The last two years have prompted many companies in the manufacturing sector to expand their product lines to include services for their customers. This is a major cultural transformation that is shifting the focus of B2C and B2B companies from products to services with the combined objective of improving the customer experience and increasing sales. This is called servitisation, which is the possibility of supplementing the sale of products with value-added services. This shift is a key factor for manufacturing companies seeking to transform their business.
Let’s take a look at how manufacturing companies can effectively implement a servitisation process, the best practices to follow and the solutions that can help them along the way.
Servitisation, customer focus and selecting the right channels
Servitisation is based on customer focus, which is becoming a key driver for all companies, including companies in the particularly in the manufacturing sector. A recent study* conducted by Salesforce of 750 leaders in the manufacturing sector revealed that one of the biggest challenges for the future is improving customer service. Yet only 55 percent of those surveyed see their company as truly ‘future-ready’, particularly in the area of customer service, which for 50 per cent of the respondents could undergo a veritable revolution in the short term.
Businesses first need to choose which channels they use to communicate with their customers. Choosing the wrong channels can damage customer relations, preventing the steady flow of communication and a constant dialogue that is the very basis of CRM. Using too many channels is not always the right choice either as it can lead to confusion among customers. This can have damaging effects on relations between the company and the customer, on future orders, and also on the sale of after-sales services.
For the customer value creation process to be effective, certain best practices need to be considered. Let us look at them together.
Customer Service and more efficient Field Service
Whether talking about remote or field service, companies need to choose the right solutions to optimise their customer service activities. Streamlining service and field service will, on the one hand, improve productivity by reducing costs while, on the other hand, improve the customer experience, as customers will see their needs met faster and better. In the past, companies only focused on cutting the costs associated with these two activities, today the focus has clearly shifted to improving the customer experience and, then, on the servitisation. According to a recent report that IDC conducted for Salesforce on Field Service Management**, roughly one third of European companies struggle with inefficient manual processes, obsolete tools, and sometimes both. Turning to Italy, on this issue Italian companies see internal and external communications (34%) and advanced automation (32%) as priorities.
Self Service in After-Sales
Companies wanting to operate effectively and accelerate the servitisation process, will need to offer customers and distributors a dedicated commerce channel for selling spare parts and services. This may be accompanied by a self-service portal allowing customers and distributors to access information they would normally have to contact the company for. Customers will in turn, by navigating through the portal, provide the company with additional information enabling it to offer new solutions.
By using a modern commerce solution, companies can collect, organise and interpret a far more detailed pool of data on customer enquiries. This also allows companies to quickly and easily query and analyse a customer’s history, thus enabling them to leverage all this data to create new business opportunities.
A data-driven approach…
Companies can transform the mass of data produced into valuable information that helps them identify new trends and promptly act on the insights gathered. Apart from merely looking at revenue figures, company management needs to question its market strategy. What are we doing now to achieve our business objectives? Do we need to change anything? Do we need to change our strategies? This is the right way to shift towards a data-driven approach.
…And a cultural revolution: Change Management
But the solutions discussed also need a third element that goes hand in hand with the right technology partner. This is the cultural change that is at the heart of any revolution, allowing it to start, strengthen and succeed. Without the involvement of all departments and stakeholders, the risk of failure or, delays and slowdowns during the implementation of a technology solution would be a very real possibility.
This is precisely why we at Atlantic Technologies share our Change Management expertise with our customers, providing businesses with the most useful cultural tools needed to support any implementation project. It is true that a company’s success increasingly depends on the use of the right technologies, nevertheless a successful implementation requires the involvement of all employees. With this approach, manufacturing companies can confidently look to the future, improving their market presence, both with regard to their competitors and to their customers.
However, they also need a technology partner with years of experience in both the solutions they offer and the customer’s vertical sector. We at Atlantic Technologies offer the perfect mix of these skills, as we are a certified Salesforce Manufacturing Expert; over the years we have completed numerous projects working alongside big names in the Italian manufacturing sector such as Technogym, Biesse, Bonfiglioli, Bucci Industries and Cerve.
Thanks to our extensive expertise in Salesforce CRM and Business Intelligence solutions for manufacturing, we can offer our customers the best solutions on the market and the most effective support for their implementation within the various company departments.
To find out how Atlantic’s consultants can help your company on its journey towards servitisation, contact us.