Rather than facing it with fear, manufactures should see the rise of the machines as a way of remaining responsive to the needs of customers, while increasing productivity.
Think of UK manufacturing and you’ll no doubt think of the many ways the sector has had to adapt and respond to changes over recent years in order to remain competitive.
From automation, Industry 4.0, IoT, and robotics, what’s clear is that for the future success of UK manufacturing to be secured, technology must be embraced.
Many people are hung up on the negative effects that automated machines have on the labour market, ignoring the ways in which these machines can assist workers in their roles and help manufacturers provide a more personalised customer experience.
As more manufacturers adopt servitised business models as a way to remain competitive, enhancing the relationship and services they offer customers, the rise of the machines can ensure manufacturers remain responsive to the needs of customers, while also increasing productivity.
In order to enhance the relationship manufacturers have with customers, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology, including applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, need to be at the centre of this robot revolution.
Moving towards a business model that places customer experience at its heart, manufacturers need to explore the ways they can go beyond traditional aftersales support.
Manufacturing businesses need to empower their customers, while also providing extended support across multiple platforms, enhancing the customer journey.
Integral to the objective of enhancing the customer journey, manufacturers need to consider how they can empower customers to help themselves, for example allowing customers to manage and oversee their accounts using a self-service portal.
While the above adopts a reactive stance, there are ways to become more proactive in enhancing the customer experience.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM utilises social sentiment tracking, keeping manufacturers up to date with what is being said about their brand across social media platforms as it happens, responding to queries before they become a real issue for customers.
In order to deliver true value to customers, manufacturers need to take this information, breaking it down into relevant demographics to deliver a customer experience that truly sets them apart from competitors.
By preparing for demand, rather than reacting to it, manufacturing businesses can increase service levels without compromising value.
Finally, delivering real value to customers must transcend customer support if the customer experience is to be enhanced in the long term.
Incorporating advanced machine learning capabilities, for those employees out in the field, enables manufacturers to assign the right resources to ensure customer issues are fixed first time, every time.
It seems obvious that in order to deliver true value to customers, manufacturers must first ensure that their own processes and business models are operating at an optimum level.
Gaining access to real-time customer information, such as order history and support issues, is key to not only driving internal productivity and efficiencies, but also underpinning the customer journey long after traditional aftersales care has ceased.
There is no denying the rise of the machines is set to continue, and it’s these machines that will ultimately help businesses add the human touch to their relationships with customers.