Wouldn’t you like to get into the head of your customers to understand what they want?
Today’s engineers are very different from an industrial manufacturer’s customer ten years ago. But while customer expectations have dramatically evolved, manufacturer’s response has lagged behind. How can industrial manufacturers give their customers what they want without knowing what that is?
Here’s an easier solution ― no mind-readers necessary:
Engineers want a remarkable customer experience.
This is not a new concept. Customer experience is critical to successful businesses, and industry experts have called it “the new competitive battlefield” for businesses across the market. In fact, 86% of manufacturing executives believe customer experience is a key competitive differentiator, according to Salesforce research insights from nearly 300 manufacturing leaders worldwide.
However, the real challenge here is not that customers want better service. They want a remarkable digital customer experience too. Today’s industrial customers are armed with more information, more purchasing power and higher expectations for customer service — and it’s all thanks to the digital revolution.
But digital customer experience is not synonymous to customer service. Online customers have very different needs and expectations than your customer calling the service center.
What does a remarkable digital customer experience look like?
Downloading a digital product from a supplier’s website, watching a video that compares two different products and searching for contacts on LinkedIn from a smartphone ― these are all pieces of digital customer experience.
Engineers are on-demand digital customers who want more information and purchasing power. Digital resources are deeply ingrained in their work and everyday life.
To improve the digital customer experience for engineers, manufacturers must do these five things:
- Speed up the design process while working on the engineer’s schedule
- Create deeper customer relationships and consistent user experiences
- Empower the buyer with more access to information upfront
- Create an easy-to-use interface that guides the buyer through the purchasing process
- Deliver smarter, more personalized customer service in real-time
Engineers are looking to work with companies who will make their jobs more efficient and give them more purchasing power. Already, most engineers go through 60% of the buyer’s journey before contacting a salesperson, according to IEEE GlobalSpec’s research. They don’t need the manufacturer to open the door to a purchase. More often then not, they just need the manufacturer to give them the key.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers are missing the mark. In fact, only 14% of manufacturers rated both their service performance and performance versus the competition as excellent, according to Salesforce report. So how do manufacturers create a better digital customer experience for their customers?
Manufacturers must be customer-centric.
Make your new motto, “Customer is king.” Your online presence should focus on your customers and their needs ― not what you’re trying to sell them. That means giving customers the tools and information they need to make a purchasing decision even if it’s not with you.
To satisfy engineers, manufacturers must deliver on those five expectations. Ways to do that include:
- Provide 24/7 access to parts and information
- Offer just-in-time delivery of product samples
- Align your service and sales teams
- Engage with customers through many different channels
- Make it easy for your customers to find the information they need
- Provide a free quote
- Make sure your website navigation is easy-to-use and free of errors
- Create mobile-friendly content
- Offer CAD downloads in several different native formats
- Provide personalized solutions for customers
By applying this principle across your business, you will create a digital customer experience that not only makes engineers happy but also creates loyal, happy customers. For more information about how industrial manufacturers can improve engineer’s digital customer experience, download Digital Parts Catalog 101.
Has your company created a strategy to improve your customer’s digital customer experience? Share with us what you did to help your online customers.
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