4 Ways to Craft a Modern Customer Experience

By
Monica Orrigo
March 19, 2015

A shift is taking place in the world of wholesale and B2B purchasing, and it’s time for your customer service strategy to reflect that shift. Here are 4 actionable steps you can take to create the modern customer experience that retailers are coming to expect.

How to Craft a Modern Customer Experience

1. Adapt to new B2B buying behavior.

B2B purchasing behavior is changing, and it’s beginning to look a lot more like the B2C buying journey. While the sales process of the past might have began with printed catalogs or calls with sales reps, it’s now getting started with a wholesale vendor’s website or online search. Forrester Research has found that 57% of B2B buyers began their product search through one of those online channels. Another Forrester survey found that offline customers that are now buying online actually end up having larger orders and cost less to support. Take action: Build a modern online presence and provide an eCommerce portal for your retailers to place orders online.

2. Provide all the information they need to make a purchase decision.

Just as Amazon provides detailed product descriptions and specifications, high-resolution images, pricing, availability, and shipping costs to their customers, retail buyers will expect the same from B2B transactions. Rather than taking the approach of throwing your product lines on the internet, only to ask buyers to “contact us for a quote,” or “call for availability,” you must cater to the demands of this new breed of B2B buyer, i.e. convenience and content. Take action: Make pricing, inventory availability, shipping costs and schedules, product specs, etc. readily available online for your customers.

3. Bring technology into your analog sales process.

While it’s easy to get caught up in how technology is transforming wholesale sales online, don’t forget about the importance of your sales reps in the field. You don’t want buyers to have a great experience with your online eCommerce portal, only to discover in an in-person store visit that your sales reps are still using paper product catalogs and order forms. Take action: Equip your sales team with mobile order writing tools in order to create a seamless experience across your offline and online sales channels.

4. Leverage customer data to create a personalized experience.

Wholesalers must emphasize proactive and personalized customer support to maintain and/or increase the lifetime value of their customers. One way to provide this kind of experience is by tracking customers’ past order history in order to discuss what sold well, provide personalized product recommendations, and help them phase their purchases. Take action: Find ways to arm your reps with customer intelligence to take into sales meetings. One way to achieve this is with a sales order management platform. The wholesalers who come out on top are those making their customer experience a strategic priority. If you have any questions about the ideas we covered here, or other customer service suggestions to share, tell us in the comments.