B2B Online Customer Satisfaction Lags Behind B2C, ForeSee Research Shows

Highly satisfied B2B customers more likely to recommend, use again

Jun 13, 2013, 08:00 ET from ForeSee

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, ForeSee released its annual Business-to-Business (B2B) Benchmark that reports on customer satisfaction trends and allows B2B companies to determine how their web experience compares to industry averages. Benchmarking is critical due to the strong correlation between satisfaction and future financial success.

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ForeSee, the leader in technology-driven customer experience analytics, developed this benchmark with data from more than 15,500 surveys in which customers shared insights on their experiences with 33 B2B websites.

Overall, the average customer satisfaction with B2B websites is at 64 on ForeSee's 100-point scale, representing the industry measurement against which B2B companies can measure their own online customer satisfaction. With ForeSee's methodology, scores of 80 and higher are classified as "highly satisfied," while scores of 69 and lower are considered "less satisfied." The B2B industry average score of 64 indicates that business customers are generally less satisfied with the online experiences that B2Bs provide and that industry-wide improvement is critical.

Across the Spectrum
As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee's technology is founded on a scientific methodology that has demonstrated a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and a company's financial future. Essentially, when customer satisfaction is scientifically measured, it can be used to predict key outcomes such as future purchase, recommendations and loyalty.

"While working with ForeSee to measure our customers' experience, we have learned valuable lessons about how our customers interact with and get information from our website," said Sonia Shrank, head of marketing and communications for NuStep, Inc. "The insights we receive from ForeSee's web measure have been crucial to obtaining insight, pinpointing issues, and identifying potential solutions. It has ultimately led to a highly satisfactory experience for our customers."

While customer satisfaction with B2B companies improved from 62 to 64 since last measured in June 2012, the industry continues to lag behind Business-to-Customer (B2C) companies by nine percent in terms of satisfaction.

Satisfaction scores for individual B2B companies included in the benchmark range from a low of 26 to a high of 86. This dynamic range in satisfaction illustrates that some companies are performing at an extremely high level and are being rewarded by their customers with a higher likelihood to recommend and return again, while lower-scoring companies are running the risk of alienating not only their existing customer base but future prospects as well.

Predicting Future Behavior
ForeSee's benchmark provides insights into the value of a highly satisfied customer (those who rated their satisfaction at 80 or higher) by comparing their likely future behaviors to those of less-satisfied customers (with satisfaction below 70). This comparison illustrates the impact that customer satisfaction with B2B experiences can have on a company's future success. Based on likelihood scores, highly satisfied customers report being:

  • 67% more likely than less-satisfied customers to return to the site, which means higher frequency of interaction, improved engagement and increased share of mind and wallet.
  • 79% more likely to purchase next time, which means increased sales.
  • 133% more likely to recommend the company, which means more business and increased loyalty.

The ForeSee B2B benchmark includes customer satisfaction scores for companies including Cummins, Eaton, Emerson Network Power, Gale-Cengage, HNI Enterprise, MSC Industrial Supply, Praxair, ProQuest and Scholastic.

"Looking at the industry average score, there is clearly some work to be done in the B2B space, but it's important to acknowledge that many organizations are ahead of the game and are providing their customers with a highly satisfactory experience," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. "Those who are lagging should answer the charge, take steps to focus on what elements are most important to customers and make improvements that will have the greatest impact on improving the customer experience."

About ForeSee
As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee continuously measures satisfaction across customer touch points and delivers critical insights on where to prioritize improvements for maximum impact. Because ForeSee's superior technology and proven methodology connect the customer experience to the bottom line, executives and managers are able to drive future success by confidently optimizing the efforts that will achieve business and brand objectives. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers. Visit us at www.foresee.com for customer experience solutions and original research.

Sarah Allen-Short, 734-327-3852