Get a Competitive Edge with CX
A recent study by Accenture found that 90% of B2B leaders agree that customer experience (CX) is critical to their companies’ strategic priorities. But B2B companies, particularly in manufacturing, often still lag behind their B2C brethren when it comes to CX. Companies that can figure out how to personalize their CX have the opportunity to create an immediate advantage over their competitors.
To help both B2B and B2C manufacturing companies, MAPI is hosting Power Up Innovation: The CX & Product Management in Manufacturing Conference April 9-10 in Chicago. We had a chance to connect with one of our expert speakers, Andrew Walker, the CEO of Shift7 Digital, to get his thoughts on some of the most pressing issues facing manufacturers trying to implement and enhance their customer experience strategy.
Q1: The 2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation report found that “Customer experience continues to lead digital transformation investments…”. Have you found that manufacturing companies are using CX to help drive their business transformations? If so, how?
A1: Well, all manufacturing companies SHOULD! Those that have committed to digital enablement and transformation have started by defining the customer experience or the “journey map” to begin. This allows those organizations to focus on the shift of how their dealer, distributors, and customers to interact with them. However, some companies are, unfortunately, still “building things” first – and I advise against that approach.
Q2: Manufacturers’ sometimes get a bad rap as laggards when it comes to strategic transformation. Can you shed some light on the reality for companies with a deep history adjusting to the ever-evolving and ever-faster digital age?
A2: Respectfully, the rap is justified. As it relates to the manufacturing segment, manufacturing companies rank as the least mature business sector with digital maturity and progress. And yes, the deep history, the engineering-focus (versus customer-focus), the reliance on distributors, and the nature of how business has been done – in-person and with a “handshake,” all play into the lack of adoption. The world is shifting, end-users are shifting, and competitive threats are as real as ever…..and so, manufacturers must shift to compete.
Q3: At the CX & Product Management in Manufacturing Conference, you are going to discuss the age of the empowered buyer. What does this mean for our B2B manufacturers?
A3: The ways that manufacturers’ distribute and sell is shifting. There are new ways that customers want to research, test, view, and purchase your products. Manufacturers must start planning, enabling, and executing in new ways. This is happening by building faster and more adaptable back-end systems, richer touchpoints with customers, marketing and selling directly, and enabling salesforces with new tools. All of these ways are digital.
Q4: What do you think is the biggest barrier to digital adoption in manufacturing?
A4: It’s a simple answer – It starts with leadership and executive alignment and commitment to embracing digital into the business.
Q5: What do you wish manufacturing leaders knew about building incredible digital experiences for now, and while planning for the future?
A5: Manufacturing leaders should know the importance of starting now, and that it takes a journey; it cannot just be “flipped on.” Some of the most mature retail or financial services companies have been investing in digital since the early 2000s to gain their maturing and competitive edge.