Traditionally, manufacturers could stay competitive by offering the most innovative products or using the latest technology. While that still plays a role in ensuring your business stays ahead of the competition, more and more customers (particularly B2B) are also looking for a convenient experience.
It’s no longer just about how technologically advanced your manufacturing processes are. It’s about the quality of your customer experience.
Here’s why it’s so important:
- Improved productivity and overall cost-efficiency
- Boosted customer loyalty
- Improved customer attraction techniques
- Better quality products
Improved productivity and overall cost- efficiency
You likely have a team of technical experts within your customer service team who use their extensive knowledge of your products to help customers find what they need. This approach may be working fine but imagine if you could make this product information available digitally.
If your customers can easily find information such as product descriptions, accurate stock levels, product configuration functionalities and customisable pricing, your staff will have more time back. This is the time your staff can spend handling more complex queries/cases, personalising customer engagements and building stronger relationships.
Here’s another example: if your CRM and ERP systems are integrated, you’ll not only maximise the ROI of your ERP.
In fact, data from one system can easily be accessed in the other, which:
- Eliminates data siloes and duplication
- Minimises manual work
- Facilitates 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
That’s how the two systems complement each other.
Boosted customer loyalty
Today’s market is so saturated with products and bright brand messaging. One way you’ll stand out is how convenient you can make things for your customers.
Can your customers easily find the information they need? Is that information up-to-date? Can they easily place an order? Is it easy to receive after-sales support? If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these, you’re on your way to improving customer happiness and loyalty.
Here are a few examples of a convenient customer experience:
- Manuals and maintenance guides available online (and correctly tagged so it’s easy to find on your website)
- How-to and tips videos so your customers can get more out of their products
- A centralised customer portal where customers can find everything they need related to their order. For example, order status, tracking, manuals, maintenance schedules…
- Automatic notifications of when products are due to be serviced - you can take this one step further by contacting customers to book a service before it’s due
Improved customer attraction techniques
Photo by Anna Shvets
Improving your customer experience won’t just impact your customer satisfaction, happiness, loyalty and retention. It will also help you attract more new customers.
- Happier existing customers will spread good words about your business
- You’ll benefit from an enhanced digital presence thanks to your e-commerce website. This will boost brand visibility and awareness
…and this will attract the attention of new potential customers who fit your ideal profile.
Better quality products
Improved customer experience can indirectly impact your product quality. Striving to better understand your customers is key to providing an excellent customer experience. And when you better understand your customers, you can enhance your new product development process and overall product quality.
Improve your understanding of customer needs by:
- Gathering feedback on the quality of your products and service
- Ensuring your employees can easily access the CRM system to view customer data - this removes siloes
- Ensuring adding data to the CRM system is simple (e.g. autofill, suggestions/recommendations for what to add) - this will encourage your employees to keep the system up-to-date
Ready to learn how you can improve your customer experience?
Customer experience might be a term you seldom hear in the manufacturing industry. And it’s true - manufacturing is often more focused on the product than the way it’s offered to the customer. However, as B2B customers evolve, their buying journeys and expectations are becoming increasingly B2C-like.
So, manufacturers must start considering a customer-centric approach. You should invest in solutions that help your internal teams provide an excellent customer experience rather than only improving the efficiency of the machines on the factory floor.
Learn more about how manufacturers can improve customer experience in our guide.