The manufacturing industry has been dramatically impacted by advancements in technology, including the adoption of customer experience technology. Customer experience technology refers to the tools and strategies businesses use to improve the customer experience. This technology is vital for the manufacturing industry to meet customer expectations, increase customer loyalty, and stay ahead of the competition.
The manufacturing industry has invested heavily in customer experience technology in recent years. The industry has recognised that providing a positive customer experience is critical to customer satisfaction, leading to increased sales and revenue. This article will discuss the state of customer experience technology in the manufacturing industry, including the current trends and challenges.
The Potential for CX in Manufacturing
The definition of “customer” is varied and complex for manufacturing companies. 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 significant areas of focus for CX solutions in manufacturing companies often include:
- Empowerstrategyees: Manufacturing companies have employees distributed in various environments, from the back office to the shop floor. These team members need to be aligned and supported with access to the right CCaaS tools, workforce management and optimisation tools, and service desks.
- Personalising service: Delivering a custom level of personalised service is crucial in B2B manufacturing industry where relationships can make or break a company. CRM solutions for tracking relationships with major brands, wholesalers and distributors are essential 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 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 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 drives better sales, improved client retention, and more robust business growth. 84% of customers say the experience provided by a company is just as necessary as its products and services. Moreover, 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 expect access to various 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 pressure on the manufacturing industry’s back-end service professionals.
- IoT and Disruptive tech: In an age of contactless service inspired by the pandemic, manufacturing companies increasingly do more of their work from a distance. Tools like IoT systems and machine 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 personalised support and service.
- Hybrid work: The rise of hybrid workplaces and remote employees in all industries also influences the manufacturing landscape. Companies will need cloud-focused solutions with robust mobile connectivity (via solutions like 5G), workforce management tools, and flexible communication systems to succeed in this new environment.
The Challenges to Overcome in Manufacturing
Manufacturing is an industry currently amid 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 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 must 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 a minimal initial investment. Companies will need to do some organisational soul-searching in the years ahead to determine what kind of business avenues and sales solutions they will take advantage of.
It will also be crucial to ensure that exploring new avenues for sales doesn’t mean compromising on delivering personalised and relevant service for each customer group.