Help your B2B clients, help yourself


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As a B2B company, you have a great opportunity to see the big picture that is hidden from your clients. By serving multiple clients, you can see something they can’t – and that they most definitely need to know.

Your clients use your products and services in a vacuum. They probably have a good idea as to how they themselves use your services. But they want to know if they’re taking the best advantage of your offerings. Are others using your products and services in a more optimal manner?

It’s time to make your data transparent. You have the unique lens to see how all your customers use your products and services. Proactively share that information with clients to create joint success.

For example, one of our clients routinely showed their clients their call center survey summary results, which were excellent. Yet, a few high-profile clients were still frustrated with the call center, and my client couldn’t understand the discrepancy. Why are clients so frustrated when their users keep giving high marks?

The solution came when they dug deeper into the data, shared the more comprehensive data with their clients, and worked jointly with them to build a solution.  These high-profile clients were frustrated with the service given, but couldn’t articulate why. When our client looked at call levels, the problem became obvious. The problem wasn’t with the quality of the calls, but the frequency. These clients were seeing call volumes per user about 50% higher than others.

This is something that would have been difficult for the end clients to determine on their own. They don’t know what is normal. They just knew they were getting complaints from their users.  But once our client shared the call data they were able to work together to solve the problem.  As a result, our client had lower costs, the end clients had happier users, and everybody was more profitable. A win all around.

Some of the types of data your clients likely want to know:

  • Types of calls compared to the norm.  Higher-than-average calls of a particular type often lead to training opportunities. One client offered free training, but had a hard time getting clients to use it. They knew that when clients took the free training, client loyalty increased. But they weren’t able to get their clients to take the training until they shared the call data.
  • Software as a Service companies can show the frequency of how different clients use different modules. By showcasing an underutilized part of the software, this can also lead to training opportunities. Helping a client to use all aspects of the software they purchased makes it “stickier” – leading to better results for everybody.
  • Product mix. If you sell multiple products, is the ratio different for some clients?  Why?  For example, if you sell multiple products to retailers, can you show (without giving away proprietary results) how some have success with a different mix of products?
  • Cycle time or out-of-stocks. Can you measure how quickly your clients go through your products?  Show the outliers the overall data, and see if you can help them either forecast better or improve their processes.
  • Change requests. Unnecessary change requests are bad for everybody. They force you to react quickly, and they also cause disruption at your clients.  Can you identify those with more change requests and discover why they’re different?  This type of conversation can reduce the friction common in this scenario and lead to joint decision-making.

As an illustration, I led journey mapping sessions for a client. We went to their customers and spent a half-day with each walking through how they interact with our client around change requests.

We visited three clients before we saw a clear trend. Many of these change requests were initiated by a regulation change. When this happened, each customer individually contacted our client to request a change.  Each agent then initiated the change order, and a programmer was assigned.

What we discovered was that this same scenario was happening with multiple customers for the same regulation change. As a result, my client was doing the same work multiple times, since each customer was siloed. Worse, this process required each customer to individually discover the regulatory change, which some did more quickly than others. This tied up contact center and programming resources, not to mention the customer’s resources, as each change was identified, requested, and fulfilled separately.

By collecting the data and proactively sharing it with customers, my client was able to build a new change process with its customers, allowing them to respond more quickly and efficiently. Once a regulation change occurred, the agent informed management, and they were able to reach out to customers and make the change only once. Even better, by proactively communicating the change to their customers, they removed the friction from the old process.

Many companies are reticent to share their internal information, wanting to hide their “dirty laundry.”  But by showing what was happening across multiple customers, my client was able to work with them in a more collaborative fashion, improving results for everybody.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Tincher
Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers. This lifelong passion for CX, and a thirst for knowledge, led him to found his customer experience consulting firm, Heart of the Customer (HoC). HoC sets the bar for best practices and are emulated throughout the industry. He is the author of Do B2B Better and co-author of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, and he also writes Heart of the Customer’s popular CX blog.


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