How Can Manufacturers Differentiate by Focusing on Customer Engagement?

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For a long time, manufacturing was just about selling a good product. Now, companies relying solely on selling a good product find it hard to stand out in the crowd. With so much information available to customers for research and so many solutions in the market, today’s manufacturers are expected to provide the convenience that was so far only expected in the B2C customer engagement models.

Relationship-centered strategy fundamentally
differentiates manufacturers from the competition

Take this example: your company launches a new product. The customer finds out about it through one of your marketing channels and researches it on your company website and industry forum. At the time they contact you, your sales team will be able to leverage machine learning and efficiently identify and customize a best fitting value offer – together with product support and service packages.

All customer data collected during this first engagement gets stored and shared as a part of their dynamic customer profile. This seamlessly connects the sales team with the supply chain as well as the maintenance team. This allows you to keep track of the services and products that provided the customer with the best outcomes – and to be able to reference that data to deepen the relationship and be more successful in future engagements.

Having this single source of information and improved cross-team collaboration allows for the sales to fulfillment cycle to be streamlined into a seamless process, while opening up opportunities for automation. Additionally, this uniform and universally available information ensures that your customers will feel confident that they will be fully supported throughout the sales and delivery process.

Next, during the process of installing the equipment, the customer runs into an issue and they reach out to you for support. No matter which rep they reach, they can rely on them to have access to all the necessary information to resolve the issue. Apart from that, the system will be able to analyze past service requests and asset performance across all customers and compile a list of contextual fixes. Once again, your employees can lean on machine learning to relay accurate information that is grounded in past experience and pinpoint the fastest way to resolve any issues. After following through on the troubleshooting steps, the customer will be able to observe the performance improvement of the asset in question – both individually and as it relates to other assets – through a unified interface.

Let’s assume that, even though the steps that were suggested worked in most cases, they weren’t enough to resolve this particular issue and the customer is still concerned with possible downtime. Using the gathered data, you will be able to assign a technician to the support ticket equipped with the exact parts and information they might need to accomplish a first-time fix. This will undoubtedly help establish and deepen the trust between you and the customer as they will have a smooth transition and experience no disruption.

Now, several months have gone by. Since then, you have received similar service requests from other customers. You review the system reports, machine learning, and analytics to identify a data pattern regarding the new product. Upon closer examination, your engineering team is able to identify the design updates that would alleviate the current product malfunctions. By detecting and implementing the improvement opportunities early on, you are able to save both you and the customers’ money by lowering the equipment downtime as well as the number of service requests.

During the entirety of the customer engagement cycle – sales to product design – manufacturers have a unique ability to build truly collaborative relationships with their customers. Regardless of the market segment a customer fits in or what level of service may be required – don’t underestimate the potential to win new and repeat business through a relationship-centered approach that allows you to project an aura of reliability and dedication.

Take your customer engagement to the next level with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Moving forward, manufacturing will revolve around properly understanding and merging the product lifecycle with the customer experience to create a streamlined end-to-end process. By improving customer visibility and connecting their needs to the plant floor, manufacturers can eliminate having segmented data and simplify internal processes by having a unified platform to serve as a foundation of your future growth. Microsoft Dynamics 365 truly offers a way to fully integrate all functional units to the same platform by combining the traditionally separate functionalities of ERP and CRM. Added to that are the most powerful enterprise cloud with robust data analytics capabilities and visual reports to help you get a real time insight into every part of your organization.

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