How to Start Getting Meaningful B2B Customer Feedback
Author: John Allen
Customer feedback can feel a lot harder to come by when you’re only selling to (and thus communicating with) representatives of another business. It isn’t as simple as sending an automatic “how did you find it?” email after an order is placed.
But meeting customer expectations of another business is pivotal to keeping your own company thriving, so receiving B2B feedback is crucial.
You come across as a business that is open to criticism and suggestions. Making customer-oriented videos lets you show your human face to potential buyers and makes your content easily accessible. An engaging video goes a long way in marketing, presenting you as an approachable business.
It’s also worthwhile trying to understand their viewpoint. They will want you to offer the best customer service when they are relying on you for their products. Whether they come to you for sales software, project management software, or a physical product, they need to be able to trust you to act on their feedback.
So start collecting this meaningfully.
Receive feedback during the transaction or interaction
It’s no good asking a customer how their experience was days, or even hours, later. Humans have selective memory – they only remember the really good or the really bad after a while.
Offering customers the opportunity to voice an opinion during their experience is a proactive sales approach that ensures you receive non-tainted feedback. But you don’t want to force it on them – they might be in a rush. If your company runs on an app, have a small pop-up box in the corner of the screen asking “want to help us improve your experience?”
Another automatic option is adding a thank-you survey once the transaction or interaction has been completed. This is a completely non-intrusive way of encouraging customers to give you their opinion as they can either press ‘start’ or just close the tab.
Emphasize the importance of feedback to your company and recognize that it takes time. Showing this empathy to your customers means they are more likely to empathize with you and realize how important customer feedback is.
But… the online customer journey contains so many steps (and step-backs) now thanks to the advancement of digital marketing that you must be careful with your placement of a feedback request.
On the one hand, customers are used to the various steps required for purchases online, so they may not mind spending an extra minute ticking yes or no in a pop-up box. On the other hand, they might be fed up with all these questions and boxes. Keep it short and sweet.
Have a conversation
You probably have quite a close relationship with some of your B2B customers. This could make it feel more awkward asking for and giving feedback. So make sure you’re acting like a human.
Be conversational so you both feel relaxed during this much-needed discussion. Ask open-ended questions that contain keywords – “enjoyable experience”, “improvements” etc. – to get useful responses you can look back on.
If for some reason the feedback cannot be given over the phone, you’ll need the best AI chatbot to replace you. Bots that don’t sound very human can make customers uncomfortable and they may be less inclined to respond.
Another key component to receiving meaningful feedback is keeping the customer engaged. Avoid annoying or boring the recipient by only asking a few questions. You should aim for around five questions (no more than 10), so make sure each one is important.
Every question you ask should trigger an answer that can be constructively acted upon after the conversation has ended, to improve your business-to-business services.
Track the conversation
There is no point in having a meaningful conversation and then completely forgetting about it. Effective call center software solutions include call monitoring and recording and allow for omnichannel routing. This means whether the conversation takes place over the phone or via a chat it is all saved in the same place.
When multiple feedback surveys have been recorded, they can be analyzed for any recurring themes. If more than one business representative is hinting to you that their interactions with your agents could be more effective, consider making time for more training or investing in better call center phone software.
Of course, it’s always great to hear what you excel at, but your priority when looking over customer feedback is to see where there is room for improvement.
Pick out key customers
Small and big businesses alike can find themselves in a position where they have a small selection of customers they can rely on coming back to them. Sound familiar? Then utilize these individuals!
Key customers can easily be rounded up into a customer panel. The chosen customers can then meet up, physically or virtually, with a representative from your company and share their opinions. Customer panels have many positives.
Firstly, a problem many businesses face is trying to re-engage lapsed customers. Loyal customers showing a lack of interest in your company is something nobody wants to be confronted with. But if it does happen, you need to find out why, and a panel can help.
A client may feel more confident expressing their wishes or concerns if they know another client on their level is there to support them. They will feel less like they are being intimidatingly questioned by your representative! A more relaxed environment reaps more honest answers.
Having engaged customers at your disposal also gives you a stellar opportunity to showcase any improvements you have made based on previous feedback. If you have recently made big changes to how purchases or bookings are made on your website, use the time you have with the panel to collect their thoughts on these. And if you’re bringing out a new business product, why not tease it to them?
Another positive of having a customer panel is the fact you can promote the existence of it. Being open about having a customer panel tells current and potential purchasers that you value and respect their opinion.
You are not gathering opinions in private and pretending your business is perfect – you are showing customers that you are where you are because of previous feedback. As a result, they will feel more willing and motivated to share any dissatisfactions they do have with your service.
It is worth considering mentioning a customer panel on onboarding emails too, as it lets customers know from the offset that their opinion matters.
Close the loop
Ask yourself: What is an Outbound Contact Center? It is a two-way process. Like we said at the beginning: a conversation. Customers need to feel appreciated and the most effective way of achieving this is by telling them they are. It’s that easy.
Once feedback has been received, ensure you say something like “thanks for your feedback, we really appreciate this and will use this for future improvements.”
If you’ve undertaken a significant change in the way you approach B2B transactions or interactions, let all your customers know via email, or at least post it on your social media and website.
Making a big point about a change you’ve made due to comments received by customers shows how committed you are to listening to them and acting on suggestions.
Your main takeaway from this post should be to not only listen but speak and do. A successful B2B sales strategy requires all three.
Customer feedback only becomes meaningful once it is acted upon. No matter how small a remark you receive from a customer, record it and deal with it. And here’s the key part: tell them what you have changed. If you don’t, they might not stick around to find out!
About the Author: John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and workforce optimization software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Website Pulse and DesignRush.
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