B2B Companies Are at Risk of Losing 71% of Their Customer Base

February 4, 20165min

A multiyear research study by Gallup — based on 108,989 respondents, 19,093 business units and the analysis from measuring the engagement of nearly 18 million customers — has revealed that B2B companies are at risk of losing two-thirds of their customer base. These companies are failing their clients through low levels of customer engagement and not creating a customer-centric organization to “view the world through the lens of their customers.

Gallup analysis finds that 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged — that is, emotionally and psychologically attached to the companies they do business with. The other 71% are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere.

The analysis further highlights problem resolution as a key touchpoint to creating a strong customer relationship. One in five B2B customers have encountered problems with a company or product, with only 40% of customers believing the company resolved their problem. In addition, only 5% of these customers say they are “very satisfied” with the way the company handled the problem.

Gallup’s analysis found that businesses that have high customer engagement scores outperform those with lower scores by at least 30% across outcomes such as profitability, sales and customer attrition.

Gallup’s Guide to Customer Centricity: Analytics and Advice for B2B Leaders provides both analytics from the research study and best-practice advice from Gallup’s work with large companies to create customer-centric organizations.

Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader, says, “Realizing the effect a customer-centric strategy has on their business performance is crucial to creating authentic growth, and companies in Gallup’s database that are actively measuring and managing their customer-centric framework are finding that problems are occurring less frequently than before.

Gallup’s research shows that developing an extensive knowledge of a customer’s business and proactively introducing ideas that enhance the bottom line are the strongest factors in generating positive and strong relationships that stand the test of time.”


Gallup’s historical B2B client database contains information from B2B client leaders and employees who completed the Gallup customer engagement survey between 2001 and 2014. It holds data from 17,983,420 respondents from 358 client organizations in 60 countries, 39 languages and 60 industries (categories based on North American Industry Classification System codes).
Gallup updates its database annually. Findings used to conduct research and set benchmarks are based on five-year rolling periods. Gallup’s 2015 customer engagement database includes data from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. This analysis includes data from B2B clients only.


Gallup’s most recent meta-analysis on customer engagement and organizational outcomes in the B2B context accumulated 23 research studies, including three U.S. Gallup Panel studies and nine B2B clients across six industries and two countries. Within each study, Gallup statistically calculated the business unit-level relationship between customer engagement and the performance metrics supplied by the various companies. In total, Gallup included 108,989 respondents comprising 19,093 business units in the analysis. Gallup studied six broad classes of outcomes: profitability, revenue/sales, share of wallet, customer attrition, days sales outstanding (DSO) and brand preference.

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Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.

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