Companies such as Sephora, Amazon, and Target have risen to the top of their sectors by focusing on creating a remarkable customer buying experience.
As a result, these companies are viewed as some of the most customer-centric retailers in the business and are applauded for their level of customer service.
Great customer service is a building block for success and growth, though it can also be an expensive endeavor. As a result, customer service has evolved tremendously from simply having a person available to answer questions to self-serve, e-commerce websites and mobile apps that provide everything needed to make an informed purchase, in addition to account history and payment options. These self-serve interfaces have revolutionized the customer service paradigm by simplifying and enhancing the buying experience while lowering operating costs.
Interestingly, not only does this shift away from expensive, person-to-person interaction lower costs, it also leads to higher customer satisfaction. Indeed, a 2018 Aberdeen Group study found that companies with self-service options had happier customers and greater efficiencies. Of the 422 companies surveyed, those using self-service enjoyed an 8.4% increase in customer satisfaction rates compared to less than a 5% increase for non-self-service users.
Of course, many B2B vendors have online stores where customers can place orders and even pay for those orders at the same time. But many more vendors sell products and services on credit and later invoice customers for payment.
In too many instances, this invoicing and payment process is manual and paper-based, requiring significant effort on the part of both A/R and A/P.
Regardless of the quality of the product delivered, it is this arduous payment process that can sour the buying experience and jeopardize the customer relationship.
Customers seek convenience and a vendor relationship that recognizes their constraints on time and resources. Self-serve interfaces meet these requirements easily and quite well.