Customer service in B2B companies

There is no question that good customer service is important to B2B companies and becoming more important all the time. However, many companies are not aware that properly organized and even automated customer service can save them time and money, and bring in additional business at the same time.

What do B2B customers expect from their suppliers and business partners? How can we fulfil or even exceed these expectations? And what is in it for us?

Putting the customer first

It sounds obvious to say that for all activities, the focus should always be on the customer. But there is more to it than it sounds. What it boils down to is that whenever a decision is made in a company, the most important question to be considered should always be “How is this beneficial for the customer?” Often techniques or products are developed because they are new and interesting and only afterwards does a company think about how to make them attractive for the customer. A company which puts its customers first takes the opposite approach: customers say what they need and what is useful for them. Technologies are then developed to fulfil customers’ needs and solve their problems. A customer-based approach like this can mean making considerable changes to company structures, but these can be made gradually in small steps.

Kundenservice B2B: der Kunde im Mittelpunkt: Icons von drei verschiedenen Köpfen, die in zwei Händen gehalten werden


Kundenservice B2B: Self-service: click here button

Customers expect individual service offers to be provided quickly and 24/7. In many cases, a well-structured online service is more important for them than personal contact. The millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000 and who grew up with internet and smartphone technology, now hold key positions in companies. They expect to be able to access information 24/7 and want to be able to find the answers to their questions themselves with a few clicks.

Pull marketing as a service

Many people are annoyed by classical push marketing, such as advertising via TV spots, emails or banners, and it does not motivate them to buy. Pull marketing, however, fulfils the requirements of customers searching for a product by providing informative and well-organized content aimed at a particular target group. The initiative comes from the interested customer who has a particular problem or requirement and while looking for solutions comes across the company which can help. This is relevant for B2C but even more so for B2B. Studies have shown that 70 to 90% of the customer journey is completed by the time a customer contacts a company employee. The decision-makers in B2B companies are also active on social media and surf the internet. When looking for the solution to a specific problem, potential business partners will probably turn to a company they already know, perhaps because they have been following an interesting blog on their website for some time and have seen that they are experts on certain subjects.

Kundenservice B2B: zwei Zeitungen mit der Überschrift "News" als Symbol für Content Marketing

Many decisions in B2B companies are made bottom-up, rather than top-down. This means that decisions are made based on ideas from lower hierarchy levels. It makes sense, therefore, to provide relevant and interesting content for employees or heads of department and position your company as a competent business contact for them, rather than directing marketing measures purely at management. We should not forget management secretarial staff, either, because they are the gateway to the decision-makers. Good secretarial staff filter contact enquiries to ensure that the management is not continually bombarded with offers or enquiries. These employees also suggest changes and influence management decisions, so you want to have them on your side.

Automated customer service



These days, remote services automate a large part of customer service. Technical equipment and machines count operating hours, for example, and recognize faults. They notify the service partner directly of upcoming maintenance checks or send error messages. The service partner can then identify the fault remotely, order necessary replacement parts immediately and suggest an appointment to repair the fault. Service workers can also connect to machines and solve software problems or instruct on-site employees remotely. Employees can receive help from technical experts easily and quickly by using smart glasses. The glasses have a camera which transmits everything the on-site employee sees to a specialist somewhere in the world, who can then identify the problem and suggest solutions. The service technician can also show documents or instructions in the field of view to help the on-site employee solve the problem.

CRM – systematic customer relationship management

CRM systems, software solutions to manage customer relationships, are much more than ways of collecting and managing customer contacts or even recording and measuring the sales activities of employees. Modern CRM systems can do much more. They help to generate new business and turnover while increasing customer and employee satisfaction.


All your direct marketing can be managed by CRM systems. In order to do this, relevant data must be maintained and entered into the system in a standardized way and uniform format. If every employee works with their own personal Excel files filled with information about their own customers, valuable data cannot be analysed and could even be lost.

Kundenservice B2B: Grafik, die ein CRM-System symbolisiert

CRM systems can evaluate, prepare and interpret customer orders. By analysing shopping baskets, for example, cross-selling potential can be recognized. Customer satisfaction can be measured so that migration tendencies can be recognized in time. Information about orders or complaints can be analysed and used as a basis for the planning and implementation of marketing campaigns. After-sales service can be simplified and made more effective, for example by sending the buyer an email after a transaction has been completed asking about satisfaction and asking the customer to recommend the company to others.

Kundenservice B2B: Icon eines Kundenservice-Mitarbeiters mit Telefon-Headset

Customers expect to be addressed personally, as the same products are often available from several companies, and customers will buy where they feel comfortable and valued. This is relevant not only for B2C, but similarly for B2B, because also in B2B companies, of course, it is people who talk to each other and do business. The personal commitment and the customer’s trust, for example, to the sales representative are very valuable. But what happens if this employee is ill or leaves the company? If all the information about the customer is collected in one central place, other employees can deal with customer enquiries quickly and competently. A service employee on the telephone can access offers and agreements drawn up by the sales representative and help the customer just as well as the colleague who is currently unavailable. The outcome will then be high customer and employee satisfaction.

Internal communication is also simplified by CRM systems as all employees can access information from a central point instead of having to ask other colleagues for it.

Investing in customer service and particular in CRM systems does not mean you are investing in customer satisfaction which is hard to measure and where it is uncertain if it will profit your company. Your customers will be delighted with good self-service offers and remote services, because they can help themselves quickly. This creates free capacity in your own company and reduces travelling expenses. The bond between the customer and the company is no longer dependent on one employee who has all the information about the customer. Instead, colleagues can also access the same centrally-stored information and deal with the customer competently. If CRM systems evaluate and analyse collected information so that new knowledge is generated, this helps to recognize customer requirements and to plan new measures and strategies. By bundling information in a central point, you can simplify and standardize processes, thereby saving time and money.

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