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:
The podcast transcript highlights the importance of leveraging customer experience for growth in the B2B space. It discusses how Amazon Business has successfully applied its B2C learnings to serve business customers and scale over time.
Amazon Business initially started by serving the SMB space, leveraging its B2C user experience to provide a familiar and intuitive interface for business customers. They offer a vast selection of products, competitive pricing, and fast free shipping, just like in their consumer business. This approach allows them to cater to the needs of various industries and customers of all sizes.
However, serving B2B customers goes beyond just selection. B2B customers have specific needs such as additional reporting, billing, and integration with procurement systems. Amazon Business addresses these needs by offering professional services, API integration, and tailoring solutions to specific verticals like healthcare, financial services, retail, and government industries.
One key difference between the consumer and business side of Amazon is the complexity of the challenges faced by customer service associates. They handle tasks like invoice reconciliation for multinational corporations with multiple locations worldwide. B2B customers also often purchase products in larger quantities, requiring inventory management solutions.
To bridge the gap between customer expectations and the experience provided, B2B brands need to define their target market and work back from customer needs. It’s important to prioritize needs in a roadmap, starting with simplicity and gradually improving customer service and modernizing legacy systems. Additionally, it is crucial to talk to customers, gather feedback, and continuously test and measure as the next generation customer experience is built and scaled.
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.