Leading manufacturers are using customer experience as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, with 43% of MFG companies planning to improve their online customer experiences. For many businesses, however, it can be tough to define customer experience. Is it when your customers call customer support? Or is it the experience they have when they use your website? What about the experience of buying the product and opening it? The answer is all of the above—and more.
A customer’s experience—whether they be consumers, wholesalers, or dealers—is shaped by all the interactions that they have with your brand, assets, people, and products. Every aspect of your business has the potential to improve your customer experience, but how do you know what to improve? It begins by asking them.
According to a 2017 Forrester survey, only 22% of decision makers at manufacturing firms are increasing customer input into the design of their products and services. As these organizations look internally to help improve their products and services, this leaves a huge opportunity for other manufacturing firms to leverage customer-feedback as a means to create better relationships and overall brand experiences.
Without integrating customer feedback into your business decisions, changes you might be making are hypotheses at best. Knowing what your customers think, and drawing out insights about the way that they use what you produce can forever impact the trajectory of your product.
A legendary example of this was with the launch of Febreze. The brand we all know and probably have in our linen closets was originally a dud. Those marketers assumed the public would clamor for a product that promised to eliminate bad smells, but didn’t realize that even neat freaks got desensitized to the odors around them. Their breakthrough moment was when they interviewed a woman who was a regular Febreze user.
Through her feedback the company discovered that she used the product as a finishing to her normal cleaning routine, almost as if it was a reward. That one insight changed the way they positioned the initial product, and lead not only to some memorable campaigns but an entire line of Febreze products used by millions.
Customer feedback can be gathered in many ways. These include direct from surveys, interviews, ethnographies, product reviews, customer diaries, focus groups, customer support tickets, social media, or indirectly through connected devices and seller partners, just to name a few. Whatever method(s) you choose to invest in, these efforts need to focus on truly understanding how your customers use your products, discovering what their pain and pleasure points are of using and interacting with your products and services, and leveraging these insights to create better ways to improve their overall experience.
The manufacturing industry is undergoing a transformation right now. Integrating digital and technology for process and internal improvement are a top priority. The way manufacturers are going to differentiate their brand externally, however, is by becoming customer-obsessed and focusing on improving their customer experience across their business. The key to unlocking that will be integrating the feedback from customers into every aspect of your business.