Transforming customer relationships in manufacturing

Colin Masson from Microsoft Business Solutions says that, by having a complete view of the customer journey and gaining information at every touchpoint, companies in the manufacturing industry can gain actionable insights

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By Guest on 10 August 2016
Transforming customer relationships	 in manufacturing

This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The Record.

To truly understand your customer, it’s vital to capture, store and analyse their behaviour across the sales and service process. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, granular customer insights can be attained, which in turn can be used to improve customer service and enable buyer segmentation, social engagement and product innovation.

A positive customer experience is a vital part of any industry, but more and more focus is being put on the idea of ‘servitisation’ – the idea of service ‘being’ the product. With the insights Dynamics CRM can provide, manufacturers have the tools to add focus to the experience of every customer and ultimately boost their business.

A greater level of engagement with prospects is possible, while pipeline management is made simpler. A greater level of support for service requests, management and resolution is possible, and demand forecasting can be carried out with greater accuracy.

Furthermore, a higher level of collaboration is possible across sales teams, and it is easier to coordinate the efforts of the sales team with that of the marketing team. Data from CRM systems and insights from predictive analytics can also be integrated.

The internet of things (IoT) is also playing a key role in this customer-centric approach by enabling more information to move faster across the supply chain. This in turn enables better decision making, and an increased number of opportunities for greater customer focus.

The IoT market has a big presence in manufacturing and is only likely to grow. According to Microsoft research, 40% of the IoT market will be in the manufacturing sector by 2025. Similarly, more than half of manufacturers believe product improvement is the most important reason for adopting smart devices, while 63% of manufacturing executives believe the application of IoT technologies to plants and processes will boost profitability over the next five years. This momentum around IoT is reflected in the fact that 77% of manufacturers expect to invest in IoT within two years.

At Microsoft, we believe the era of servitisation is now upon us. Companies that fail to embrace the shift and do not meet the required levels of service risk losing customer loyalty, which can only have a negative effect on business.

Colin Masson is global industry director for Manufacturing at Microsoft Business Solutions

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