Tradition runs deep in the manufacturing industry, especially for companies that have been around for a long time. Whether it’s a family-owned business or a corporate manufacturer, relationships with wholesalers, distributors, and partners are an important part of the equation. Over time, these relationships and other traditional business practices cultivate cultural identity and become simply the norm, and “the way you do business.”
A strong corporate heritage is a great thing, especially when you can tie it to your brand—but it can also make or break a company. If you’re not careful, this legacy way of thinking can hold you back and prevent you from making change. And as we saw at the beginning of 2020, embracing changing times and digitizing initiatives can never take a back seat.
Join us April 15 for Manufacturing Insights: Enterprise Service Management to see how manufacturing leaders have broken traditional barriers to reinvent their business models within customer experience.
Cutting away from the ordinary customer experience
In the past, manufacturers focused on transactions to sell equipment and goods. It was more of a “one and done” mentality. Over the past few years, however, even before the events of 2020, heightened customer demands and increasing market maturity encouraged many manufacturers to begin shifting to a model of relationship-based selling.
The events around the global pandemic only amplified this focus on customers during a very difficult year. Like many of their peers in other industries, CX leaders in manufacturing had to examine every aspect of their business to operate in a new digital world. In that short time, they have expedited new ways of doing business, including:
- Recurring subscriptions: Agreeing to provide regular payments for uninterrupted access to a good or service.
- Direct-to-customer: Shipping products directly to buyers without relying on a traditional store.
- Product customization: Using computer-aided manufacturing systems to produce a custom good or service.
And if that’s not enough, cloud natives are reimagining and creating new tactical paths to growth that drive competition in a mature market. Think 3D printing, better supply chain management, or building heightened experiences through predictive maintenance.
Pivoting to a path of recurring revenue
Especially as the pandemic has hurt the manufacturing industry in everything from supply chain shortages to declining product revenue, the popularity of subscription-based pricing has increased. Businesses are accelerating their transformation from one-time sales and service contracts, finding that long-term relationship-based models add greater value to their business than simple transaction-based methods.
This shift requires significant investment in digital technologies to support and services customers in this new business model, but it directly correlates with the seamless, friction-free interactions customers prefer and expect with their service providers in all facets of their life, whether that customer is a consumer interacting with a music streaming service or a manufacturer charging a hospital to use an MRI machine with the latest software.
And the benefits go both ways. In the case of the hospital, a monthly use charge relieves them of footing a large one-time payment and includes funds for service should something go awry. The manufacturer avoids some of the financial uncertainties that have riddled the manufacturing industry over the past year, such as deferments or cancellation of equipment deliveries.
Manufacturers who can successfully pivot to a new business model, such as subscription-based selling, also positively influence their brand equity by keeping themselves top of mind as solution providers for business challenges. Given the various unknowns brought about by the pandemic and ever-changing customer expectations, leveraging service transformation to get closer to customers and delivering high-value interactions is critical—and very possible given today’s digital-led innovations.
Unlocking the value of data
The most valuable, but quite often the most underutilized asset a manufacturer has at their disposal, is data. Connecting and unlocking the value of data in real time to fully understand the customer is the foundation for delivering frictionless services. A connected platform surfaces trends and needs as they become visible, which is critical to delivering exceptional experiences.
This valuable data can help you take an anticipatory path and build a competitive advantage by developing better, more idealized solutions. Investing in digital technologies driven by a data-first approach allows you to move from a reactive state of operation to an agile, adaptable, proactive one.
Taking a data-first approach is instrumental in building long-term relationships with customers, which then extends profits through customer loyalty, increased service revenue, and improved field service productivity. Moreover, customer self-care initiatives, such as guided selling and improved partner channels, help them resolve issues efficiently while positively engaging with you.
Mastering CX within manufacturing
Manufacturing is heavily based on tradition, but globalization, competition, market maturity, and heightened customer expectations have begun to redefine the industry and present never-before-seen challenges—challenges that can only be solved by consistently driving customer engagement and satisfaction through frictionless service that anticipates and meets “in the moment” needs.
Want to hear how others are overcoming these challenges and transforming their enterprise service? Join us April 15 for Manufacturing Insights: Enterprise Service Management to see how manufacturing leaders have broken traditional barriers to reinvent their business models within customer experience.