Customers don’t just want a product; they want a relationship with manufacturers
Once upon a time, making and selling a good product was enough. Today, it takes more than a good product to stand out in a crowd. Customers have access to more research, and options, and expect the convenience of B2C customer engagement models. A whopping 86% of B2B buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. 
Richer engagement fundamentally differentiates businesses
Imagine this scenario: A new version of your best-selling industrial robot has just launched. A customer learns about the product through the channel of their choice—whether that is a company portal, online knowledge base, or community forum. Once the customer contacts you, your sales team is empowered by machine learning to quickly identify, customize, and quote the right product and service recommendations.
Everything you learn about the customer during this initial engagement becomes part of their customer profile, letting the sales teams seamlessly share and collaborate with both supply chain and service personnel. Successful tactics and engagements become part of a cross-referenced set of data from sales, logistics, service, and product usage to improve the next sales cycle.
This collaboration also provides a seamless transition from sales to fulfillment. The ability for any employee to access order details and account history ensures the customer feels supported throughout the process of sale and delivery.
Once the robot is installed, the customer has a tricky challenge, so they call for help. Regardless of whether they call the wrong department, or a rep who isn’t assigned to them, your service representative has access to all relevant customer information, including purchases, service requests, and asset performance. This deep visibility also includes a list of suggested, contextual fixes generated by machine learning and based on previously resolved, similar cases. After relaying the suggested troubleshooting steps to their production team, the customer observes real-time updates on the robot’s working condition, productivity compared to other assets, and service history through a single interface.
Let’s say that although the suggested troubleshooting steps worked for most assets, the customer notices one of the robots is still at risk for downtime. You dispatch a technician to the customer with exactly the right parts and expertise to achieve a first-time fix. The customer is impressed at the speed and ease with which the issue was resolved, and experiences no disruption to uptime.
After a few months of receiving similar service requests from other customers, your engineering team analyzes patterns in usage and repair history, determining that updating the device’s design would decrease downtime and necessary service. This improvement in engineering is then passed to the customer in savings, as well as increased energy efficiency.
From sales to product design, you have the power as a manufacturer to engage with customers in a truly collaborative way. No matter what channel customers prefer to use and what level of service they need, be ready to win customers over through a relationship-focused model that positions your company as a responsive and proactive partner in their business.
Invest in customer engagement with Microsoft Dynamics 365
The future for manufacturers is all about understanding and managing both the product lifecycle and customer experience as part of a single end-to-end process. By connecting your factories to your customers, manufacturers can connect disparate and siloed functions into a single intelligent platform. The key is a system that allows you to build and adapt to individual customer profiles and empowers every possible point of contact across every channel. Microsoft Dynamics 365 combines ERP and CRM functionality with rich data visualizations and the ability to do just that. Dynamics 365 enables the consistent, personalized experiences that customers want.