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A customer-centric approach drives B2B success

This article was based on the interview with Chris Costello, Executive Vice President Worldwide Strategic Accounts at Amazon Business by Greg Kihlström for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. 
Listen to the original episode here:

Customer-centric approach drives success in the B2B space. The expectations of B2B customers are evolving, and companies must adapt to meet these changing demands. B2B customers are looking for simplified and efficient experiences that mirror their B2C interactions. They want access to a wide selection of products, visibility of their spend, compliance, and cost savings. They have unique and complex needs, but they are seeking a frictionless user experience.

Many B2B brands are recognizing these expectations and are striving to provide an Amazon-like experience in the business world. They understand that meeting these expectations is crucial for success. However, there are challenges that B2B brands face in meeting these expectations.

One of the biggest challenges is balancing the needs of the end-users with the requirements of decision-makers and administrators. B2B companies often have a large employee base with individual preferences and unique requirements. It is essential to create a user experience that is empowering and flexible for the end-users while also meeting the control and cost-saving goals of the decision-makers. This requires finding a balance between user experience and governance.

To overcome this challenge, B2B brands need to focus on creating a frictionless user experience. This involves seamlessly integrating with the day-to-day tools and processes that employees are already using. By doing so, employees do not have to learn something new or slow down productivity. B2B brands need to make their customers’ lives easier by providing excellent and frictionless user experiences.

In the past, procurement departments may have made things hard for employees, but those days are long gone. B2B brands now understand that making things difficult for employees slows down results and affects the top and bottom line numbers. Therefore, they are shifting their focus towards creating a seamless and frictionless user experience.

However, meeting these expectations is not without its challenges. B2B brands must work backwards from customer needs and be hyper-focused on the 360 customer lifecycle. They need to make it almost irresponsible not to do business with their company. This requires accelerating cycle time and service level agreements (SLAs) without sacrificing quality. B2B brands need to ensure that their websites are intuitive, offer 24/7 chat support, and provide options such as free returns.

Additionally, B2B brands can leverage technology to enhance the customer experience. For example, telemedicine has transformed the lives of many people by allowing them to have virtual consultations with doctors and receive prescriptions delivered to their homes. B2B brands can also automate processes such as the intake of requests for proposals (RFPs) and integrate with reverse auction software platforms.

In conclusion, a customer-centric approach is crucial for success in the B2B space. B2B customers have evolving expectations, driven by their experiences in their personal lives. They want simplified, efficient experiences that mirror their B2C interactions. By embracing technology, streamlining processes, and offering comprehensive solutions, B2B companies can meet these expectations and create a seamless and satisfying customer experience.

House of the Customer by Greg Kihlström is now available.
House of the Customer by Greg Kihlström

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