From Zappos to Southwest Airlines, many companies have recognized the importance of customer service and capitalized on it.

They’ve done this by being polite, genuine, and open to suggestions (we talked about general ways to improve customer service here). But several of the standard ways to improve customer service apply mainly to B2C (business-to-consumer) companies, which sell a product or service directly to the consumer.

Even if you run a B2B (business-to-business) company, good customer service can improve your business and really help you stand out from the crowd.

An important thing to remember is that even if you have a B2B company, there’s a customer behind every transaction. Someone – an executive, perhaps, or a purchasing agent – is buying something, or you wouldn’t have a business. And since these people are your customers, you should start treating them that way.

  • Make your customers feel valued. If you are a B2B company, it can be easy to overlook this step. Help Scout works well for sales teams too! It empowers you to send genuine, personal messages without anything slipping through the cracks.
  • Get involved in social media. Many B2B companies assume that since their customers are businesses, there’s no place for them on social media – but this isn’t true! Many buying agents and other people who might have ties to those businesses are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites, so you should be, too.
  • Open up dialogue with your customers. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback and let them know how much it’s valued. Most businesses know what they want, and can tell you if you aren’t meeting their needs. Sometimes all they need is a friendly person to open up to.
  • Help your customers save money. Many businesses face pressure to save money whenever possible. Help them by thinking of ways to keep their costs down. recently wrote a great article about how one company drastically improved their B2B business by cutting costs and increasing their level of communication with customers.

Whether you run a B2C company or a B2B one, customer service should be a huge priority. Did you know it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one? Great customer service can save your company thousands, if not millions each year.

If you have a B2B company, remember that there is a customer behind every transaction, and act appropriately with remarkable customer service that helps you stand out from the crowd.