We face a cooling economy, but the opportunities to deliver a positive customer experience that sets your manufacturing company above the competition are hot. However, if your system innovation is focused on product-driven customer service, your investment may fall short of customer expectations.
A recent Salesforce customer study found that 91 percent of buyers and 86 percent of customers surveyed said the company’s customer experience is as important as its products and services.
“Customer experience is the total perception of the company, interaction by interaction, from the first touchpoint to the last,” explains Vala Afshar at Salesforce.com. “Customer expectations for good experiences keep soaring. They don’t just want the right product at the right price—they want the full package.”
Connecting with today’s customers simply isn’t possible using yesterday’s technology. A recent survey found that over half (54 percent) of participants blame their legacy systems for preventing their company from achieving CX goals.
So what does an innovative customer experience beyond the product look like in manufacturing? Moving toward customer-focused business transformation means offering accessible communication tools, customization and personalized services, after-sales customer support, and quick, reliable shipping. Let’s discuss each point:
1. Improve Communication Channels
Manufacturers can establish effective communication channels to engage with customers throughout the production process and at every stage of the buyers’ journey.
This can include providing real-time updates on the status of orders, addressing customer queries and complaints promptly, and maintaining transparent communication channels for after-sales support.
The operative feature here is real-time. Customers want information based on real-time, not a spreadsheet from two days ago. Reliable communication requires trustworthy data.
“Salesforce can capture your current data and provide better insights that will empower you to make decisions around the customer experience and their demand trends,” Kevin Willemse, Managing Director at Simplus, says. “Additionally, Salesforce’s dynamic dashboards can break your information down seamlessly by segments, showing you where low, high, and in-between value opportunities are in your pipeline. You can pivot focus and capital more effectively by expanding visibility into deal segmentation, market value, and customer experiences.”
Tools like Salesforce Data Cloud utilize automation and AI technology to ensure your customers get the information they want. Your sales and service teams can make critical decisions based on the live data they need.
2. Provide After-Sales Support
Although most marketing strategies focus on attracting new customers, retaining existing customers with after-sales services is the real moneymaker, especially for manufacturers amid a cooling economy. Market research shows the probability of closing a new deal with an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. Compare this success to the 5 to 20 percent chance of selling to a new one.
Brand loyalty grows by nurturing customer retention with offerings like product maintenance and repair services, warranties, and product training. So as your company moves forward with digital transformation, implementing a system that tracks customer needs and reaches out with services at the right time, well, that’s money, baby.
3. Ensure Timely Delivery
Let’s face it. The best customer sales support can get clobbered by a poor delivery experience. Delivery is the last touch in a series of outreach opportunities within the buyer’s journey, which means it carries a lasting impression that can impact the customer’s relationship with your brand.
With an updated CRM system, manufacturers can establish efficient supply chain processes and logistics management systems to ensure the timely delivery of products to customers. This can improve the customer experience by reducing wait times and increasing responsiveness.
But as Alyssa Suchy, Industry Director at Simplus, points out, providing a frictionless ordering and shipping process is just one approach to moving from a product focus to being customer focused.
“The answer is defined by what matters most to your organization and mapping those key performance indicators directly to improving your customer experience and transitively your customer’s customer experience,” Suchy says.
“Service SKUs can range from a dedicated service package with accelerated response times and white-glove amenities to something a bit more powerful, like taking the shared knowledge based on decades of experience selling nails, nuts, and bolts and offering paid consulting services to their customers on the most efficient and best ways to leverage even the most simple of physical technology.”
To compete in this evolving industry, manufacturing companies must design processes that focus on the customer’s needs and preferences. Product quality is important, but offering a memorable customer experience in addition to value is the key to great customer relationships.
4. Offer Customized Services
With innovations in CRM, personalized customer services can be a fundamental part of your company’s brand. According to Salesforce, 52 percent of customers expect offerings always to be personalized. Here’s an example:
When SWEED, a leading recycling and material handling equipment provider, realized their sales processes didn’t deliver adequate customer data to support customized service opportunities, the Simplus team set up Pardot for more strategic lead management and implemented Sales Cloud for a vastly improved and personalized sales experience.
Companies like SWEED learn quickly that an impactful customer experience requires understanding the customer. Your connection to them lies in collected data. When you use a system such as Salesforce Service Cloud, it centralizes data to maintain a complete customer profile and identifies service gaps within the buyers’ journey.
Manufacturers can also optimize automation and AI technology to improve the customer experience with predictive maintenance to detect potential equipment failures before they occur, ensuring minimum downtime and customer disruption. Let’s chat to devise a digital transformation strategy that works best for your company!
Today’s connected world has given the customer far more involvement in the brand-customer relationship. Embracing technology and undertaking a digital transformation journey paves the way to a frictionless customer experience, strengthening the business and creating a platform for growth in any economic climate.