Customer experience is an essential consideration for any business, regardless of industry. There are up to 80% increases in revenue available for companies who focus on improving customer experience, driven through loyalty, increased customer lifetime value, and more.
However, as consumer demands continue to evolve and the marketplace grows more complex, delivering the right kind of experiences to your audience now requires an investment in the right technology. Brands need to equip their teams with the correct CX solutions to thrive.
According to a recent IDC report, “CX” and CX solutions are now a necessary element of ensuring successful business growth for manufacturing companies. In both the B2C and B2B worlds, manufacturers rely on access to the right CX systems to stay ahead of the competition.
The Potential for CX in Manufacturing
For manufacturing companies, the definition of “customer” is varied and complex. The term could refer to the wholesalers that take manufacturer products to distribution channels or a licensed dealer network. Customers could also be big-box retailers where products are displayed or even end-users who access the brand through D2C solutions.
To survive in this complex landscape, manufacturing brands need CX solutions that allow them to serve a wide range of consumers with personalised solutions. The right technology can empower manufacturing teams by helping them to strengthen relationships with B2B brands or boost their reputation with B2C consumers. Some of the major areas of focus for CX solutions in manufacturing companies often include:
- Empowering employees: Manufacturing companies have employees distributed in a range of environments, from the back office to the shop floor. All of these team members need to be aligned and supported with access to the right CCaaS tools, workforce management and optimization tools, and service desks.
- Personalising service: Delivering a custom level of personalised service is crucial in B2B manufacturing industries, where relationships can make or break a company. CRM solutions for tracking relationships with different major brands, wholesalers and distributors are crucial to success. It’s also important to have the right omnichannel contact centre environment for connecting more effectively with customers.
- Supporting new go-to-market strategies: The evolution of the manufacturing industry is leading to new go-to-market strategies for many brands, like manufacturing marketplaces and direct to consumer selling. To enable these avenues for growth, manufacturing companies need to ensure they have the right solutions in place for service, including self-service and contact centre solutions.
- Empowering customers: Informed customers are happier customers in the manufacturing sector. Help desks and self-service solutions can empower customers to accomplish more with their manufacturing retailers in a fast-paced environment. This is becoming increasingly important in today’s world of contactless service.
Trends Driving CX in the Manufacturing Space
Excellent experience is the key to driving better sales, improved client retention, and stronger business growth. 84% of customers say the experience provided by a company is just as important as its products and services. What’s more, customer demands are only becoming more complex in the post-pandemic landscape. Some of the current trends influencing the manufacturing space’s approach to customer experience include:
- New customer service channels: While phone, email, and on-site interactions have always been common components of CX in manufacturing, new solutions are beginning to rise to the forefront. Increasingly, B2B and B2C customers alike expect to have access to a range of communication methods, from video and chat to even extended reality in some cases.
- Automation and AI: Speed is essential in any interaction with a manufacturing company, but it’s vital in the B2B landscape. When companies have an issue with a manufacturing product or service, they need a solution fast. AI systems and automation can help to accelerate resolutions with bots and virtual agents. These tools can also reduce some pressure on the back-end service professionals in the manufacturing industry.
- IoT and Disruptive tech: In an age of contactless service inspired by the pandemic, manufacturing companies are increasingly doing more of their work from a distance. Tools like IoT systems and machines teams can control remotely allow manufacturing companies to offer a new level of service. There’s even the potential to guide customers through solving common problems using XR technology in the future.
- Advanced analytics: Analytics are crucial for maintaining valuable customer relationships in the manufacturing industry. Today’s companies rely more heavily on advanced CRM solutions and tools for tracking information about the customer journey. The more information the company can collect, the easier it is to deliver a personalized level of support and service.
- Hybrid work: The rise of hybrid workplaces and remote employees in all industries is influencing the manufacturing landscape too. To succeed in this new environment, companies will need cloud-focused solutions with robust mobile connectivity (via solutions like 5G), workforce management tools, and flexible communication systems.
The Challenges to Overcome in Manufacturing
Manufacturing is an industry currently in the midst of a significant period of transformation. New go-to-market strategies are emerging for manufacturing brands, including the rise of e-commerce marketplaces in the B2B world and an increasing demand for direct to consumer solutions. These changes present new challenges and questions about how to manage customer experience.
At the same time, manufacturers are still dealing with the challenges and issues facing most companies in a post-pandemic landscape. Teams need to figure out how to deliver contactless service in an environment frequently defined by face-to-face interactions.
For many manufacturing companies, the focus will be on finding the right disruptive technology to implement to drive quick results with minimal initial investment. Companies will need to do some organizational soul searching in the years ahead to determine what kind of business avenues and sales solutions they will be taking advantage of.
It will also be crucial to ensure that exploring new avenues for sales doesn’t mean compromising on the delivery of personalized and relevant service for each customer group.