- Author By Miva |
- Posted on
Remember when business hours were just between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Me neither.
Today’s business customers buy very much like consumers. They want the convenience of buying when they want, where they want, and how they want. Time is money for B2B customers, though, so it’s even more important to provide them with easy ways to get research and buying completed swiftly.
To cater to high volume, high value B2B customers keep these tips in mind:
Avoid the Phone-Tag to Speed Ordering
Today’s business people expect to conduct business when it’s convenient for them. Make it as easy as possible by adding:
- Inventory visibility – Don’t make them wait until morning – or Monday – to see what’s in stock. Displaying how many products are left in your warehouse lets them know what to expect so they can order immediately
- Follow-up form – Particularly for a complicated order, a busy business person is often keen to get their request into your system but is happy to wait a few hours (or the weekend) for a response. Add a form to your site where they can submit their query for product details or volume pricing that triggers a response to the most relevant person at your company (not just that never-checked [email protected] email.) Set up an email response that includes a timeframe for expecting a response and who to contact with questions. Bonus points if you can offer immediate access to schedule an appointment on your calendar.
- Subscriptions and repeat orders – Save them time by making it easy to streamline reordering. Click and move on.
Never Put Up the “Closed” Sign
B2B Buyers want to have the option to buy or research products and pricing between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. and over the weekend. If you can’t be there to answer questions, you can still help them shop:
- After-hours customer support – Depending on the size of your business, this could be a third-party service, or an employee paid to cover a different time zone and the weekends. What’s important is giving clear information of the hours – and sticking to them.
- Contact us form – Not as detailed as the form above, this alerts you that they have a question and may want to talk to you by phone. Again, make sure it goes to the correct person with a specific email back on when to expect a response.
- FAQs – Yes, it may be on your website somewhere, but make it easy for them to find out the answers easily. That includes wholesale options for shipping, invoicing, and special orders.
Your Order is [Here]
Consumers care about their orders, but probably won’t lose sleep wondering if the package will arrive precisely on time. Your B2B customers are more likely to fret. To help them sleep better and reduce calls to your customer service line, add these:
- Order history – Their order from you is probably one of a dozen they have going on. Make it easy for them to see exactly what they have ordered and when it is due to arrive.
- Tracking emails – Set it up so email notifications tell them exactly where their order is and when to expect it.
- VIP Service – Your best business customers expect to be at the front of the queue. If there has been a problem and their order has been delayed, be honest and upfront about when they can expect it. It’s only professional. Offer a discount on that order and/or a future order. Read more on VIP treatment for B2B here.
Make Mine Mobile
B2B Buyers like being able to research and purchase while they are on the move. Whether they are meeting with a customer, waiting at the airport, or watching a kid’s soccer game, you can help them by adding these:
- Responsive design – To work properly, mobile must be integrated into your design, not just an add-on.
- B2B Features – They must be implemented and easy-to-use across all devices. Find more info on mobile B2B here.
- Quality QA – The best way to know if your site is anywhere, anytime ready is to have it thoroughly tested by you, your staff, your customers, and, most importantly, strangers. Get feedback by doing user testing.
And here’s an important thing to keep in mind when catering to B2B buyers: How do you like to be treated when you’re buying for your business?
Talk to a Miva Solutions Architect for more ideas on how you can maximize your sales to B2B buyers.
About The Author
Elisa Williams is a journalist and communications strategist who combines storytelling with solid research and analysis. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Elisa has written for a wide array of consumer, business and technology publications, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Computer Life and Inc. Her marketing and content development work includes supporting technology companies that specialize in ecommerce, financial services and big data.