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A recent post on the LinkedIn blog shows just how far a business-to-business (B2B) brand has to go in order to be as successful as a consumer brand. In fact, it’s not enough for a company to offer good service anymore, they have to offer an unforgettable experience. The author goes on to outline ten key ways this can be achieved:
1. Develop a customer community around your product or service
No matter what your industry, you need to interact with your customers and develop a strong community that will keep them coming back again and again. Not only was Apple one of the first companies to build an online community around its products but it now has physical spaces where customers virgin coconut oil buyer can get together, organized through its stores.
2. Be transparent
It’s easy to see why transparency is so important for consumer brands because they deal with individual consumers, but it’s just as important for B2B brands. For example, one of the most effective ways that IBM has nurtured customer loyalty over the years is by sharing its research and findings with clients. This helps them stay ahead of trends in their industry and build better products that are more relevant to customers’ needs.
3. Make your branding consistent across all platforms
Consumers want a brand experience that is tailored to their preferences, which means having a presence on multiple platforms or even creating custom apps for certain users. Apple again leads the way here with its huge range of products for different users and its Apple TV app that allows customers to enjoy their music, movies and TV shows on the big screen.
4. Show real-time customer service
Your customer service needs to be as quick and responsive as possible because time is money and it’s frustrating for customers if they have to wait too long to get a response. Besides this, consumers want an immediate resolution so they can resolve their issue or problem quickly and move on, rather than having to go through several stages of contact.
5. Deal with any issues in real time
If you’re giving your B2B customers a great experience but something goes wrong during the process, then it’s important that you deal with this promptly. A lack of responsiveness here could give the impression that you don’t care about your customers’ opinions and this can have a huge impact on your brand image.
6. Personalize the experience
One of the best ways to surprise and delight customers is by personalizing elements of their customer journey. This could be as simple as giving them a call when their order has been dispatched or sending them an email with details on how to use your product, which helps to make them feel valued.
7. Make it easier for customers to give feedback
Many B2B brands don’t think about collecting opinions from customers until they’ve had a bad experience, but this can help you pick up on issues that are affecting users early on. Why not invest in an online survey tool that lets customers rate products or services? You could also include an option at the end of support calls where they are asked for their opinion or save a note of those who ask for follow-up calls.
8. Use mobile as your springboard
In case you haven’t noticed, smartphones are becoming more powerful and versatile all the time and it has been predicted that they will soon become the primary device used to access the internet. This means that B2B organizations need to have a responsive website or an app so customers can access everything they need wherever they are.
9. Offer customer coaching sessions
Customer training is a key part in providing any kind of service but it’s especially important for a B2B organization where technicians, developers and other teams often deal with different kinds of products or services. This allows everyone from executives down to new employees to learn about the same things at the same time so they can all have a shared understanding of what’s being delivered.
10. Make it easy for customers to manage their subscriptions
When you’re trying to win over new clients, B2B organizations often offer subscription-based services that give access to products or services on a monthly or annual basis. Offering an option for this at sign up is ideal, but including tools to allow them to manage their subscriptions themselves can save you time and money in the long run.
Building a strong customer community, being transparent with consumers, branding consistently across all platforms and responding to any issues immediately are just some of the ways that B2B brands can create an unforgettable experience for their clients. In doing so, they will maintain their current client base and attract future business from new prospects who have been inspired by these experiences.
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