Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies like Uber, Amazon, and Netflix have changed the way that consumers think about customer service. Other companies have taken the hint and prioritized customer service and convenience, from tech companies like Apple and Dell, luxury brands like Ritz-Carlton and Mercedes-Benz, customer relationship savants like American Express and GoPro, and everyone in between. This shift in B2C relationships has also impacted business-to-business (B2B) relationships, causing customers to expect more from their manufacturing suppliers.
Extra gifts, free services and other perks that come with membership or purchase have trained customers to expect more for their money form B2C companies. Customers have realized the value of their buying power and this has spread to B2B buying as well. Whether customers are buying raw materials, machinery, finished products or parts, they expect more for their money. This may include included maintenance on machinery, discounts on future orders, or extra functionality on equipment. Fail to deliver on these unspoken expectations and manufacturing customers might stay for a while, but they’ll have little incentive for loyalty. Deliver on these expectations and you’ll find yourself with loyal customers for years to come.
On-demand services like Netflix and Amazon have broken the waiting game, and customers nowadays have little patience for long delays. With so many demands on their time and so many services competing for their attention, it’s easy to see why. This expectation of speed and efficiency touches small manufacturers as well from follow-up emails and callbacks to turnarounds to delivery times. Make customers wait and you’ll probably find they won’t be there when you do get to them. Exceed expectations of speed and customers will recognize and recommend your outstanding efficiency.
Small manufacturers have championed this customer service strategy for years, and big businesses are notably lacking in this area. Supplier relationships with honesty, sincerity, and personalization show customers that they are important to the company they are doing business with. Knowing customers by name, knowing what they are looking for and what business they are in before they call shows individual attention and concern. Studies have shown customers will pay more for this extra service, and manufacturing customers are no different.
The apps, entertainment and services that continue to perform at the top of their class are those that are available everywhere; online, offline, on any smartphone, computer, or tablet. Making service calls available on demand, allowing for easy re-ordering, making it easy to find product specifications or serial numbers, connecting customers with replacement parts, and generally reducing barriers to sale will make buying faster and easier for manufacturing customers.
Business relationships have followed the customer relationship shift to focus on speed, convenience, individual attention, and meticulous customer service. While many large suppliers have struggled to keep up, small manufacturers have picked up the slack. Choosing the right manufacturer is essential to receiving the customer service you deserve. R&M is dedicated to the highest level of service and is equipped to handle a wide range of projects from prototyping to large production runs. To learn more about R&M capabilities, contact us today.