B2B Fulfilment: customer experience still matters

March 13, 2014

Not long ago, e-fulfilment was exclusive to retail operations. Now, though, a number of B2B and wholesale businesses are edging into the ecommerce fulfilment market. Historically, B2B operations of any kind have not been as focused on good customer experience as retail (or etail) operations, and fulfilment was seen as unimportant to the customer experience, unless and until something goes wrong.

How is ecommerce fulfilment becoming more popular with B2B businesses?

We all know that things have changed in that regard for the B2C market, but things are shifting for B2B businesses now too. B2B markets are no longer product driven. There are just too many competing providers out there, and the internet makes them too accessible for that. In just the same way that the .com era changed consumer fulfilment, this level of access has changed how businesses shop as well. B2B fulfilment is just as important to building and maintaining your brand, reducing costs, and achieving strategic goals, and is now of importance to these companies’ marketing departments.

A good B2B fulfilment provider should cater to their partner-companies’ customer experience needs, and be aware of how different businesses value different aspects of this experience. Being able to customise your service to the unique needs and business positions of the client has always been key to fulfilment, and this is really no different.

A good fulfilment house provides seven basic factors to their B2C clients:

  1. Helpful, fast resolution of customer issues
  2. Good old fashioned ROI
  3. Recognition of the client’s customers, and their experience
  4. True fulfillment – meeting all obligations just as described
  5. Integrated, personalised service 6. Professional competence
  6. Good client (and customer) access

The best ones know to provide a slightly different list for B2B clients:

  1.  Personal, intelligent contact
  2.  Flexible procedure and policy
  3.  Sensitivity to the client’s business needs
  4.  Pro-actively working to meet those needs
  5.  Full follow-up and performance analysis
  6.  True fulfilment
  7.  And, as always, ROI

While True fulfilment and ROI are on both lists, the rest differ substantially. Appreciating these differences and how best to provide the right customer experience to each of one’s clients is the key to doing well in both markets, and doubling the list of potential clients in the world.

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