Retailers will identify how e solutions can support their B2B activity. [printfriendly]
Your Current Customer Service Plan
There are basic customer support and service functions each business should have. How you weigh each feature will depend on your company, products and services, processes, customers, and other variables. Companies with little to no current customer support system may wish to consider adding the “must have” recommendations and then focusing on additional areas of best value.
- Website: A basic website is a requirement. There are free and easy to use tools to create a website. Visit the selling online module for examples and links for creating a website. Adding other functionality for customer support is an option. Plan for what functionality you want to add later (example: live chat) and make sure the website you build can integrate components later.
- CRM system: Is a must have in today’s business world. There are numerous free to low cost solutions that are a great improvement over manual (handwritten) or Excel systems. Start with a basic CRM plan for more advanced features you may want to adopt in future and ensure your system can accommodate them. For further information go to CRM section.
Evaluate your current B2B organisation program by mapping the touch points your B2B partners have with your brand.
Consider which aspect of your retail business B2B business:
- Produces the most contact with your B2B partners.
- Produces the most time spent with B2B partners.
- Results in the most sales.
- Frustrates your staff the most and why?Frustrates your B2B partners the most and why?
Communicating effectively with your B2B partner:
- What is your current turn-around time to reply to a B2B partner question?
- How long does an average response take?
The questions above, are examples of what you need to ask to refine where your business can start to implement B2B partner service improvements. As each company is unique, you need to go through the process of documenting your own B2B partner service and support processes and determine if there are bottlenecks causing service delays. For example: Waiting for a staff person to return who knows about the B2B partner history because it’s “their” client. This can be remedied with a CRM and/or ticketing system. Where can your company recognise the best gains in B2B partner support and service?
Once you have mapped out your B2B partner service process and weak links, then use these website resources, to research which technology will offer the best solution. Consider what you can and should be doing online to enhance your B2B partner experience, even if you are not actively selling products or services online. You will still have a website and the majority of people still expect to be able to interact with your company online.
Don’t add live interactive tools if you are not going to be online! It is much worse to send a support request and not have it replied to than not having the option at all. For example, 56% of B2B partner tweets to companies are being ignored (Source: AllTwitter).
Every retailer that deals with B2B partners does some level of B2B partner service, even if it is done in an ad hoc manner. To develop an effective plan, it is important to objectively evaluate what you currently do and to then explore where and how you can enhance your B2B partner experience through online B2B partner service and support methods.
- Go through the process of discussing the various B2B partner support areas to evaluate and rate and then create a checklist:
- The cost: What is the cost of these B2B partner support service specific processes, tools, etc.?
- The effect: Which processes affect creating a positive B2B partner service experience?
- The sale: How influential is each B2B partner support element in making a sale?
- Add your own metrics that make sense to you, such as how effective an element is, in supporting “sharing/word-of-mouth”.
- The rating scale is of your own choosing. You can devise your own scale and elements to customise the checklist for your company. Example: on a scale of -5 to +5 (+5 being best).
- List as many tools or process as needed if your team feels there is benefit in reviewing all of your tools and processes.
- If you determine that some areas are negative, your organisation may want to look to the common tools column for inspiration and check the other pages in this website for more information. Rank areas and processes that need the most attention and will provide your company with the best results for your investment, by boosting B2B partner support and service.
- Rate the potential solutions and/or changes and estimate the expected impact against cost of the change. Example for the sales process: Say losing 15% in sales due to B2B partner wholesale not being calculated properly; therefore, if you are doing on average of $1000 a day, that is $150 days in losses; measure this against cost of new shopping cart /admin login area process to determine viability.