Measuring customer satisfaction in B2B and B2C: the five differences

Every company is unique and has specific products, services, target groups, norms and values. Measuring customer satisfaction therefore requires a specific approach. In this blog, we focus on the differences between B2B and B2C in measuring customer satisfaction. Companies targeting the consumer market (B2C) need a different approach than those targeting businesses (B2B). Below you will read about the five differences to consider when measuring customer satisfaction within B2B vs B2C.

1. Questionnaire set-up

The format of the questionnaire differs between a B2B and B2C customer satisfaction survey. Whereas the questions within B2C focus on a short time frame, in B2B this time frame is much longer. Business-to-business contact is often long-term in nature and therefore the questions in the questionnaire will go further back in time and may also be more complex. Not only can the topics in the questionnaire differ, the length of the questionnaire also differs between B2B and B2C research. In B2B, customers tend to be more involved and it’s all about building a good relation with each other. Therefore, the questionnaire for B2B may be longer than that for B2C.

2. Anonymity

Usually, a customer satisfaction survey within B2B is not conducted anonymously, whereas in B2C it often is. In the B2B market, companies often have a complete database/CRM system with all customers. This makes it possible to send a personal invitation to everyone. We see in practice that B2B companies have no problem with this, because of the high level of engagement. The advantage of not conducting the survey anonymously in B2B is that the results can be linked to the right customer in the CRM system afterwards and respondents can be contacted. Within B2C, a customer satisfaction survey is more often conducted anonymously. This may be because the company does not have contact details of all customers or because for these companies it is more important to know what the customer says than who says it.

3. Way of inviting

Within B2B, invitations for customer satisfaction surveys are usually sent by e-mail. Because companies have insight into the customer’s contact details, this mail can have a personal salutation and is sent in the name of the customer’s own contact person or account manager. This has a positive impact on engagement and therefore on the number of respondents. Within B2C, the invitation is often less personal as there is not always insight into contact details. It is also often chosen not to send a formal invitation by e-mail, but to collect feedback via a general link on a poster, social media or via a QR code. This provides extra convenience for consumers.

4. Closing the loop

Performing ‘closing the loop’ is usually done in B2B research but not in B2C research. It means you contact the customer as soon as they have completed the questionnaire. This shows your customers that you value their input and actually do something with it. Thank your customers for their participation and ask further on their given scores or answers to understand what they mean by this. Closing the loop is only possible when the survey is not conducted anonymously. After all, you need to know which customer the feedback came from. Conducting closing the loop not only creates a sense of appreciation, but also motivates customers to participate again next time. You can read more about closing the loop in this blog.

5. Sharing the results

The final difference is in sharing the research results with your customers. This happens more often within B2B than B2C. Due to the longer average relationships and higher involvement within B2B, these companies are more willing to share the most important conclusions and next steps with all their customers. So also with the customers who did not participate in the customer satisfaction survey. This increases the likelihood that customers who have not participated now will do so next time. It is, however, possible for B2C companies to share the survey results and follow-up steps with their customers or their target audience. This is often done through a news release on social media or the website.

Combining businesses and consumers

Companies targeting both consumers and businesses (B2C2B) can put together the above approach into a combined approach for customer satisfaction research. So before you start a customer satisfaction survey, you need to be clear on what kind of customers you will question and what exactly you want to research. Could you use some help with this? The door is always open for you at AlphaRainbow.


Merel Eijkelkamp

Junior Project Manager