Are you a B2B organization? Do you build great tools for your clients that help them win over their own customers? How much attention are you giving to your clients’ experience?

Yeah, we thought so.

Customer experience is becoming a vital aspect of brand identity and a key aspect of marketing for consumer-facing companies, yet business-facing service organizations lag behind. And that could cost a lot in the long run.

Unhappy customers (and clients) are expensive

Each year bad customer service costs companies $338.5 billion worldwide. And thanks to the many online tools consumers have now to voice their discontent, the damage from each negative customer experience is only going to get worse.

Everywhere you look, companies are inventing new, creative ways to show customers just how much they care. Whether that’s greeting a hungry traveler at the airport with a steak or making special deliveries to elderly customers in an emergency.

These kinds of extraordinary feats of customer support could rightfully be called “stunts” — they work as an occasional marketing tactic but they’re not practical for the everyday application. However, the guiding principle behind these stunts is an important one for business-facing service organizations to consider: What are you doing to make sure your customers are happy?

Of course, there’s a delicious irony with this conundrum, in that many of the service companies struggling to provide great client satisfaction are experts in things like UX. They know how to build products that their own client’s customers love.

There aren’t a lot of hard numbers out there for this particular area of the tech industry, but there are other ways to get some insight into what’s going wrong. The way that we provide services is similar to marketing and creative agencies. And their numbers aren’t great. Just 8% of organizations are happy with the agencies they’ve hired. Meaning a whopping 92% are unimpressed or outright disappointed by their agency partners.

So why don’t we do better by our clients?

Take a page from SaaS brands

One possibility is that we don’t consider the prospect of return business. Many service organizations are so caught up in chasing those big, one-off projects that they forget loyal customers are cost effective and often provide you with free marketing in the form of word-of-mouth recommendations.

How do you know whether your customers are satisfied? You need to be setting aside time and resources to measure and address your customer satisfaction with the right metrics. First, don’t bombard your clients with surveys. Despite their prevalence throughout the tech world, surveys are not always the best method for gathering customer experience data. And every time you ask your clients to take time out of their day to fill out one of those surveys, you risk ruining some of the goodwill you’ve painstakingly built.

Second, look to SaaS brands for the other part of the answer. Every SaaS company worth their salt knows that you have to keep a close eye on churn, customer lifetime value, and customer acquisition costs. The really smart SaaS companies track other metrics as well, like customer retention costs. Without this data, you’re simply running a maze in the dark, hoping to find the exit.  

Transparency and communication are king

The other thing that SaaS companies are doing well to improve customer satisfaction is using the internet to their advantage. It’s hard to imagine that anyone working in tech might be neglecting online tools, but many are. It’s quickly becoming the norm for SaaS and and more traditional product companies to provide their customers with a complete insider’s view of the company.

That means profiles of employees (and, ideally also casual interviews about their passions, hobbies, and other outside interests) as well as blogs outlining the company culture, challenges the team has encountered together, and think pieces on the state of the industry. Smart brands are always looking for new ways to be more transparent and communicative with their customers, whether those customers are coming from the consumer side or the business side.

Pretty soon, as the reach of customer experience extends beyond consumer facing brands and finds B2Bs, you might find you have no choice but to invest in great customer service. As of this year, 58% of tech CEOs in tech value customer satisfaction above investing in new product development (55%). That tells us that industry leaders are beginning to see just how critical this factor is their brand’s long term success. As this way of thinking spreads, it’s only a matter of time before your clients will begin to demand, from you, the same great service you help them provide to their own customers.  

As a company with a mandate to build amazing software for some of the world’s biggest brands, this is something we continually think about at Mokriya. Striving for perfection and committing to transparency are part of our values. Every project starts with the client’s happiness and satisfaction in mind. To keep raising the bar and winning repeat business from your clients requires continual learning and introspection. But it is an investment worth the effort.

 

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About Tricina Elliker

Tricina Elliker is a regular contributing writer to Mokriya, based in Portland, Oregon. She's been writing about science and tech since 2008 and received her MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University in 2013.