B2B Digital Customer Experience – How Manufacturers Can Map and Manage Customer Journeys
January 17, 2019
Delivering a frictionless customer experience in the manufacturing sector is a growing priority. If you appreciate seamless purchasing journeys as a consumer, and know this isn’t reflected in your business operations, it’s time to reconsider your B2B manufacturing processes, and how these could provide transparency with your customer, plus benefits for your business.
- Frictionless user experience
- Personalised manufacturing
- Services and maintenance
- Connected supply chain
- Data optimisation
- Smart forecasting
B2B buyers have become accustomed to smooth and personal purchasing experiences as consumers, and expect the same as buyers in business. Manufacturers need to consider their digital strategy and offer versatile, digital buying experiences to stay ahead of competition, increase revenue and improve business efficiency.
For manufacturers and their customers, digital transformation in B2B has huge potential. From sharing real-time information and logistics data, to optimising maintenance offerings and other add-on services, strategically placing the customer at the centre of a B2B business model could result in major benefits for businesses.
What are the benefits of improving customer experience in manufacturing?
1. User experience – Going to market with streamlined commerce technology has become vital as sellers the likes of Amazon and eBay invest more in creating crisp user experiences that raise the bar for online commerce. Optimised UX interactions designed to meet the needs of buyers consistently, on multiple devices, are more likely to convert into business transactions, and promote loyalty.
2. Personalisation – New technologies allow a seamless connection between the factory, sales teams, commerce platforms, and the customer. The development of mass customisation, faster design and production technologies, and improved distribution networks are forcing manufacturers to move towards a customer-centric model. Providing a fast, bespoke service will differentiate manufacturers from competitors.
3. Servitisation – Add-on services can create mutual benefit for customers and businesses, and there is vast potential for digital transformation here. Predictive maintenance service is one example, where the manufacturer can monitor the operation of a product or piece of equipment and raise an alert before potential failure. An engineer could be dispatched before a breakdown, reducing the resultant downtime.
4. Supply chain – From procurement to final product, supply chain management can be a minefield for manufacturers. The knock-on effects of supply chain issues – for instance, tracing how a defective part was first introduced into production — can have consequences for downstream areas of business and customers. The visibility of a digital supply chain enables businesses and customers to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to potential obstacles.
5. Data – Any digitalisation project is built on a foundation of data. With so much data now available to businesses through CRM, ERP, PLM and other systems, an unprecedented volume of data can be used to analyse and transform the customer touch points throughout the manufacture of a product, improving customer service and highlighting areas to add value.
6. Forecasting – Utilising data from ERP systems, plus sales and marketing insights, intelligent technology can accurately predict business fluctuations. A process that automatically re-orders materials in advance of a spike in demand, or predicts and resolves distribution bottlenecks, will avoid potential lead-time headaches – thus ensuring you have access to the inventory your customers want when they need it.