For example, if a consumer buys a malfunctioning kitchen appliance, he or she will contact customer support for help troubleshooting the issue or even to seek a replacement. In regards to reaching consumers, B2C brands face the challenge of communicating a product's value proposition to shoppers and convincing consumers to make final purchase decisions.

However, B2B customer support is much different. Support is just as much a long-term marketing strategy as it is an integral part of creating a positive client experience.

To be successful in the B2B space, organizations must understand how to bridge marketing and service to promote client retention and satisfaction.


The Three-Legged Stool of Customer Experience

The key to understanding how customer service is ultimately a marketing strategy in the B2B space is to view the customer experience as a three-legged stool: sales, marketing, and customer service.

Let's take a look at each of these components:

  1. Marketing: Marketing teams use a variety of channels including social media, email, direct mail, and cold calls to identify prospective clients and get them moving through the sales funnel. Throughout the marketing stage of a customer relationship, team members focus on the unique qualities of their product or service.
  2. Sales: Once a potential customer is captured by the marketing team, sales teams step in and convert those leads to paying customers. Part of this process requires relating a product or service's capabilities to the client's unique needs.
  3. Customer support: This is the final leg of the customer experience stool. During this stage, client services teams make nurturing the client relationships a top priority, going above and beyond to understand their needs and ensuring the product meets—and exceeds—expectations. The difference with this "leg" is that it is ongoing; customer support is the primary connection between a company and its customers from the point of sale throughout the balance of the relationship.

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Robert C. Johnson is CEO of TeamSupport, a cloud-based, B2B software application built to help customer-facing support teams serve clients better through stronger collaboration, superior teamwork, and faster issue resolution.

LinkedIn: Robert C. Johnson 

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Comments

  • by Tripp Kerr Mon Apr 4, 2016 via web

    Very nice and insightful article. Couldn't agree more on the three legs of the stool with the key being an ongoing experience with a brand based on the support obtained over time. Well written!

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