A special report by Salesforce indicates that manufacturing companies are either unable or unwilling to compete based on price alone and are looking for alternative ways to deliver value to customers. According to the report, more than half of manufacturers find it difficult to compete based on product differentiation. Instead, 86 percent of manufacturers believe customer experience is a key competitive differentiator, meaning that excellent customer service is becoming a driving force in goods-based businesses.
It’s well known that manufacturers readily embrace systems, processes, and automations that support efficiencies on the factory floor; now, they are looking to invest in similar technologies to improve their customer service. Cloud based solutions like unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) systems are helping manufacturing firms enhance customer experiences using omnichannel self-service and person-to-person interactions.
Automated Self-Service Solutions are Necessary for Manufacturers
Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report found that 66 percent of customers try resolving issues on their own before reaching out to a customer service representative; this percentage jumps to 74 percent for consumers between the ages of 18 and 34. The report also revealed that 88 percent of people (92 percent for people between 18 and 34) expect companies to have a self-service portal.
UCaaS and CCaaS solutions not only enhance communication and collaboration, they also provide features that help streamline self-service options.
- Interactive voice response (IVR). UCaaS solutions such as Broadvoice b-hive deliver advanced virtual call center features like IVR to provide customers with quick answers and call routing options as an alternative to waiting on hold.
- Interactive text responses and automated notifications. SMS solutions like Bubble by Broadvoice put the customer in the driver’s seat, with certain words and prompts triggering scripted responses. Bubble also enables automated text notifications for delivery updates, recalls, and promotions. In a world where we crave instant access to information about our accounts, orders, deliveries, etc., text notifications provide customers with this information instantly.
Human Connections Help Manufacturers Build Customer Relationships
Sometimes you need help from a person. The Salesforce study found that 71 percent of customer service teams in the manufacturing industry have begun focusing on deepening relationships with customers, with 63 percent of respondents focusing on personalization to help meet that goal.
Here are a few features of UCaaS and CCaaS systems that help provide a more direct, personalized customer experience:
- Advanced call routing. Many customers agree that reaching the person they need is half the battle. The Broadvoice b-hive virtual call center addresses this issue by providing advanced call routing features to sort calls by queue, day, time, and agent availability.
- CRM integration. b-hive can also integrate with Salesforce, enabling representatives to deepen customer relationships through advanced calling features. Inbound record matching delivers screen pops with customer records and conversation histories to enrich each interaction and speed up the time to resolution.
- Analytics. b-hive’s call center analytics are easy to view, digest, and manage thanks to an intuitive, browser-based app. The ability to track key performance indicators (KPIs) for hold times, call resolution times, etc., allows you to adjust staffing schedules and assignments, streamlining customer service and improving overall customer satisfaction.
- Two-way texting. With interactive two-way texting, agents can respond to customers in real-time, providing faster resolutions, live communications, and a more personalized approach.
- Omnichannel communications. Manufacturers are embracing omnichannel experiences to interact with customers on their preferred channels. CCaaS solutions like GoContact integrate all customer communications channels — voice, email, chat, and social media — into a single interface for optimal relationship management.
- Inbound campaign queues. GoContact also allows you to build inbound campaign queues in minutes with an easy drag-and-drop interface, ensuring inbound inquiries are routed directly to an agent who can help with their specific question.
Whether self-served or agent-assisted, the customer experience relies on the technology that enables it. UCaaS and CCaaS solutions support automated, expedited, and meaningful interactions that are vital for enhancing customer experiences in the manufacturing industry.
Contact us to learn how your manufacturing firm can create more meaningful customer interactions with communication and collaboration tools from Broadvoice.