In a former post, I’ve written about the changes that take place when it comes to the fading differences between B2B ad B2C. Professional buyers are humans line B2C customers.
Of course there’s a different motivation when buying a new pair of sneakers privately or 50 smartphones for the company. But it’s the same person in both roles and this person has emotional preferences which are always there. Like I wrote, we’re all human beings and there’s always an emotional part in our decisions.
I’ve been working for and with customers in a wide range of markets and goods. I started when I was about 16 years old and started working (after school) in the family’s business. My mother and my older brother owned 16 fashion stores and later, they also produced their own collections (all made in Holland).
After gaining my hospitality bachelor, I was invited by a hotelier to work at his five-star hotel in Switzerland as an event manager being responsible to carry out high-end events
When I came to Germany, I switched fields because working in the hospitality industry means getting paid nothing. After attending an organizer new media course , I started working as an intermediary between customer and developer team. More or less a Product Owner without Certificate.
During all those years, I discovered, that customers are customers. When it is about spending money, they want to be taken care of. No matter if they buy a blue jeans with a € 150 price tag or an event which’s bill shows the amount of € 50.000 or a web shop which costs € 100.000.
It’s not about the amount. It’s about spending money. People want to have the feeling, that they’re taken care of and that they’re taken serious. They need the assurance that their needs are important to the vendor. That is a personal goal to make the customer happy and satisfied and that all is done, to achieve that goal.
Of course, there is a difference between spending a large amount for the wedding of my daughter and buying 50 office chairs. The first case is a personal and private decision, the second one is for the company. The B2B buyer has another responsibility than the father of the bride.
But still… Deciding which provider will get the order is also a matter of gut-feeling. This, of course, happens subconsciously s and I’m sure that many of us would never admit this fact.
Nowadays, in the land of digitization, buying good becomes easy and comfortable. I can buy a complete outfit, a trip and even a complete interior in the blink of an eye and with a few clicks/tabs. I buy a lot online by the way .
It’s convenient, its quick and easy. But some items, I prefer to buy in a brick-and-mortar shop. Presents for friends and family, shoes to name two examples. Sometimes I need a sales assistant to help me with my decision. I need a human being to talk to, to discuss about colors, look, fit and an honest opinion.
My customer experience is different, because of elegant/fancy/modern interiors in the shop, music, other people buying, and a pleasant, friendly, motivated and professional person taking care of me and giving attention.
In my home country, The Netherlands, we love to provide and get great service. As entrepreneurs, we try to create a personal atmosphere. I.e. by offering a coffee or a soft drink.
I once was back home in Amsterdam for a week with a friend of mine and we entered a shop with awesome shirts.
Amsterdam shops often have an odd interior architecture, due to the fact that Amsterdam always has been overcrowded.
When we entered the shop there was a staircase to a mezzanine and one to the sous-sol area. We went down, to have a look at the shirts (which were awesome!) and the shop assistant bend over the banister rail (we Dutch are a bit less formal than the Germans and more relaxed) and she asked if we’re allright and she told us, that she’ll be with us in a minute (she was helping another gent upstairs).
The next question was “Would you like to drink something? Coffee, tea, coke, water?”
I had talked about this before and my friend always used to grin and say “Yeah sure. I get drinks in a fashion store. Come on.”
The reason of offering a drink is not due to the fact that Dutch people are so nice and friendly (but we are nice and friendly folks ?), it’s about making business.
We always have been dealers throughout centuries and making money and being successful is very important to us.
And one method, to get the customer’s money, is to create a friendly and “cozy” atmosphere. To create a connection, to make the customer feel good. A customer who feels good, is a relaxed customer. A relaxed customer is willing to buy and to spend money.
As I wrote above, it’s all about gut feeling.
The example above can’t be realized online (well who knows. Maybe someone will develop a solution to achieve this), but there are other methods to make the CX/CJ (Customer Experiene/Customer Journey) a great one.
Unfortunately, this is often still not the case yet.
I hear quite often, that friends and acquaintances prefer to buy off-line. The web is too impersonal for them.
One way to give a website a more personal touch,may it be a shop with goods or a service like consulting, is to tell a story. May it be about a personal experience which is the reason why a certain product or service was produced/developed or may it be a story about an experience from an expert about a product.
One thing is of utmost importance. It must be authentic. The customer must be able recognize him or herself in the story. A “Oh yes I know what that means. I’ve had that myself” effect.
Many years ago Google wrote an article about manipulating texts on websites for SEO: “Don’t write for Google but write for your visitors. Write as a human being and not for ranking”.
And this is still valid. Now it is in another context, but content has still to be made for the customer. Nowadays, thanks to digitization, it’s possible to perform automated content marketing. That sounds easy. But, IMHO, it still is important to monitor the content which is shared. At least at the beginning.
For private customers it should be on a more emotional way which creates desires, for B2B customers the content should transmit expertise, trustworthiness but also the emotion that the satisfaction of the customers is a personal goal.
Like I wrote at the beginning, we’re all human and we all have feelings. To convince customers to buy, they need to be taken care of and helped to make them feel that they are esteemed.
And it’s absolutely unimportant if a customer buys privately or for business.
It’s a human being. A person. Period