There are times when it seems that B2B customer relationships are the ultimate closest-knit. A great B2B sales person knows their clients intimately and researches potential clients constantly. It conjures up images of meetings where needs are discussed and generational relationships are formed. For many companies this holds true. Unfortunately, sales professionals can only talk to so many people in a given day. If he or she needs to “put out a fire” on a given day, it can steal away precious time from selling and from a recent study, it looks as though sales professionals aren’t giving your customers the attention they want – especially if things go wrong.

In a study by UPS on industrial buying dynamics the most critical challenges customers had with B2B distributors were identified as price related (35% – includes prices too high, inconsistent pricing, shipping price options and lack of payment options) and service related (31% – includes poor customer service for resolving issues, lack of knowledgeable support, lack of post-sales support, unclear return policy, inadequate return policy). While these are similar to the concerns one might expect from B2C customers, the B2B customers have unique needs that lead to these challenges.

One of the key takeaways from the study was the need for service. It ultimately comes down to being able to answer questions correctly and resolve issues quickly.

Too many times we’ve seen procedures come before service. Are your return procedures even too confusing for your employees? Are your sales representatives confident enough to say “I don’t know” when they are asked a question – or are they making promises your company or products can’t keep?

Streamlining customer service and having a variety of ways for your customers to communicate with you can help identify holes in your customer service. Surveys, online chat, social media, email questionnaires and website follow-up forms all are options.

Listen to your customers, it doesn’t matter if you think you have the best customer service, you don’t until your customers confirm it.