Tips to Build B2B Customer Loyalty & Trust

In the B2C world, the most successful companies are those that provide an outstanding customer experience for both existing and potential customers, which in turn builds trust and loyalty to the brand. However, on the B2B side, many companies fall short on delivering a consistent, positive customer experience. A recent study by Demand Metric found that less than 20 percent of organizations are currently marketing across the widely accepted customer lifecycle of awareness, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy. Instead, most companies focus the bulk of their money and resources on acquiring customers and very little, if anything, on retention, let alone creating brand advocates. How can B2B companies get right by their existing customers and build a better customer experience and increase trust and loyalty? Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Ask your customers

When was the last time you asked your customers "How are we doing?" The first step in creating a better customer experience is to go to your current customers and find out what you're doing well and where you need to improve. Online surveys or, better yet, a phone call from you or even a third-party source can be useful in gathering the data you need to improve your customer experience.

2. Identify and prioritize areas for improvement

Armed with the data gathered from your customer research, you can begin to identify, prioritize and address your problem areas. For example, was your company dinged by customers for not being responsive to customer calls or emails or responding in an impersonal, unfriendly manner? Your probable next step is to scrap your current customer relations' process and begin rebuilding a program and a team for which customer satisfaction is the number one priority. This could involve investing in new technology to help you respond more quickly and efficiently to customers, as well as retraining employees at every level about the importance of putting the customer first and empowering them to manage the relationship.

3. Develop and live a brand promise

Every brand makes a promise to its customers - FedEx promises your package will get there overnight and Apple promises to Think Different. Defining what your brand offers to customers and then delivering on that promise through every interaction will help retain customers and turn them into advocates. But, to keep your promises, everyone from the CEO to interns must know and understand how they contribute to delivering on your brand promise every day.

4. Demonstrate your value with good content      

Building trust and loyalty requires more than just delivering your product or service on time and budget, its about communicating with your customers regularly and building a relationship. Sharing personalized content that could help a customer improve their business or keep on top of industry trends and issues shows your company's value and positions you as a trusted ally, not just a supplier.

5. Evolve and innovate

Understanding your customers industry and adjusting your product or service to reflect current conditions and trends will set your company apart as a nimble innovator who is in tune with the marketplace. Staying ahead of your customers and looking forward for new ideas provides incredible value and affirms your position as a trusted advisor.

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