Self-service is becoming increasingly preferred in B2B e-commerce, with 99% of buyers willing to make a purchase in an end-to-end digital self-service model. This allows customers to place orders and manage their accounts without human interaction – giving them the flexibility and convenience to order anytime, anywhere.
Without a doubt, customer behavior is changing. B2B customers want and expect self-service digital channels that simplify ordering processes. According to LinkedIn, B2B mobile app ordering has increased by 250% since the pandemic. 70% of B2B buyers are also willing to make substantial purchases (over $50,000) through self-service channels. As such, buyers prefer to have some self-service for at least a part of the B2B buying process.
Customers want self-service experiences that are personalized and frictionless. Enabling them to drive their purchasing experience flexibly and eliminating unnecessary blockers can boost customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. Businesses also need to leverage their ERP capabilities such as supporting subscriptions, using artificial intelligence and integrating tools like NetSuite’s Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) functionality for personalized product quotes based on their unique requirements.
CPQ is a program that enables customers to quickly quote products and services based on their desired configurations directly on your B2B portal. Standard pricing data is taken as a starting point and this price is changed based on the option pricing rules. This feature automates the quoting process, helping your sales teams configure, price and quote directly within your ERP software. This reduces manual efforts and the risk of errors, reworking orders and time spent to check for accuracy. For ERP systems like NetSuite, the live quotes feature within CPQ also enables sales representatives to interact with the end customer. Within the NetSuite CRM, sales representatives can deliver interactive emails and support customers along the quote-to-order journey.
Self-Service Discounts and Promotions
Promotion codes and limited-time offers or seasonal discounts prompt customers to make quick decisions while deals last. Customers can apply the promotion codes or discounts during checkout without contacting customer support. This enables businesses to foster customer satisfaction, increase customer engagement and drive more conversions while minimizing the need for manual intervention from support or sales teams.
A built-in subscription management portal allows your customers to view, change and manage their subscriptions without the help of a customer service rep. Customers can sign up for a new subscription directly through your e-commerce site and can have the option to choose to renew subscriptions automatically or manually. Depending on the complexities of your subscription plans, customers can also customize their subscription based on tiers, add-ons or billing frequencies. Within their account, bills and payment methods can be managed and the option to temporarily pause or cancel their subscription, lessening the burden on your customer support staff.
A seamless and convenient payment experience is crucial for allowing customers to self-serve throughout the payment process. Features of a good payment portal include integrating various popular online payment gateways including credit/debit cards, digital wallets and bank transfers. Further, allowing customers to save their payment information securely on the portal can make purchases more convenient in the future. Examples of this include one-click payments and automated recurring payments for subscriptions. However, robust security measures must be prioritized to protect customer data. Additionally, sending customer payment notifications and confirmation emails with order details is a best practice once the payment is made. Lastly, enable the option for customers to request refunds or cancellations in your B2B portal. This can reduce the manual effort from customer representatives and streamline the process through automated workflows.
In conclusion, the shift towards self-service in B2B comp is rapidly gaining momentum, with most B2B buyers embracing end-to-end digital self-service models. As customer behavior evolves, businesses must adapt to meet their demands for streamlined and personalized experiences. The surge in B2B mobile app ordering and decision makers’ willingness to make substantial purchases through self-service channels further solidifies the importance of offering seamless and efficient self-service options. By leveraging tools like CPQ functionality and subscription management portals, businesses can empower their customers to drive their purchasing journeys at their convenience. Furthermore, integrating secure and convenient payment options completes the self-service experience, boosting customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. As the B2B landscape continues to evolve, embracing self-service becomes essential for businesses to thrive in the digital era.