Summary: B2B software lacks the positive user experience B2C solutions offer. The rise of SaaS with its focus on customer-centricity is, however, changing this, and improving B2B software for the better.
Software has become a staple of everyday life, and is used daily both at work and at home.
And while the software we use at home has improved by leaps and bounds, the software we use at work hasn’t.
In comparison to the user experience (UX) of B2C software, B2B solutions are plagued with outdated interfaces, poor integrations, and frequent periods of downtime – and make everyone’s workday that much harder.
Today we look at why the UX difference exists between B2C and B2B software and how SaaS solutions are closing this gap.
Let’s get started.
B2B Software Today
To find out what B2B software looks like today, we turned to the popular software review site G2 Crowd.
After trudging through reviews, we realized that the UX bar is set pretty low for B2B software.
On G2 Crowd, reviewers raved about software qualities that are the bare minimum in B2C software. The reviews included boasts about things like:
- Modern interfaces
- Good customer support
- Simple installation
- Ease of use
- Cloud functionality
Which isn’t a big wish list for B2B software in 2018.
The reviews showed that B2B users also lacked many basic functions found in B2C software like spell check and effective search tools.
Reviewers reported the following as the most frustrating parts of B2B software:
- Click heavy processes
- Program glitches
- Slow speed
- Non-intuitive interfaces
Many of the weaknesses B2B reviewers emphasized are kinks that B2C programs worked out years ago, and highlight the difference in quality between the two types of software.
So what’s really driving the disparity between personal and professional software?
We think it’s the lack of concern B2B vendors have about UX.
Why B2B software sucks
To answer this question, we need to go back to the point businesses first started using software in the 1960s.
At this time, software had barely taken off and IBM was really the only provider out there.
IBM didn’t put much effort into UX because users needed their software regardless of the experience – plus they had their hands full just getting products to work.
The high barrier of entry (software engineers were a rare breed in 1960, if they existed at all) led to low competition, forcing B2B users to use less than ideal products.
As a result, IBM maintained their market share without having to provide their clients with great experience.
As software became more popular, the competition increased, but UX remained a low priority.
With the industry dominated by a few big players like IBM, SAP, Oracle, and Windows, there was little incentive to make UX better because the difficulty involved in switching providers at this time was often so great, that it was enough to drive a positive customer retention rate.
But SaaS changes all this
Things are getting better for B2B software.
More competition has forced organizations to produce better products to retain their customers.
Plus, there’s been… one or two technical improvements since the 1960s.
The internet, for one. SaaS for another.
In that time, UX has become also become a huge priority.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions surfaced in the B2B world in the 2000s and have done very well thus far.
The success of SaaS is largely connected to the customer-centricity that the model is built on.
In contrast to traditional B2B software, UX is a top priority for SaaS solutions for many reasons.
1. They’re subscription based
Because SaaS solutions are based on a subscription model, they’re easy to cancel.
Which means when a solution no longer meets a customer’s needs, they’ll move on to a solution that does.
To stop this from happening, SaaS solutions are incentivized to continuously improve their products so that users don’t bail.
And with technology advancing so quickly, this continuous development benefits UX and keeps customers more satisfied than traditional B2B models.
2. The competition is steep
Since SaaS solutions became popular in the 2000s (not the 1970s) they have a lot of competitors.
As a result, positive UX is a crucial differentiator in B2B software.
By offering customers the best experience, you get a one up on the competition and are more likely to establish market dominance.
3. Their profitability is based on long-term users
SaaS solutions are often based on a recurring revenue model, which means they only make money if customers stick around.
With positive UX being a big reason people stick around, it’s a top priority for SaaS solutions interested in maximizing profits.
B2B software has sucked for a long time, but the customer-centricity of SaaS solutions is changing B2B for the better.
Focused on positive UX, SaaS solutions are built with the customers and their needs in mind.
Continuous updates and improvements ensure that B2B software is modern, efficient, and functional.
With SaaS solutions, B2B software doesn’t have to suck anymore.
Interested in a SaaS product lifecycle management tool? Check us out!
Image credit: Alex Andrews via Pexels