When B2B portals were launched, the focus was for business customers to place and track their orders easily, hence they were very transaction focused. Over the years, the B2B portals have evolved to provide a one stop shop for B2B customers.
However, some B2B partners frequently highlighted challenges like:
- Lack of self service capabilities, any requests for information or orders needed to go through customer service or needed to be mailed or faxed in, resulting in delays and data entry issues
- Frequent handoffs between various departments through the customer lifecycle resulting in a less than ideal experience
- Limited visibility to contracts and performance against them, leading to frequent disputed regarding charges and penalties
- Lack of transparency for order and associated tracking information
- Infrequent updates on status of service requests, requiring frequent follow-ups
To address these challenges, B2B portals needed to evolve to provide end-to-end capabilities for their customers. Figure 1 details the key capabilities provided by B2B portals across their interaction lifecycle: