usiness-to-Business (B2B) services may appear like it is a universe apart from Business-to-Consumer (B2C) services, but similarities exist among these differences. The best B2B organizations and services know that the more aware they are of this, the more effective they will be.
A mistake that most B2B services make is that they place their clients on a different level than consumers, overlooking things that may be crucial in the relationship.
While an ocean of differences does exist between the B2B and B2C environments, there are three needs that bring these two together. It is very easy for a B2B service to overlook these, as they are usually making the mistake of embellishing other aspects of the B2B platform while undervaluing others.
Be more aware of these three needs, and you’ll have a much better time in your B2B relationships. More trust will be established and both entities will improve greatly.
1 – Time
Whoever coined the phrase “time is money” is only half accurate in their statement.
Time is much more important than money, since it is much, much more finite than money ever was.
Money can be replenished. Time cannot.
This makes the concept of time just as useful to a consumer as a business, and many B2B services do not understand that in many cases, a business would value time just as much as a consumer.
This is how most B2B services overlook the concept of time: They foolishly believe that more time must be spent in a B2B relationship and foolishly believe that more time must be spent in a B2B relationship because the operations are more important than in a B2C relationship.
This is not true, and if you can understand that businesses value their time just as much as a consumer, you’ll begin to treat other businesses similarly to consumers and value their time more.
2 – Simplicity
Related to the last point, a B2B relationship is assumed to be complicated. B2B services fall to the temptation more than they should, thinking that they need to leap through way more hoops when serving a business than they do a consumer.
This is a method of thinking that can downright inconvenience a business and it is something that is regularly overlooked by B2B services.
In fact, the very first thing in a B2B relationship that needs to be considered is simplicity. This is exactly why B2B Punchout catalogs were developed. These catalogs exist because businesses are in constant demand for simplicity. They know that the more complicated things get for them, the worse their business will perform.
Do you think consumers also think this way?
They have no choice but to think this way, and they value simplicity just like businesses do. If something appears too complicated to a consumer, they will not give it any attention. They will get overwhelmed and will walk away from any product or service.
Businesses think the same way, only they are using a different “language.” It is up to B2B organizations to understand that while the “language” that businesses use is different, the ideas are the exact same.
3 – Availability
Increasing technology and more constant communication have affected our expectations in a big way.
These expectations entail the concept of availability.
Whether it is a business or a consumer, patience is becoming less and less virtue, and it is slowly being replaced with availability.
Like the last two, businesses value availability just as much as time or simplicity and expect their service providers to be able to solve whatever issues they have very quickly.
B2B services overlook this, again thinking that businesses must be on a different level than consumers, often by virtue of title alone.
While this is not completely wrong, it is not an observation that B2B services can totally rely on when dealing with businesses.
What needs to be understood is that everybody, business or consumer, has a different time frame of availability. Like with any consumer, B2B services need to understand exactly when they need to be available the most.
However, unlike a consumer, who may have more options when it comes to getting their problems solved, businesses often do not have this luxury.
Because of this, availability is one concept that B2B services tend to overlook because they undervalue the businesses they are working with, thinking that they do not need to be as available for them.
This is something that B2B services must address if they are even remotely concerned with using the business they are working with as a building block to improve their own business.
Ultimately, the conditions and issues in any given B2B relationship should be seen on a case-by-case basis. One thing that needs to be recognized is that businesses were just like consumers at one time, and they still value certain things the same way that consumers do.
There are some instances where B2B services need to understand that they are perhaps overvaluing the relationship that they have with other businesses, making things more complicated than they should be and ultimately slowing down the flow of business.
On the other hand, there are also instances where B2B services undervalue the businesses they are working with, treating them like consumers when they warrant a different kind of treatment in the relationship.
Any B2B organization or service who is interested in growing and developing a better reputation knows that being cognizant of these things is tantamount to better B2B relationships.
Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.