Increasingly we hear of financial institutions putting customers more at the heart of their businesses. We can be sure that companies will be monitoring their customer satisfaction and brand perceptions. But what about B2B partnerships?
Often at the coalface of customer interactions on behalf of financial services companies, partners and suppliers are key to maintaining customer trust. But when things don’t go to plan, this can put a strain on partnerships. One only has to think of customer feedback on offshore call centres and how these have been gradually axed in favour of a return to the UK. Then there’s the suppliers who have been blamed for customers not being able to access their accounts. More topically, it will be interesting to understand whether relationships between insurers and suppliers suffer under the sheer weight of affected properties in flood-hit areas. Just as an annoyed consumer can vent their anger on social media, so a frustrated intermediary, affinity partner or supplier can result in the brand being poorly represented or the loss of contracts worth millions of pounds.
It’s clearly important for the likes of banks, building societies, insurance companies, credit card companies and private medical insurance providers to continually review the health of their B2B relationships. But are these being measured in a way that provides a holistic view of relationship health? More traditional, rational metrics such as overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend provide an understanding of one angle of relationship health. Other aspects such as how much partners feel valued and the extent to which the partnership provides them with a competitive advantage help give a business a more rounded view of relationship health and of how sustainable these relationships could be in the future.
Factors such as reputation, innovation, products, support provided by internal departments, the on-boarding process, communication, interactions with the end-customer and even invoicing all help shape relationship health. Understanding the relative importance of each in driving relationship health allow businesses to focus on the areas that have the greatest impact on relationship health and provide a platform for action planning.
Are B2B relationships getting the love and attention they need to ensure these contribute positively towards the re-focus on the consumer? How sure are you that your partners, even long-standing ones, feel the partnership is trustworthy and see you as their partner of choice?
Read more about customer relationships in financial services.