B2B Customer Relationship Improvement: Our top 10 practical tips

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Maintaining your own customer relationships is important. Not only does this ensure long-term customer loyalty, it is also an important step toward customer-centric work. But how do you achieve optimal customer satisfaction? And what is particularly important in the B2B sector? We've put together our top ten tips to help you take your customer relationships to the next level.

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Table of Contents

Improve your B2B customer relationships and get started with our real-world tips

Tip 1: Not only satisfied, but impressed

Customer satisfaction is by no means the end of the scale. If you focus your work on your customers, your goal should be that they are not only satisfied, but even impressed and happy in the end. This is why you should ask the following two questions before you start collaborating with a client:

  • What do we have to satisfy you?
  • What do we have to amaze you?
 

Asking these questions early on helps you understand what is important to your customer from the start. It will be easier to work out common goals then. Important is that you also repeatedly refer to the answers given during the course of the collaboration. On the one hand, this shows customers that their statements are important to you.

On the other hand, this procedure will also help you compare the current status with the ideal situation. The best way to do this is to hold quarterly or half-yearly meetings. Monthly meetings are also possible, but it has been shown that these often fall short, as it is often not possible to realize the customer’s long-term wishes in such a short time.

Tip 2: Overview through information

Sufficient information is the necessary basis if you want to improve your business relations. Only if you know and understand your customer’s situation can you act accordingly.

That is why it helps to have a sound knowledge of the customer and their company before you start working with them. This enables you to tailor the encounter to the customer right from the start. The result: the customer feels valued and understood. For this you always need a crystal-clear customer profile. And that is easier said than done. At tractionwise, we analyze customer relationships and work with our customers to explore their problems, wishes and needs.

Tip 3: Never forget any customer

To improve your customer relationships, it is valuable to consider who your customers are. This doesn’t just mean people who bring you direct sales.

Stakeholders are also worth considering as customers. Don’t forget your colleagues and team members. And even in other departments and business units there may be customers. Only if you have an overview of how wide your circle of customers and stakeholders is, will you be able to improve your relationship with each of them.

Tip 4: Every touchpoint counts

Every point of contact with the customer (customer touchpoint) is worth making use of. Customers usually reveal a particularly large amount of valuable information during the first contact. But every subsequent conversation can also be a source of insight for you. You can use them to build positive B2B relationships. No encounter – however brief – is unimportant. Because it is precisely in such spontaneous, unplannable situations that you have the chance to deepen customer loyalty.

Tip 5: Customer instead of organizational orientation

If you want to improve your B2B customer relationships, it also helps to change your perspective. Think customer-oriented instead of organization-oriented. How can you do this? Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What does the world look like from their perspective? What challenges does the customer face? What are their successes?

You can use the Customer Empathy Map as a method for this. With the customer empathy map, you can explore the perception, actions, motivation and needs of customers. This enables you to obtain a complete picture of your customer and their actions. Use this to focus your offer on the relevant needs of your customer.

Do you want better B2B customer relationships? The ultimate goal is to impress your customers. How do you achieve this? A sound basis of information is one of the necessary prerequisites. You create this by using every point of contact with the customer to gather knowledge about them. But there are many more exciting tips to help you build strong customer relationships.

Your easy entry to inspiring customer relationships

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Tip 6: Active listening as an interpersonal key

The way you conduct conversations with your customers also has an impact on your B2B relationship. Central here is the conversation management technique of active listening. Leading a conversation by listening – yes, that is possible. The most important basic rules here are:

  • Give your counterpart room to speak freely
  • Summarize the findings of what has been said now and then to symbolize your attention
  • Use nonverbal cues to communicate (this can be a nod, an attentive look, or a smile, for example)

 

But it’s not just your own nonverbal signals that are important in active listening. Your customer also gives you clues without words. It is worth noticing these. Look for valuable information in facial expressions and gestures. That way you can read valuable details between the lines – which helps you to better understand the customer’s point of view.

Tip 7: Appreciation as the highest good

One thing is essential for positive B2B customer relationships: your customers should feel valued at all times. You can achieve this not only through words, but also through actions. If you act in a way that is conducive to the customer’s goals, they will credit you highly.

Appreciation is also shown through transparency. Don’t ignore your customers and keep them informed about your planned course of action. This not only gives the customer room to give his opinion on the plans. The customer also learns that he is an important part of the process.

Tip 8: Authentic encounter at the eye level

This tip is closely linked to the principle of appreciation. Because appreciative cooperation is also characterized by encounters at eye level. The goal is collaboration – in the truest sense of the word.

Strong B2B relationships are created when customers feel valued as partners and hierarchical relationships play no role. It is important that you always remain authentic – the customer will notice if you pretend.

Tip 9: Use a wide-ranging customer database

You have another important responsibility, however: It is essential to keep a record of all valuable information that the customer discloses. For this purpose, a central storage location is recommended. A data-driven customer relationship management system (CRM system for short) is a useful tool for building a customer database.

The rewarding result: You have all relevant information about each customer at a glance. This enables you to communicate with them in an individually tailored manner. In concrete terms, this means that you can pick up on information already mentioned in follow-up conversations. You can see at a glance what you have already clarified with your customer, saving you enough repetitions and keeping important information, reactions and feedback in focus.

Tip 10: There is always something to do

Your assumption is that your customers are satisfied and everything is in perfect order? That’s great! But still no reason to let the contact slide. Be proactive and reach out to customers to check in regularly on how things are going. Your support will be needed more often than you might think. And even if there is nothing to do at the moment, by asking regularly you show: I am interested in how things are going with you and I am always available as a contact person.

Conclusion: How to create sustainable B2B customer relationships

Many of these tips can be integrated into everyday business life without much effort. Even small changes can have a big impact. If you make customers feel that they are your priority, they will feel that they are in good hands with you. This can lead to long-term and very stable B2B relationships.

On the one hand, it is important how you meet on a human level. Active listening and appreciative interaction at eye level are a must. But you can also take a few steps to improve your B2B relationships from a business perspective. For example, a CRM system is a good way to manage all important information. If you now proactively take the initiative and regularly check in with your customer, nothing will stand in the way of a strong business relationship.

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About Me

As an expert for customer insights and certified Scrum Product Owner, I experience the importance of customer-centric organizational development on a daily basis.

In combination with agile optimization processes and a corporate culture that is open to experimentation, you will bring your growth fully on track.

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