The cost of acquiring new customers is considerably higher than retaining existing ones – six or seven times more, to put a number on it.
But, in a B2B manufacturing landscape that is shifting, evolving, and bringing more brands on board every single day, it’s harder than ever to hold onto loyal customers.
The manufacturing sector is changing at breakneck speed, with customer demands increasing by the day. This means it’s absolutely vital for B2B manufacturers to rethink their strategies so that customer satisfaction is at the forefront.
Creating and maintaining strong customer relationships is pivotal for brands that want to survive in this innovative yet turbulent time.
Here’s how you can get ahead.
1. Focus On Individual Customer Needs
No two customers are the same and they all have different needs.
This means a blanket approach to establishing communication with customers and creating ongoing dialogue doesn’t cut it anymore.
Instead, brands are having to dig into data about each particular customer (or, if that’s impossible, into each customer segment) and use that to fuel personalized content that tackles the specific problems those particular customers face.
Vertiv, a brand that provides hardware, software, and analytics to manufacturers around the world realized that their customers in different countries had different needs.
As a result, they created a network of different sites in different languages and personalized content across different regions. This meant that local marketing teams could create unique workflows that resulted in localized experiences for every customer.
2. Engage Customers Throughout the Sales Process
Once customers know they can get their specific needs met, it’s important to nurture that relationship to keep it going. The simplest way to do this is to ensure you are engaging with customers at every step of the sales and use cycle.
This might mean providing demos from the outset, blog posts created for different use cases, and social media messaging to keep the conversations with customers alive. You can also create content that accompanies the sales cycle, like a webpage to track delivery or project completion status.
For example, Tharsus, a company that delivers robot technology to customers like Ocado, works closely with its customers right from the first discovery conversations and technical exploration to the design, engineering, and aftercare follow-up.
3. Constantly Improve Customer Service
If you don’t have a robust customer service system in place, you’re going to struggle to build truly lasting relationships with your customers.
In this day and age, B2B buyers are on the hunt for brands that can answer their in-the-moment questions, troubleshoot situations at lightning speed, and provide them information with the click of a button.
This means your customer service and support needs to be quick and efficient. It’s no longer enough to have an email and “ticket” system that takes days to generate a response. Instead, it’s all about implementing technologies that give customers what they want, when they want it.
Customer service chatbots are one of the easiest ways to do this.
You can program a chatbot to answer common questions customers have and use it to guide them towards the answers they’re looking for. Whatever solution you decide to implement, make sure it does these three things:
- Provides quick answers, whether that’s through email, phone or via digital technology.
- Responds directly to the needs of the customer – this means providing customers with truthful information rather than focusing solely on your products.
- Keeps its word – don’t promise things you can’t deliver. It might be tempting in the moment to promise the world, but if you can’t follow through, you’re going to disappoint your customers.
Stronger Customer Relationships Benefit All Parts of Your Business
Strong customer relationships are at the core of every successful B2B manufacturing business.
Without loyal customers that keep coming back for more, you’re going to end up spending more on customer acquisition and exhausting your resources trying to attract new buyers.
Customer relationships not only reduce acquisition costs – they can benefit almost every part of your business.
They can guide your strategy and help you improve your sales funnel, they can boost your visibility through word-of-mouth recommendations, and ultimately help you produce better products that are more aligned with customer needs.
If you haven’t already started thinking about how you can improve customer relationships, now’s the time to start.
Begin by providing the right information at the right time, and ensuring you’re meeting each individual customer’s needs rather than using a blanket approach. Then create a smooth workflow that keeps conversations open with your customers throughout the sales and use process.
Finally, you should constantly strive to improve your customer service by making sure you can answer in-the-moment questions and provide relevant information at lightning speed.
Do this, and you’ll start to strengthen your customer relationships and create a customer base of loyal buyers that not only recommend you to their peers, but also keep coming back for more.