Globalisation and digitalisation are giving customers all the information and opportunities to compare and contrast they could want, which means it’s all about the “customer experience” these days.
“Customer Experience” (= CX) describes the sum total of a customer’s experiences with a company, both online and offline. Each individual touchpoint with the company therefore has an impact on the customer experience. In general terms, digitalisation manifests itself here in two ways. Firstly, users’ expectations in general have increased significantly as a result of B2C platforms, online shops and disruptive suppliers. “Companies such as Amazon, Zalando, Flixbus and others that focus completely on the customer experience and have built their business models around CX are transforming the landscape,” CX expert Cyrill Luchsinger explains, adding: “They’re putting entire industries under pressure. Customers are becoming accustomed to this good experience and now expect it from other suppliers, too.” Secondly, a wide range of digital touchpoints are also providing mechanical engineering companies with valuable data as part of the customer experience. This data is fed into relevant CRM systems (CRM = Customer Relationship Management) and makes it possible to target customers more precisely.
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Using personalisation and service to show appreciation
Although the customer experience should not be equated with personalisation, this aspect is particularly illuminating. One notable example is Netflix. This US streaming provider is able to offer its customers a user-friendly and personalised service. Consultancy firm Accenture has identified three key personalisation tactics that come into play among successful online shops and are also effective in other contexts. They are – referring to the customer’s name, knowing the customer’s past activities and using this information to make recommendations. Based on the content viewed, the Netflix algorithm can very accurately assess what the viewer’s preferences are and thus recommend similar programmes. This extends all the way to sending personalised emails when, for example, a new series comes out that fits the user’s individual profile.
Whatever the form or format, a successful customer experience always has a lot to do with appreciation and listening.
So what’s the situation with the customer experience in mechanical engineering? This area presents numerous opportunities to provide existing and prospective customers with targeted support, particularly prior to a purchasing decision. Free white papers or user reports offer an opportunity to find out about a topic at no cost. Users can also expressly ask to be added to an email distribution list that sends them further information in a personalised format about the subject they’re interested in. Webinars don’t just provide audiovisual information but also offer ample scope to respond to individual questions in a Q&A at the end of a session. Whatever the form or format, a successful customer experience always has a lot to do with appreciation and listening.
Further examples of the customer experience (CX) in mechanical engineering
The aim should be to interconnect as many processes in the value-added chain as possible. With an online tool such as the item Engineeringtool, value creation starts at an extremely early stage, i.e. when planning a design. The user-friendly drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to assemble components. They are aligned automatically and connections are only permitted if they are possible. CAD export and the creation of complete project documentation can also be completed in just a few clicks. This item corporate startup enables users to share their own designs created in the item Engineeringtool, use third-party designs and provide each other with advice and support. Last but not least, seamless transitions between the individual touchpoints are crucial to the customer experience in mechanical engineering. A key connection is therefore the direct access from the item Engineeringtool to the item Online Shop.
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Registered users can also use the Online Shop and Engineeringtool in parallel, dragging components from the shop and dropping them directly onto the work area in the Engineeringtool. Indeed, the free item user account connects together many other areas, meaning users can access an extensive range of offerings after a single registration process.
Digitalisation has made lifelong learning more important, which impacts the customer experience in mechanical engineering. If mechanical engineering companies value a good customer experience, it is well worthwhile using online materials to empower their customers and their customers’ employees. Ideally, these materials should cover not just actual products but also key issues affecting the industry, in line with a more comprehensive understanding of service. For example, the item Academy offers a portfolio that includes installation guides in video format and practical introductions to topics such as lean production and ESD.
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