Differences to Consider Between B2B and B2C Customer Support When Choosing a Helpdesk Tool

Choosing the right helpdesk tool is critical for any business. That's because customer service is one of the most powerful ways to shape consumer perspectives and business success. How you treat customers will determine whether they buy from you. So, whether you're operating in a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace, it makes sense to deliver the highest standards possible when it comes to customer support.

Helpdesk tools are the engines that drive customer support infrastructures and successful outcomes. They improve all aspects of interaction with customers, from real-time chat to regular email communication and beyond. So, when it comes to choosing the right helpdesk tool for your business, the importance of knowing who your customers are and how to treat them can't be overstated. But, before investing in new software, we want to shine a light on the differences between B2B and B2C customer support.

You might already have a good idea of the differences between B2B and B2C, but what makes them stand apart comes down to marketing. With B2B, you're selling products or services to other businesses. B2C takes a mass-marketing approach to sales, where you're marketing services to the person off the street.

Both are valid marketing techniques that need very different approaches and back-end processes. Both are very important to the long-term success of a business, particularly as companies that focus most of their time on their customers gain profits two-thirds higher than those that don't.

What Makes B2C, B2C?

B2C is unique in that it involves the following:

  • Marketing to drive traffic, conversions, and brand awareness;
  • A single decision-maker;
  • A simple purchasing decision;
  • An emotional impulse; and
  • A short-term, transactional approach.

What Makes B2B, B2B?

B2B is unique in that it involves the following:

  • Marketing that increases sales, revenue, and cross-sells;
  • Several stakeholders;
  • Many touchpoints;
  • Rational impulses; and
  • A long-term, holistic approach.

B2B customers are fantastic lead generators. Any sales are more likely to be by bulk than the single transactions you'll see with B2C customers. Large, multi-layered, complex products are usually sold to B2B customers and can make up a significant proportion of income.

In practice, strong personal relationships underpin all aspects of B2B marketing. These range from shared values of trust, respect, consideration, and mutual benefit. Each factor is essential in driving regular and repeat business transactions.

B2B customer service and support strategies should ensure they focus on keeping B2B customers too. Why? Because B2B clients are usually high value. So, losing one poses significant risks and financial losses to the bottom line.

A range of helpdesk processes drives B2B customer support. They include the following:

Support Integrations

If serving the needs of a client and retaining the relationship is the essence of B2B, then including a range of support integrations in a customer service or helpdesk tool is essential. Support integrations can also include post-purchase support or follow up. And this is where customer support strategies will benefit from having several stakeholders or points of contact.

Unlike B2C, B2B customers usually want to keep hold of relationships and get a good result for their companies too. They'll be looking for value, continuity, reliability, quality, and respect that reflect well on their decisions to buy from you.

Stakeholder relationships will often include presentations or negotiations with the head of the company (CEO, owner, or chair) or, at least, their involvement in relationship building. Also, expect finance, IT, operations, and other sales leads to take part in winning, managing, and retaining B2B clients.

Personalized Service

Because of the need to give a considerable degree of support to B2B customers, assigning an individual to manage the client is often a good idea. Usually taking the form of an account manager, appointing a representative to handle day-to-day interactions is an excellent way to build rapport and longevity with B2B customers. So it helps if your account manager is enthusiastic, helpful, entrepreneurial, and knows how to keep clients happy.

Accurate Data and Knowledge on Hand

Of course, your account managers, team members, and heads of departments can only be effective when they have the right information. So, make sure any customer support tool includes a functional CRM or database and can integrate with third-party platforms.

By keeping records of interactions with clients, you'll enhance their loyalty and commitment. With a full history of the relationship, every step in the journey must be logged, recorded, and noted. This way, you'll ensure all stakeholders understand what needs to happen next.

Good B2C Helpdesk Processes Put Customers in the Driver's Seat

B2C interactions are often based on higher volumes and lower gains. So, where B2B is generally about nurturing fewer high-value clients, B2C is about appealing to as many people as possible. And, usually, in a transactional way.

It's rare for any company operating in a B2C environment to have an in-depth knowledge of customers. So, while you will likely hold data on them, it's unlikely you'll also hold the same type of personal relationship as you would a B2B client.

In practice, B2B requires a proactive and assertive approach to client relationship management whereas B2C commands a quick, transactional, reactive strategy. B2C means casting your net wide, across a mass market, and then making the customer experience as good as possible once you've got them there. This includes offering multiple communication channels and excellent resources, such as knowledge bases and FAQs.

Plus, having loyal customers is, of course, great for any business. But, in general, it's much harder to achieve with B2C. Although there are strategies you can deploy to aid in retaining B2C customers, getting more through your doors is likely a better approach.

Some of the key helpdesk processes behind B2C marketing include the following:

Customer Experience

Whether it's B2B or B2C, delivering high standards in customer experience is important in any line of business. But this is especially important with B2C, particularly as first, second, and last impressions count when building your brand reputation and when winning repeat business.

PWC recently found that 80 percent of consumers see speed, service, convenience, help, and knowledge as the most important aspects of a great customer experience. So, make sure your database, workflows, and communication channels can deliver against these expectations.


Giving consumers a great experience is one thing. But many individual buyers are looking for a sense of control over what they buy and when they buy it. So, giving them more opportunities to access the information they need, when they need it, will increase conversions.

Helpdesks, chatbots, online community forums, and live chat all help B2C customers access the information they need. When they feel confident about your products or services, they'll be happier to come back to buy from you again.

Mobile Channels

More than 6.5 billion mobile phone users are searching, interacting on social media, and making purchases online. So optimizing the experience for mobile phone users is critical to your success.

Your helpdesk software must promote simple, fast, regular interactions that blend both mobile and desktop interactions. Integrations across all branded social media pages are also imperative. So, you need a helpdesk that can support purchases through third-party apps. This way, you'll boost the customer experience and keep B2C customers coming back.

Build B2C and B2B Infrastructures Around the Right Helpdesk Tools

Deciding to invest in the most appropriate helpdesk tool must first start with identifying the types of customers you want to serve. While there are general principles that underpin all aspects of customer service, it's important to determine whether you need to serve B2C or B2B customers, or, in some cases, both.

Effective B2B sales demand a holistic, personal approach based on rational business transactions. They often need the development of personal relationships and regular interactions.

B2C, on the other hand, appeals to customers' emotions. Successful businesses appeal to emotions by enhancing customer experiences. They're also giving consumers more control over decisions and offering automated communications.

Helpdesk tools that provide a range of integrations, promote streamlined workflows, and enable tracking of accurate data for business interactions will promote better experiences for you and your customers.

But despite this general principle, B2B and B2C customer support require separate strategies to deliver results.

Ryan Condon is head of content at Comparesoft.