One of the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak has been accelerating manufacturers’ digital transformation initiatives. The pandemic has fundamentally changed how we work and live and has driven the accelerated adoption of digital channels such as eCommerce and social commerce across multiple industries. The manufacturing industry has pivoted its businesses to ride out the challenging environment.
Many have responded to rapid change by shortening their supply chain, emphasizing just-in-time deliveries, and creating value for their customers. While this started before the pandemic, the trend toward direct-to-consumer selling (D2C) has accelerated and is set to continue.
We all have been under universal pressure on the need to maximize convenience and speed. Regardless of where your company operates or manufactures its goods and services, manufacturers remain frozen with a fragmented, outdated, and incomplete view of their customers. You risk seeing your competitors accelerate away from you and create an insurmountable gap that can not be closed.
Advantages of Digital Transformation
Manufacturers that invest in digital transformation to significantly improve the accuracy and completeness of their customer data will improve customer retention and acquisition and increase revenue share. CRM systems enable manufacturers to intuitively store customer details, such as addresses, telephone numbers, key contacts, purchase history, etc.
This data can be particularly beneficial to sales agents as it allows them to better understand a manufacturer’s customers and identify opportunities to drive additional revenue.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations have moved the dial on customer experience (CX) efforts. AI is single-handedly putting CRM back at the heart of CX, providing the foundational technology needed for manufacturers to drive engagement and deliver experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
Many manufacturers are still wrangling ERP systems with limited functionality. Others who have moved to use a CRM haven’t integrated their CRM with other ERP systems to create a uniform data view.
With marketplaces more competitive than ever, customers are in the driver’s seat, not businesses. That’s why manufacturers must do all they can to stand out from the crowd or find themselves irrelevant.
How Manufacturers Can Differentiate and Offer Enhanced CX
One way that manufacturers can differentiate is by consistently providing an outstanding CX. By doing so, businesses can even look to add a price premium.
According to research by PwC, valued customer experiences can allow companies to charge up to a 16% price premium on products and services and reap the benefit of improved customer retention from increased loyalty.
By consistently providing an exceptional customer experience, manufacturers can boost customer retention, improve customer satisfaction and increase up-selling and cross-selling.
Manufacturers need to be consistent with their customer experience approach across every customer touchpoint/channel. This is increasingly important as firms roll out new ways to connect with their customers, such as eCommerce websites, self-help portals, and automated chat facilities.
It’s no good to provide a stellar experience when the customer first reaches, then fall short with your online ordering or after-sales service. Once customers have had an exceptional experience, they expect it for every interaction regardless of the medium or channel.
Customer interactions should always be consistent, personalized, and customized. For manufacturers, acknowledging the customer’s history with the business is paramount.
Manufacturers need to have mechanisms in place to quickly bring up basic information such as how long they have been a customer, their purchase history/preferences, and any issues they’ve had in the past. Having this digital intelligence ensures a seamless overall customer experience.
CRM data can also be used to develop new products and solutions based on customer needs. Such tools automatically capture customer information and instantly present it intuitively, so the departments that need to take advantage of it can do so effortlessly.
The key to creating a unique CX is knowing your customer. By collecting high quality customer data and ensuring it can be easily retrieved and used, manufacturers can understand their customers’ needs and deliver products and services across multiple channels.
Digital transformation efforts that are customer-centric ensure an optimized CX ultimately improves customer retention and increases revenue.
This blog post is based on an article initially published on Australian Manufacturing News.