Building customer engagement

A company lives or dies by the strength of its relationship with customers, and B2B businesses are no exception. However, recent research has shown that as many as 71% of B2B customers are not engaged with their supplier, and could switch at any time.

That 71% is made up of clients that are either indifferent to their supplier or, worse, actively disengaged.

However good you think your client relationships are, the fact is they could always be better. Here are some insights into common pitfalls and the benefits of client loyalty.

Why are clients so disengaged?

There are as many reasons for disengagement as there are disengaged clients. However, there are recurring themes.

It’s common for a B2B client to be with their supplier out of convenience – the costs involved with switching are high, or else their supplier was simply the most obvious “big name” and their choice involved no active engagement at all.

While this may be a technical win for the incumbent supplier, it’s not the same as an engaged, loyal customer – the risk of a loss is still there.

The research shows that 20% of B2B customers experienced a problem with a company or product. This may be a minority figure, but the majority (60%) of those people believe that their problem went unresolved.

Not only do unsolved problems result in understandably disloyal clients, they’re a direct link to one of the simplest ways to build customer loyalty.

Building client loyalty

It’s important to emphasise that your number one consideration when it comes to customer loyalty is the quality of your product and service. If your customers aren’t receiving what they need, it’s only natural that they consider going elsewhere.

With competition from digital channels, it’s essential that you can explain what makes you stand out and provide the level of support that your clients need:

Problem solving
• Resolving issues quickly and going the extra mile to make amends can improve client relationships. A problem can actually be a good opportunity to boost client loyalty.

Being easy to get hold of
• Business owners often struggle to juggle their time, so being forced to call back can jeopardise the relationship.

Being pleasant to deal with
• Your clients are essential to your business, so do take the time to make them feel special.

Responding quickly
• Advertising is a big investment for many businesses and they may be unfamiliar with the processes involved. If they have concerns or questions, make sure you get back to them – fast.

Those last three might seem like no brainers, but having a good relationship with a business makes it much harder to move on. It’s the soft elements of service that build loyalty and are the crucial icing on the cake.

How to tell if its working

It’s one thing to invest resources into building customer loyalty, but you need to know it’s working too.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a standard, and simple, way to do this. Despite its technical name, put simply the NPS indicates how likely your clients are to recommend your product or service.

Not only is a recommendation is a clear sign of a loyal, engaged and satisfied customer, research showss that clients who follow a recommendation have a 92% retention rate, as opposed to 62% from advertising or other means.

The benefit for your bottom line

B2B customers with high customer engagement achieve 50% higher revenue, 34% higher profitability and 55% higher share of wallet. That’s definitely something that’s worth the investment.

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