When it comes to digital transformation, focus on customers, not cost-cutting.

Andrew Rieser
By Andrew Rieser | President and Co-Founder, Mountain Point
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11-minute video

Many manufacturers perk up at the idea of saving money by going digital. And it’s true… successful digital transformation efforts can help you streamline and automate processes, gain increased insight into your operations, and speed up delivery times — all of which are effective cost-saving strategies.

 

But if cost-cutting is your primary goal, you’re doing it wrong. As recent studies have shown, the most successful digital transformation initiatives are centered on improving customer experience.

In this short video, we talk through strategies for putting the customer at the center of your digital strategy. And we outline four key factors affecting customers’ expectations and experiences.


This episode is part of our 12-part mini-series during which we’ll talk through each of our 10 Best Practices for Digital Transformation.

This episode is part of our 12-part mini-series during which we’ll talk through each of our 10 Best Practices for Digital Transformation.

Have a question you’d like answered?

Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll talk through it on a future episode!


 

What's the ROI? Just six months after implementing their digital transformation efforts, luxury textile manufacturer Matouk saw a 233% return on their investments. 

Read the Matouk ROI report

 


Transcript: When it comes to digital transformation, focus on customers, not cost-cutting.

Jessica: Hi, and thanks for joining us for another Q&A Friday, our regular series where we chat about issues facing manufacturing companies and the new world of Industry 4.0. I'm Jessica Vodden, a team member here at Mountain Point, and I'm joined by Andrew Rieser, our president and co-founder. Hello Andrew!

Andrew: Hey, good morning Jessica, how are you?

Jessica: Doing great. So today we're gonna continue our conversation that we started a couple of weeks ago. We have been breaking down, step by step, our 10 step guide to managing a digital transformation project. So for those of you listening, if you've not heard the previous episodes, I'd definitely recommend them, but essentially we're taking a look at all of the key factors to consider if you're undertaking a major modernization effort, and discussing them one by one. And today we're gonna talk about the importance of really focusing on your customer's needs and what we call walking a mile in your customer's shoes. So, Andrew, I think a lot of folks initially are drawn to the idea of digital transformation for the sake of efficiency or streamlining, doing more with less, cutting cost, but the companies that are most successful are really focusing these efforts on better serving their customers and adding value there, so tell me a little bit about why that's important, and how you go about it.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. I think the easiest way to describe it, that we talk about quite often, is just the customer's expectations are changing and being in the consumer world and where everything is going to automation, and on demand, as a great example, I've been a loyal customer of Amazon for probably at least the past 10 to 12 plus years, and I literally have never had to pick up the phone and call Amazon for anything. That may sound weird, because a lot of people like to have that personal touch and to be able to speak with someone on the other end of the phone, but for a lot of these newer generations, and expectation of where digital is going, people are looking at the consumer world and seeing how that is evolving and that's quickly translating over into the business world and those expectations need to be met there as well.

Jessica: Yeah, so I know in the past when we talked about this idea shifting customer expectations, and what we're seeing as a result of this sort of Amazon effect on customer culture or actually, society really, we talk about sort of four ideas. And we break those down into the need for immediacy, the need for customization, the need for anticipation, meeting customers' needs before they even know they have them and then just being consistent across the board, so can you kind of break those down for me?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. I think those are great kind of descriptors of what we're seeing, so immediacy, the easiest way I can describe it, is everybody is impatient nowadays, they want self-gratification, kind of self service of getting the answer or the product, or the information that they need, and as near real time as possible, so the goal in kind of all of these initiatives is to make sure that, and some customers, that still kind of field calls, they use the term first call response, so being able to provide an answer back or resolve the customer's problem on that first phone conversation so that it's not a daisy chain of having to pass it from department to department or to call them back or to have to go through this laborious process to get the information that the customer is calling and inquiring about. So, that's where immediacy comes into play, is having all that information at your fingertips and if the consumer can't self service to get that information then at the very least that if a phone call is warranted that that information is available from that side of the house to be able to answer that question to resolve that problem.

Jessica: Yeah, and I know we talk a lot about the power of the manufacturing cloud, and some of the tools that we use, Salesforce communities being one of them, for being able to provide that level of self service, that there's self service portals, so that customers like you said, you've never called Amazon, right, so you know how to find the answers on your own and that's valuable to you and that's valuable to the company, so adopting that sort of model is really useful. Tell me a little bit about the need to make customers' experience customized.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly, so again, in this new world that we're living in with automation that is everywhere, you also want to have personalized aspect of that engagement, right? So, you don't want cold emails coming to you that feel like they were generated from a robot and you don't wanna call and have to go through 40 different questions from an automated phone system, ultimately to then have to repeat all those answers again to the first person that picks up the phone, so again it's really finding that balance between immediacy and personalization, so that you don't feel like you're just one of many, you feel like you have that kind of personal tie or relationship with the company that you're doing business with.

Jessica:  Absolutely. And along those lines, I know one of the key things that we point out is with the data that everybody is collecting today, the need to be predictive or to anticipate customers' needs, it's not only there but it's possible, so how do companies start to address that trend?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. So just as digital transformation has been a huge buzzword for the past decade, artificial intelligence and kind of creating these systems of intelligence to do that is coming to the forefront and going to be the hot topic for the years to come and so the systems are really analyzing the data and interactions and formulating these anticipatory needs of what a consumer may need or want and proactively queuing that up and engaging with them before they even know that they need it, so I think the manufacturing space is a fantastic kind of proving ground for how all this stuff will shape out when you think about heavy machinery or equipment that is out in the field that if a certain piece of equipment goes down and a whole kind of operation is then shut down, that's a lot of money that is being lost and wasted until that piece of machinery gets serviced or fixed, so this whole concept of the internet of things and then the industrial internet of things I think is a great starting point for a lot of these manufacturers to really start looking into to provide those capabilities of measuring and analyzing that data that's being generated off of these widgets for machines and applications out in the field and allowing these companies to proactively go out and service or replace parts before they, the customer even knows that those parts need to be replaced, so that it's continuous up time and continuous value back to the customer.

Jessica:  Yup, yeah, and even just analyzing past buying trends, like knowing for example that a customer typically need more of x materials in the spring or in the fall or every six months is really useful and kinda takes the onus of reminding them to order off of them, and if you can just either remind them or even automatically ship it to them, the way that Amazon does with like, for example, the food I feed my dog that's a huge benefit to the customer and it also increases sales.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely, I think on both sides of the house, a lot of the companies that we work with, forecasting is one of the number one asks of how they can be doing better, how they can be extracting and extrapolating the information out of, not only the historical but the anticipated future, kind of demand from their customer base and then analyzing that data and being able to really truly provide better forecasting and better engagement of those types of services that you're describing.

Jessica:  Yup. And then finally I think one of the things that we often talk about customers expecting is consistency, right? And in the B2B world that's a little bit harder than in the B2C world because so often you have contracts that are specific to particular customers and you know those terms may vary, you may have structured pricing tiers based on order volume or the longevity of the contract, the way that you communicate may be different or you may be creating products that are unique absolutely to that one customer and nobody else, so how do you wrangle all of that information to provide a consistent presence and provide up to date information for each particular customer that you're serving?

Andrew: Yeah, I think the answer to this kind of comes back to the other topics that we have been exploring where there's the personalization aspect of it and so it's really understanding the customer's journey and those interaction points and making sure that your messaging and your process is consistent, so when you think about all aspects of the digital transformation as a whole that we like to talk about with people, process, technology, data, I think that in order to be consistent you gotta have all four of those things kind of running in harmony and working in tandem with one another to empower that consistency and that engagement back to the customer.

Jessica:  Yup, I also think that's one of the major benefits of operating on a cloud system, right, 'cause you can have the same information across branches if you want to, everybody can have that information at their fingertips instead of having to retrieve a file in a filing cabinet in a backroom somewhere so that you know when you're on the phone with a customer or in the field with a customer you can pull up on your mobile device or on your computer screen the information that you provided them in the past and have it ready to go, so I definitely think that's one of the major benefits of the cloud and one reason to really consider particularly like a cloud ERP system.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely, and I think this is what has made Salesforce the fastest growing software as a service company and platform. They really understand that concept, understand the 360 degree view of the customer and what it means to kind of aggregate that data and have it easily accessible by the people that are being asked to perform these tasks, so we definitely see that a lot definitely think that having a cloud-based platform to aggregate all this and be your system of record or engagement rather is the right way to go.

Jessica: Awesome. Well, Andrew, thank you so much. For those of you out there listening, we're gonna continue breaking down these steps over the coming weeks, if you have a question that you would like answered or a follow up question please feel free to let us know. You can hit us up on social media, you can e-mail us, you can call us, we're always eager to hear from you, and Andrew, thanks again!

Andrew: Thanks, Jess!


 

What's the ROI? Just six months after implementing their digital transformation efforts, luxury textile manufacturer Matouk saw a 233% return on their investments. 

Read the Matouk ROI report

 


Topics: Digital Transformation, Manufacturing Cloud

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