Relationships matter in B2B.  But for many B2B businesses it’s simply not commercially viable to individually account manage each customer.  This means that when issues arise, customers need to be directed to ‘mass service’ channels – usually a contact centre.

I’ve recently spent a lot of time with Vodafone exploring what great customer service looks like.  The results of the study have been published in full as part of their Perspective thought leadership series, but in a nutshell here’s a blueprint for excellent customer service.

The most important point to remember is that customers don’t really want to be contacting you in this context – they only do so when there’s a problem or uncertainty.  Above all then, a good experience is one which resolves the issue to their satisfaction.  However, the best experience reaches this resolution in a particular way:

  • It is highly responsive
  • It minimises the effort the customer needs to put in
  • Full unqualified ownership of the issue is taken
  • It provides a one-touch resolution – customers aren’t passed from pillar to post
  • It is delivered by staff with the expertise, understanding and authority to resolve the issue satisfactorily

This formula holds true regardless of how customers make contact – by phone, email, online or social media.  After all, when it’s boiled down, customer service is simply a human interaction.

The full report can be found here:

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) customer satisfaction surveys.

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About Andrew

Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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