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They love you, they love you not? Part 2

how to make customers love doing business with you

Part 2: How the right ERP system can build to customer satisfaction

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about how differentiating based on price or product innovation can be difficult to sustain for American businesses in the manufacturing industry, and how building great customer relationships can be a more reliable, long-term strategy. Part 2 will focus on how your ERP system can help achieve this goal.

This is where data comes into play. People drive your business, and relationships fuel success. Giving your workers contextual data allows them to focus on interacting with customers instead of tracking down the information needed to support them.

For example, if you're on the phone with a customer and looking at a purchasing history, you need to understand the context associated with those orders or risk a customer service faux pas. A good ERP platform will put information in the right context. Imagine a conversation without the right data:

  • A customer calls you to check on the status of a support ticket.
  • You get some details from the client and open their profile.
  • The customer runs through the problem and gives you the support tracking number.
  • You leave the profile sheet and try to track down the support ticket, possibly putting the client on hold.
  • Eventually, you're able to pass the information along, but you'll have to go back to the profile page if the client has other questions.

All told, you are dealing with a cumbersome process in which your ability to help a customer is limited by data availability. If you want your customers to fall in love, you must be responsive and flexible in your interactions with them.

Now let's look at an alternate conversation with the right data, where your ERP platform has put more detailed customer data into your hands:

  • A customer calls you to check on the status of a support ticket.
  • You open their profile and see a notification that a ticket is in process.
  • You look at the notification and it will tell you the status of the request.
  • You're still at the profile page if the customer asks for new information.

Of course, an ERP system makes the entire support call unnecessary. Self-service tools allow customers to check in on support tickets and order statuses and similar information without having to contact you. A good relationship is built around openness and transparency. A good ERP system uses contextual data to put that foundation in place.

Giving your workers contextual data allows them to focus on interacting with customers instead of tracking down the information needed to support them.

 

Workflows that your customers will love

Another way to get customers to fall in love is by giving them ways to engage with you in meaningful ways. Consider this hypothetical scenario showing how ERP systems can help transform process workflows, in this case, when ordering a custom product:

Imagine you have a longstanding client that decides they want one of your products, but in a different color than what you offer. Let's say purple. When you have an ERP system that supports your workflow, you can work from a customer portal to create a vendor, order the amount of purple paint necessary, and create a workflow that attaches to the production order to paint the item purple. This unconventional request will be handled in the ERP system by marking related invoices, product orders and similar documents as "critical." If your customer calls and asks for an update, you can simply open the critical work order to get the details requested.

The ability to easily track a custom order extends to the supply chain. If the vendor providing the purple paint runs into a problem and delays shipment, you'll get an alert and be able to pass along a revised product delivery projection to the client.

With this intuitive custom workflow, you're left with a simple process setup that will let you handle any custom orders in the future. With all of the data from customer relationship management, vendor management, invoicing, supply and production systems contextually delivered to your sales or customer service personnel, you'll be able to create an experience your clients love.

Becoming irresistible to customers

You need to get every interaction right if you want to gain a competitive edge through customer service. To do that, you need an ERP system that empowers workers to engage consumers in meaningful ways on a consistent basis.

Take a moment and think about your customers. Do they love you, or don't they? What needs to change about how you interact with them to make them love you? Information holds the key. If your workers have all the information they need, when they need it, you are able to provide a game-changing customer experience that truly separates you from your competition. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact an abas representative today. Also check out our latest e-Book: Unbounded Manufacturing for more on how to dominate your industry. 

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