I recently sent out a tweet about B2B customer experience asking people to brag about their company or the work they’re doing.

The silence was deafening.

I even sent the tweet out again a few days later and still came back with nothing. It’s not often that you can’t find at least one person willing to brag about the good work they’re doing.

Frankly, I’m not all that surprised. When it comes to customer experience it’s almost as though B2B doesn’t exist. Just take a look at Bruce Temkin’s recent loyalty ranking report where retail dominates the top 20 (garnering all but three spots). The 2011 Experience rankings are nearly the same.

But the B2B customer experience does exist and B2B leaders acknowledge the importance of it. So what’s going on here?

I think there are a few factors contributing to the lack of acknowledgement.

First, there seems to be a misperception about how B2C and B2B customer experiences are vastly different.

Whether an organization is consumer- or business-facing, their experiences follow the same steps. Like their consumer counterparts, B2B experiences start with a person who has a triggering need, problem or desire to solve. Customers learn about options, try them out, buy and use the product to solve a need and then evolve to a new need over time. Scorecards are the same, too. For customers, it’s about if and how well their need is solved. For business leaders, it’s about solving enough needs so well that the organization will meet or exceed revenue and profit goals.

But, even though B2B and B2C companies share the same customer experience steps, the execution at each of those steps is different. B2B leaders must accommodate more stakeholders. More often than not, business customers aren’t alone in the shopping, decision-making, or after-purchase use and evaluation. They take in the advice, opinions and suggestions of many influencers. And, keep in mind, many of those involved in the experience don’t consider themselves customers (even though they most certainly play influencing, input or veto roles). We often define “customer” as a single individual who hands over the money to procure a good or service, those who buy on behalf of their organizations. But that’s not complete in the case of B2B customers. Because of multiple stakeholders, B2B buyers invest more than their company’s money. They invest their own reputation or political capital. They act to serve, or protect others. They are simply “more.”

Added to the multi-layered, multi-stakeholder customer experience is the fact that B2B firms often sell through retailers, wholesalers or brokers, which means they can only control a fraction of the entire customer experience. At best they can merely influence the rest of the process.

I hope that B2B customer experiences start getting more attention. The social, or community interactions of these experiences are easier for us all to see, and some good things are happening. I see blogs like Social Media B2B following how businesses like MarketingProfs, Hubspot, CME Group, and Cisco are using social tools to engage their customers. Let’s hope it’s only a matter of time before we have a bunch of great blogs touting the B2B customer experience.

All that said, I want to return back to my original tweet. I’d love to hear about some great B2B customer experiences. Do you have any you want to brag about? A few you’ve been a part of?