As industrial and manufacturing operations continue to modernize, they're learning hard lessons that other industries have already had to deal with, such as the need for better customer experiences. As B2B buyers increasingly demand "Amazon-like" purchasing experiences from their vendors, manufacturers need to be able to keep up. Otherwise, it could start becoming a drag on business.
As a recent Tacton study recently showed, only about half of industrial operations are focusing on customer experience as an area they need to improve. That could be a real problem for manufacturers who aren't looking at CX, as they could easily find themselves bleeding customers.
Bad CX Can Harm Manufacturers In The Long Run
Simply put, most modern buyers are less willing to put up with poor customer experiences, when they almost always have other alternative sources for goods and services. As PWC found, over half of American buyers will stop interacting with a brand after several bad experiences. And nearly 20% may walk away after only one bad experience.
That should be a chilling thought. Customers are easily lost today, and acquiring a new customer continues to be far more expensive than holding onto existing customers. Depending on the estimate, it's anywhere from 5-10x as costly. On the other hand, according to OutboundEngine, a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25%-29% increase in profits. From a pure cost-benefit standpoint, putting more money into improved customer service simply makes sense.
Further, when a customer has a bad experience, they rarely keep it to themselves. On average, a bad report or review of a company experience will be seen by at least 15 people. Should the bad experience happen to someone with a great deal of networking or social influence, thousands or millions of people could hear about it.
This is clearly something that should be avoided.
What areas of CX should manufacturers focus on to improve customer perception?
- Unified experiences: A customer should receive the same type and quality of customer service no matter how they interact with a company. Every touchpoint should have access to the same data and services, within reason, and there should be a push for consistency across every outlet.
- Easier purchasing: As businesses are increasingly staffed by Millennials, and now even Zoomers, who grew up on Amazon, they expect similar experiences when making B2B purchases. You need self-serve purchasing options, with salesperson contact treated as an optional service for those with special needs or requirements.
- Superb human-level CS: Having qualified, well-trained, and pleasant staff is a must. Few things can sour a customer experience more quickly than dealing with a bad customer service contact. Constant reporting, training, and feedback for all CS workers is essential.
- Complaint responsiveness: If customers have problems, they expect those problems to be addressed, or at least acknowledged. This should extend past your own CS outlets and also include external points of contact such as social media. ie, complaints on LinkedIn or Twitter should not be ignored.
At the moment, manufacturers who focus on CX are going to reap double benefits: they'll see better profits from loyal customers and they're likely to pick up new customers who are dissatisfied with companies who don't focus on CX. For some, this may be an excellent chance to stand out and grow their business, at the expense of those who fail to modernize.
LogicBay Links Your Internal Communications And Collaboration
For over a decade, we've been helping businesses modernize, embrace Industry 4.0 initiatives, and improve communications and responsiveness across their entire ecosystem. Our tools and services are designed to facilitate better information-sharing, collaboration, and training. Contact us to learn how we can help you improve CX across the board!