Today’s B2B organisations are discovering their customers are just like any other – they want a more B2C-like customer experience (CX) than ever before. And this discovery is changing how manufacturers view and implement their CX strategies.
Let’s dig deeper…
Understanding the digital customer experience
Just like other industries such as retail and services, the buyer’s journey in manufacturing has moved online, with the past two years accelerating the migration to digital purchasing.
Now, manufacturers need to meet the customers where they are and add value through content and personalised experiences, with all digital experiences offering high quality interactions. You don’t need to digitise your whole manufacturing operations – simply digitising your product catalogue can be a big step towards improving customer experience.
Essentially, it’s about giving your customers more autonomy – for example, allowing them to view accurate stock levels, configure product functionalities and customise pricing.
Some other ways you can create a seamless buying journey include:
- Publishing informational guides (such as manuals and maintenance books) on your website and correctly tagging them so they’re easy to find
- Creating 'how-to' and ‘top tips’ style videos so your customers can maximise their product usage
- Building a customer portal where customers can view all of their order information – for example, the status of their order, customised pricing and maintenance schedules
- Scheduling automatic notifications related to equipment maintenance – for example, proactively contacting customers to book services before it’s due
The impact of data on customer experience in manufacturing
One of the primary challenges manufacturers face in delivering a better CX is the complexity of gathering and interpreting a varied range of relevant data. Legacy systems that can’t effectively integrate with other business systems to share data will hinder your data management.
To become more customer-centric, organisations must invest in modern data collecting and analytics tools that can integrate with each other and maximise productivity. For example, when your CRM and ERP systems are integrated, you can:
- Gain a 360-degree view of your customer’s buying habits, order history, preferences and more. This can help your team provide more personalised experiences, build lasting relationships and track changes in customer behaviour to determine opportunities for future growth
- Eliminate data siloes and duplication
- Minimise manual work
- Facilitate team collaboration – for example, your sales team can easily access key information about customers to close deals, such as using the ERP to offer the latest pricing data or customer history to personalise the engagement
How high are manufacturers aiming their CX efforts?
In our latest report with Copperberg, we surveyed over 100 professionals in the manufacturing industry to analyse the state of customer experience and engagement (CXE) in manufacturing.
We found that while over half of manufacturers (54.90%) say the main objective of CX in their organisation is to broaden the revenue stream from existing customers through value added services, they’re also on the lookout for any new opportunities. In fact, 15.69% said winning new clients remains a key target for their business.
Other goals behind CX investments include increasing customer satisfaction or growing market share. Few organisations (4.90%) embark on CX programmes to enter new and adjacent markets or industries. Instead, many more (17.65%) aim to bring new products or service offerings into the current market.
Almost all survey respondents felt that coherent CX plans play a vital role in reaching their goals. More specifically, a majority of those surveyed (74.51%) said having a clear CX strategy is key in achieving their business objectives this year.
For others, CX plans that have complete clarity are somewhat important to reaching their aims in 2022 (19.61%). This shows that the manufacturers who have a clear customer experience strategy are using CX as a tool to drive meaningful results.
What’s next for CX-focused manufacturers?
Momentum continues to build for manufacturing organisations who are focused on improving their CXE strategy. You can read more about the state of CXE in manufacturing (including what’s to come in the future) by downloading our report below.