Support issues in the B2B world are complicated. Research by Teamsupport shows that a first contact resolution (FCR) is less common in B2B situations than in B2C. Particularly with large and complex products, every interaction with a customer can have consequences for the turnover, even if the deal size does not amount to tens of thousands of euros.
What if you can identify and resolve issues with B2B customers before those customers approach your support team? Or, even better, what if you can provide solutions before customers even realize something is wrong? What you need for this is a proactive approach to customer support. This approach is made possible by the use of the Internet of Things.
Improve the customer experience from average to exceptional
According to McKinsey’s research, improving a B2B customer experience from “average” to “exceptional” can lead to a 30 to 50 percent increase in KPIs, such as the chance to renew the partnership or customers buying a different product. One of the biggest challenges facing B2B brands is “delivering excellent customer experiences throughout the customer lifecycle”. This answer gives more than half (52%) of the B2B experts who participated in the survey. Improving the customer experience is a lot more difficult in practice than it seems. “Proactivity” – anticipating customer needs – and “Seamless” – making the customer’s life easier – are challenges that only a quarter of B2B brands believe are doing.
Step away from the traditional support model
When your support team responds to incoming customer inquiries and requests, they deliver reactive support. This traditional support model waits for customers to come up with issues. Steve Jobs expressed proactive support as follows: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” Proactive support becomes possible with IoT technology. It enables your team to identify and resolve customer issues before they disrupt customer processes. This type of assistance makes life easier for support agents and leads to a better customer experience.
When a customer calls customer service with a problem, they do not have time to wait for a solution. Perhaps the production process has come to a standstill because one of your machines has failed. Or maybe the entire office is without coffee because your coffee machine has a malfunction. And think about cooling. If a cold store fails, stocks of meat, ice cream, or, worse, medicines are lost and spoilt. An IoT system can provide early identification, enabling your employees to find and implement solutions before a customer asks for help.
Build strong customer loyalty
If a support ticket does arrive, employees can see the current status of the customer’s system in the dashboard of the IoT platform. They can check log data or quickly come up with answers via automated error analysis. Employees are therefore better prepared to deal with incoming questions. Proactive support has an impact on customer loyalty. It improves customer experiences, which helps build strong customer relationships and leads to long-term customer loyalty. With excellent customer service, your customers become ambassadors of your brand.
Shorten communication time
In a B2B environment, several people often use a product. This application means that multiple customers can call about different problems or that several people call about the same problem. Handling each question takes time, even if the issue has already been resolved. By recognizing problems earlier through IoT, you can prevent or shorten communication time.
IoT makes it possible to investigate and solve problems remotely. Sometimes this can be done by a remote software update or by giving instructions to the customer. This assistance can reduce the number of visits by technicians. With IoT systems, it is often possible to introduce predictive maintenance over time and solve problems before they arise. That also contributes to cost savings.
Also, make older devices “connected”
In short, using IoT to make B2B customer service proactive pays off. You can build IoT into your new products. But if you already have many older machines and devices in the field, nothing has been lost yet. It is also possible to add IoT to existing devices. Machines and devices often contain many data, but this is usually only available in the device itself. With IoT, this data is unlocked and made available to the support team.
Proactive customer service supported by IoT not only ensures that customers extend their contracts. It also results in cost savings and a reduction in the workload of support employees.