Readers of this blog see a lot of consumer data which we use to rate and benchmark companies. This data shows up in research such as Net Promoter Score Benchmarks, Temkin Experience Ratings, Temkin Forgiveness Ratings, Temkin Customer Service Ratings, and Temkin Trust Ratings.
Almost every time we publish one of these consumer-based studies, I receive some form of the questions: What about B2B (business-to-business)? When will you have that type of data for B2B? Since these questions always seem to come up, I figured it was worthwhile to write a post with my answer.
First of all, we do have B2B data. For the tech sector, we have an NPS benchmark, the Temkin Experience Ratings, and the satisfaction of products and relationships to name a few. This research is based on feedback from a key customer group: IT decisions makers within large North American organizations. Our data about what companies are doing, such as The State of CX Management, includes a large sampling of B2B (along with B2C and many that have both B2B and B2C). We sometimes break out the B2B data in reports like Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience and posts such as B2B Versus B2C in VoC.
However, there is certainly a lot more data available for B2C than there is for B2B, especially with customer-driven feedback. This does not reflect the lack of CX effort in B2B companies; as a matter of fact, a large portion of Temkin Group’s client work is in B2B. So why is there such little data in this area? Because of some basic structural constraints of B2B CX:
- B2B requires specific respondents. While you can ask a consumer about a bunch of things from hotels to retailers to fast food restaurants, you can’t do the same in B2B. It would make no sense to ask an accountant about the performance of an infrastructure tech vendor or to ask an IT professional about the quality of a bank’s treasury services. As a result, studies must be targeted at individual sectors, one at a time.
- B2B data is more expensive. If you want to survey a B2B customer group (such as IT decision-makers), then you will likely have to purchase the sample from a vendor who manages B2B panels. Since Temkin Group does a lot of research, we are able to receive pretty competitive pricing for our studies. Yet, the cost of a single B2B respondent costs us about 10-times what it costs for a consumer respondent.
- B2B serves a variety of roles. When selling to a large company, there are often many people involved in the relationship, fulfilling roles such as decision-makers, influencers, end users, and economic buyers. The results from any study can vary widely based on which of those customer audiences you survey. A complete B2B study often needs to cover multiple audiences within each client company.
The bottom line: The lack of B2B data does not mean a lack of B2B interest or activity