While measuring customer satisfaction/feedback/perception is often seen as a B2C imperative, many organizations have substantial B2B connects and in some sectors, the organisation is almost entirely B2B in its functioning or has channel partners/businesses taking their products to the end customers or consuming/leveraging their products.
If we reflect on this, in the B2B world the business/engagement relationships are thus far more sensitive (with higher revenue or value/customer etc.), take longer to develop/penetrate and also require far more effort to retain.
So the key sales, engagement & fulfillment teams of most B2B businesses are staffed with relatively senior staff to engaging with their very important B2B customers/partners.
These relationships are thus required to be nurtured, engaged with care, as risk/impact of dissatisfaction/attrition is much higher.
So the need to measure & analyse B2B customer satisfaction is a critical imperative.
Let’s discuss some salient aspects of B2B customer satisfaction studies.
1. Apart from measurement of client/customer/partner satisfaction (i.e. the scores & analysis) careful interpretation of the “verbatim feedback” obtained is necessary.
2. B2B satisfaction study should poll both (i) direct operating users/customers and (ii) Influencers (i.e. key executive decision makers/sponsors).
3. Senior management “buy in and sponsorship” is desirable, so output is interpreted and actionable determined/taken advantage of.
4. B2B customer satisfaction studies need to be administered with great/extreme care – as existing customer relationships are being surveyed (the study is an extension of the brand of the organisation).
5. Response rates in most B2B surveys are typically very low, so the format, administration should not just be simple, but be friction-less, which induces the respondent to take the survey & not be a bother.
6. B2B surveys are administered by using all the three communication formats, i.e., web (online via emailing the link), phone and in person/video conversation.
7. B2B surveys & customer satisfaction studies typically are done over 5 steps, viz, (i) understanding “as is” of the organisation, (ii) questionnaire design/customization, validation & testing, (iii) survey administration (iv) data analysis, (v) data interpretation, visualization, presentation, discussion & generation of actionables(if any)
8. Ideal frequency for B2B customer satisfaction surveys – is annual. Both CSAT & NPS measures can be used.
9. It’s important to share/discuss summary results & outcomes back with the respondents, so they know that their time has been well spent.
10. B2B customer satisfaction studies are best done by an independent consultancy.
Typical sectors that can/should take advantage of this effective tool include the following:
· ITES firms
· Law & professional services firms
· Engineering, machinery,manufacture of industrial products
· Motor vehicles & parts
· Chemical manufacturers
· Food intermediates
· Financial services
Expertise of individuals handling the study is critical for success of any B2B customer satisfaction study & the outcomes are often revealing; can be used as a strategic & operating tool for driving actionable improvements.
If the study is done independently, it improves the outcomes & also helps to get buy in from the respective divisions of the organizations, covered in the study, helps to stitch the organisational silos effectively and almost always has a very high return on investment (ROI).
We at Hexagon Consulting have considerable expertise in B2B customer satisfaction studies, would love to contribute to your organizational success & improvement.