Boost Your B2B Buyers’ Experience with a Customer Portal
Given the influence of online shopping, app-based food delivery services, self-guided online learning courses and more, it’s understandable that the average consumer has come to expect self-service options for practically every facet of their day-to-day activity.
The statement stands for today’s B2B buyers, too. In fact, McKinsey found that nearly 70% of B2B buyers are open to making new, fully self-serviced or remote purchases in excess of $500,000.
These buyers want a personalized experience where they can easily manage their accounts, create and complete new orders, view their order history and glean product inspiration online with 24/7 accessibility. But most supplier websites aren’t compatible with these expectations, which can negatively impact the customer experience and even lead to a loss in sales. In this case, B2B suppliers need to consider ways to adjust their processes to meeting today’s customer demands.
This is where a customer portal come into play.
Bring Business Benefits
Customer portals support suppliers by creating a self-service, digital marketplace that simplifies the customer purchasing process and drives digital sales.
With a customer portal, buyers can better understand to their customers’ wants and needs, and their ordering preferences. The system can integrate with multiple data sources, making it easy to access and view this customer data and derive valuable business insights.
By pulling the data into a web-based reporting platform, these insights are instantly accessible by supplier teams, and it enables smart visualization and enhanced business transparency. With greater visibility into customer order metrics, suppliers can better plan inventory and production timelines to maximize their budgets.
Not to mention, the tool can provide real-time updates on the progress of automating and improving various parts of the ordering process, continuously driving a better experience for both the supplier and the customer.
Drive Customer Delight
On the customer’s side, there are several key benefits to having a customer portal at their fingertips when it comes time for ordering. Essentially, portals provide a self-service experience that mirrors today’s digital marketplace, like the Amazons and other eCommerce giants. Customer portals put the customer in control, giving them the ability to plan, select items and quantities, and review and place the order on their own schedule. Gone are the days of being at the mercy of call agents and hold times to get your order in.
Portals also provide additional sales options by educating customers on full product offerings. Specifically, by providing access to a full catalogue, customers can “shop around” within the portal and see additional products provided by the supplier, ultimately driving additional sales.
Create Customized Experiences
Not only can a customer portal provide greater flexibility and self-service options to support the customer experience, but B2B suppliers can customize the portals to best suit the needs of their customers.
To do this, the supplier must understand their audience of purchasers. What are their industries, how often are they ordering, how much time do they spend planning their orders, what geographic regions are they based in, etc. With this understanding, certain features can be enabled within the customer portal to meet the needs of the customer, such as invoice payment functionality, reporting features or the ease of reviewing order histories.
Lastly, adding a customer portal demonstrates to customers that the supplier is continuing to innovate and strengthen their business and that they’re listening to customer wants. Taking an extra step to streamline and improve the customer experience can pay off in customer loyalty.
A customer portal is a win-win for both suppliers and customers alike for any nearly any B2B business. Ready to learn more? Feel free to reach out to us directly with any questions you may have.