Consider Apple, the most iconic consumer electronics manufacturer in the world. They’re top players in the personal computing market and remain so today, it was this company that ushered in the dawn of the smartphone and tablet age. And even though sales of smartphone competitors are catching up, Apple still remains the smartphone company to beat.
Yes, Apple wowed with their products’ sleek, intuitive interfaces and impressive features. They became the very model of what the typical consumer-facing electronics company should do to appeal to users. B2B companies have typically never thought about how their customers relate to their products the way a company like Apple does. That’s because, more often than not, B2B companies look at their customers as brands rather than users.
But if you want to land the biggest clients, it helps to think like Apple and realize that there are very real people on the customer end of your B2B product or service. How these customers interact with your product is called the UX, or “user experience,” design. And these days, there’s a bit of a thought-leadership enlightenment occurring in the B2B world where businesses are now seeing myriad benefits to placing an emphasis on great UX design. Below, we list tactical ways you can achieve this and how focusing on great UX will lead to happier customers (and thus greater profits) down the line.
Design for your ideal customer, not your ideal company
Any B2B customer is going to want to know your B2B product is going to help them save money and boost ROI. A well designed UX will achieve this for your target customer through good old-fashioned productivity. There are even statistics showing that productivity increases in correlation to such things as satisfaction and ease of use, two bedrock principles to great UX design.
To break it down, consider the fact that any solid UX in a B2B tool is going to support the customer’s work rather than hinder it. With cumbersome and poorly designed features eliminated, the customer is then free to concentrate on the core tasks, which he or she will now be able to complete unimpeded. This is a direct benefit to the customer that will have real implications for their business in the form of greater ROI.
Raise your email game
One common way in which B2B brands falter on their UX game is via email. Even though in B2B you may be marketing to another company, there are still humans interacting with you. And no human wants to receive spammy or superfluous emails. Inundating your customers with lousy email marketing will always sour the relationship quickly.
So how do you remedy email issues? For starters, raise your email UX game by ensuring that you only send relevant content to those on your list, even if they’re nothing more than marketing emails. And if you’re sending out a regular newsletter make sure it’s interesting and filled with data that your customers can actually use. Above all else, keep offering your customers incentives (like free downloads of white papers, e-books, etc.) that keep them interested in your business and product. Following email best practices, such as these, is an effective way to improve the experience for your customer.
Promote data safety and lower costs
Touching on the productivity point mentioned above, consider this: if you design the user experience well, it will result in fewer errors for those customers using your product. A great user experience includes ease of use, as this allows for quick recovery from errors. Your customers want to know that they will be avoiding such errors when they use your product. Depending on the field in which your target customer works—be it SaaS, software solutions, the medical technology field, etc.—you can and should ensure that your UX is so fluid that your product won’t result in needless data loss or errors.
Now there’s the dollars and cents to consider. As mentioned above, what a well-designed UX will do, ultimately, is save your customer money. The reason for this is simple. If a UI is cluttered with excess features, then every one of those features needs to be maintained throughout the lifecycle of the product. The direct by-product of this is an increase in development costs. So if you offer the most streamlined UX to your customer, you can bet that in the long run, it’s going to keep costs down and put more money in their pocket.
Invest in social media
Any marketer worth his or her salt is aware of the crucial role social media plays in advertising today. Consider also that there are few better ways to improve the branding of your company and create a great UX for your customers than through a strong social media presence. Even in the world of B2B, a good social media strategy is necessary.
When the decision makers at the brand you’re targeting look up your B2B operation, it’s inevitable that they will happen to stumble upon your social profiles sooner rather than later. So consider every page, be it your LinkedIn profile, your FB account, your Twitter/Instagram/SnapChat feeds. Ensure that your company branding is front and center on each one in the form of bold colors used consistently to represent your company and that your business logo is always prominent as well.
Then there are the little things you can do to boost your social media presence and improve the UX for your customers. This includes making regular updates, the precise and efficient use of hashtags, incorporating sleek visual content like cinemagraphs, adopting a fun brand personality, and always staying on message.
The bottom line is that if you deliver your customers the great user experience they crave, you’ll see a number of benefits. The most immediate will be customer satisfaction with the product, which will, in turn, result in greater loyalty and increased profits down the line. To maintain these good relationships consider that UX design is always an ongoing process, as the customer’s relationship to the product inevitably changes over time. Therefore, always endeavor to improve the relationship your customers have with the product at every interaction even in the world of B2B.
Need help crafting your user experience? Find out how Elevation can help.