Customer support for a B2B platform typically involves interacting with many client roles. The most frequent of those roles is the client’s own customer service representatives (CSR). What happens when customer service has to provide support for customer service? How is this relationship established and what does the collaboration look like? This is a situation many B2B CSRs find themselves in, and it’s usually an incredibly rewarding partnership for each other, the company, and the customer.
CSRs are a unique part of a company.
Customer service personnel must understand empathy. The ability to establish an immediate emotional connection to another person, especially one who is dealing with a difficult situation, is a necessary trait to provide exceptional customer support.
To obtain the best experience for their users, CSRs become a bridge between their company and the customer. This allows CSRs to provide unique and valuable perspectives to both the company and the customer. For instance, working with end-users and eliciting actual user experience to provide feedback to the company is crucial. Additionally, the ability to change customer perceptions with sympathy and dignity is essential.
Providing the knowledge and expertise to enable a harmonious customer experience has extraordinary results for both the customer and the company. In fact, 73 percent of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand (RightNow). This is astounding.
The B2B collaboration between CSRs of a company to client is relationship driven. Both understand that cooperative education and awareness are paramount to success. They also understand that straddling the company/client space is to have a foot in each other's accomplishments.
This collaboration creates an intimacy that generally isn’t as prevalent within a B2C support process. In this relationship, company to client support teams actually know each other. They become friends on social media, know when and where their next holiday is and know about their families. They care about each other both professionally and personally.
Why do these intimate CSR relationships matter to the company/client? CSRs pick up the slack for each other and invest in each others’ success. They know the end goal is the seamless customer experience and that they are in this together to make it the best experience. Consumers contact support generally with a problem or negative experience. A good customer service experience resulted in a 52 percent increase of consumer purchases (Zendesk). It doesn’t matter whose customer it is when the modus operandi is customer support. This is why support collaboration is vital.
How to develop that CSR company/client relationship
Working in a B2B environment often provides an easy way to develop the CSR relationship. This is due to the way a rollout of a new vendor/client relationship works. For instance, introductory meetings with stakeholders and user testing periods are performed face-to-face, while training sessions allow additional interaction. This physical interaction is an ideal way to introduce the CSR stakeholders who will be performing the day-to-day operations. If these face-to-face meetings are not feasible then video conferencing provides a successful opportunity to align.
What makes these sessions valuable are the possibilities to determine what success looks like through a customer service lens, and performing a CSR support process interview allows the teams to identify important details. Some general interview questions address the expectations from each side, what individual processes look like, what hurdles or potential difficulties may arise, how the separate teams tools integrate, and best practices for issue resolution. Support interviews are extremely important opportunities to facilitate a strong relationship from the start.
Another way to strengthen this relationship is to ensure it continues beyond work. Whether it’s going out for dinner, coffee, drinks or a place off-the-beaten path in the city, make an attempt to hit the town together at least once. This is the opportunity to get to know each other beyond the work life, which ultimately inspires your work relationship.
Investing in an alliance between company and client B2B customer service teams is crucial for an exemplary customer experience. In fact, 58 percent of customers are willing to spend more on companies that provide excellent customer service (American Express). The benefit from the success of the CSRs to their company is truly incredible - they make the customer fall in love with us.