Customer experience (CX) professionals have warned that B2B organisations are at risk of missing vital sales opportunities thanks to a lack of human contact in the sales process, according to HubSpot’s recent ‘Hybrid Customer Experience in a Post-Pandemic World: Where do we stand on the Human Touch?’ report.
The report, based on a survey of 250 CX professionals in the UK, revealed a stark lack of human interaction in the B2B sales process. In fact, over 70% of respondents said they were unable to reach a person to resolve an issue with a product or service when buying from a business. A further 36% of B2B buyers said they have pulled out of a purchase because they had no one to help them with their enquiry.
The lack of human touch isn’t just detrimental for sales. According to the research, it’s also damaging to a business’ reputation: 45% of CX professionals said that, as a B2B customers, they had resorted to complaining on social media or review sites about not being able to speak to a person at a company when they needed one.
In what is good news for businesses, however, CX professionals have recognised the importance of human interactions for B2B sales and are investing accordingly. Almost three-quarters (72%) say they are spending money in this area, despite 88% also saying they are leaning more on digital channels to improve their business performance.
The report also showed a sharp gap between expectations and reality within the sales process. While customer service is typically associated with in-person interactions for B2B buyers, more than a quarter (26%) of CX professionals believe it is the most neglected and lacking in human interaction.
VP of Marketing, Susanne Rönnqvist Ahmadi said, “Companies selling to B2B buyers often fall into the habit of seeing them as distinctly different to typical consumers. In reality, B2B buyers crave as much engagement, communication and personal touch as everyday consumers do. This is even more true thanks to the pandemic, with lockdown and forced isolation magnifying just how important human interaction is.
“An omnichannel approach will always be vital to success, but the report shows that the ability to speak and interact with a person during the sales cycle remains an incredibly important part of delivering an excellent experience for B2B customers. Businesses need to continue investing in the areas that matter most to their customers and improve the experience both online and offline. All companies, no matter their shape or size, must ensure they have the foundations right when it comes to building a customer relationship that will stand the test of time.”
Looking ahead to future priorities, businesses have realised that focusing on the human touch is a must to achieve growth in the long term. As a result, 32% of businesses are looking to invest in new software for customer service teams, while 31% will need to invest in a new CRM platform to meet objectives. This investment in technology will be coupled with investment in people, as 30% of companies will be putting money into staff training over the next 12 months.