Manufacturers focused on growth are finding it by discovering more about their customers’ business problems and providing solutions for them. This opens new opportunities for manufacturers to stand out as the preferred option in a competitive marketplace. Using digital commerce and analytics technology, you can innovate for your customers in new ways to provide them a better buying experience, differentiate your brand, and give you an advantage over your competitors in the market.
One way to learn how to provide better value to your customers is to better understand what it’s like for them to do business with your company, finding out what works well and what doesn’t, and then improving their experience. An exercise to help you with this discovery process is customer journey mapping.
Customer Journey Mapping
- Gather the right people from across your organization, including someone from all departments that have a part in the customer’s process of completing a purchase from your organization. This might include people in sales, customer service, the web team, shop floor, shipping, accounts receivable, etc.
Pretend you are the customer and identify all the steps they go through when they buy from you. Document the flow of all the touchpoints; it will start to look like a map.
Be very honest and talk about the quality of the experience for your customers at each point. For the things that everyone agrees work well, no changes needed are needed. For things that don’t work well, you’ve uncovered a new business opportunity. This step can be hard to talk about as a group, but focus on the positive: finding new business opportunities by helping your customers.
Innovate for Your Customers
Take the new-found opportunities that you want to improve for your customers and start brainstorming ways to transform them into a better customer experience. There are many ways in which technology can add value in your customer relationships.
A robust eCommerce solution can simplify your customers’ often-complex process of B2B purchasing with an intuitive, easy-to-use way to research, compare, and order products online. SEO capabilities help you put your brand in front of prospective customers who research your products online. Self-service portals offer your customers an easy way to find answers about their orders, products, or invoices anytime, anywhere, without relying on your customer service office. A strong analytics solution allows you to use the data from your customer purchasing processes to increase sales with order recommendations, better insight into customer purchase behaviors, and closer analysis of response data. With these insights, you are positioned to make continuous improvements by using the data collected online and internally for faster, better business decisions.