Seventy-eight percent: the amount of business buyers likely to switch brands after an inconsistent experience across a company’s departments according to Salesforce. Especially for those involved in the manufacturing industry, employees need to continuously stay abreast of the latest products, innovations, and trends that are occuring. With advancements in technology, customers expect immediate connectivity and responses, making it difficult to keep up with demands and generate long-term loyalty. In order to succeed in this service sector, businesses need to work to build relationships based upon each unique customer and his or her individualized needs.
To complement high-quality products with high-quality customer service, Fletcher Industries has researched the ways these interactions have evolved over time as well as best practices for achieving the standards that are required today.
Sales and Service Partnership
No longer can the quality of a product alone win the patronage of a customer. With the aggressive nature of the marketplace, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to gain a competitive advantage. In a study conducted by the Salesforce Research team, over half of manufacturing executives admit they cannot compete solely on product differentiation. Consequently, 86% of this group believes that customer experience is the solution. Because of this, many have plans to increase their service budgets. In doing so, a more complete view of the customer can be achieved. This can then be utilized to meet needs or upsell products.
Today’s customer service goes far beyond the traditional telephone support agent. It’s available via email, web, text message, and social media. Though this gives support agents many channels by which to communicate, it can be overwhelming to match the level of individualized service to demand. As technology makes it easier for customers to take their needs elsewhere, forming unique and meaningful relationships is key in keeping their business and growing your own. Maintaining a personal feel to interactions is important, but artificial intelligence (AI) is also making its way into the industry for anticipating customer needs, self-diagnosing issues, or ordering replacement parts or services.
Hire the Right People
In meeting your customers’ needs as effectively as possible, hiring the right talent to do so is the first place to start. With two million manufacturing jobs expected to be vacant in 2025, research from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting suggest that 60% of these vacancies will be due to a shortage of qualified applicants. Investing in your employees is just as important as investing in your customers, so when you find quality candidates, it’s best to hold onto them. In addition, you can also leverage partnerships with other business that are known for their exceptional customer service or can help in meeting the needs of your target market. As a rule of thumb, if employees feel well-cared for on the job, they will likely project this onto your customers as well.
Listen to the Customer
Helping to alleviate customer issues begins with understanding what they want. Listening to requests, suggestions, and questions can expose additional problem areas or innovational opportunities for certain product offerings. To stay ahead of this, consider sending out surveys or incentives through your website or social media platforms for feedback. This can generate mass responses and provide the data to make necessary changes. Customers can range from other companies and referrals to internal employees and organic traffic. Being responsive both traditionally and digitally will give you a leg up over certain companies who only focus on the former.
Service excellence and customer care are tools that project a business’s brand image. In today’s day and age, it is what will make or break your competitive edge. For any project, Fletcher Industries offers full technical support to ensure success from concept to completion, and customized solutions are crafted to meet your individualized needs and goals. See for yourself by giving us a call at 910-692-7133, and if you have a passion for supporting clients and aiding in success, check out our customer care representative job openings.
The Manufacturing Institute/