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Digital customer centricity in the Construction and Manufacturing sector .
Most businesses would aim or claim to be customer-centric.
In the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, very few would be able to prove it. Defining who ‘the customer’ is can be the first and fundamental challenge. The next is to understand a deep, granular level of individual customer needs and how to provide those solutions.
The ‘customer value chain’ in Construction and Manufacturing is complex; there are many stakeholders in the operational and project process; these stakeholders are considered customers despite not directly purchasing products or services but strongly influencing the final customer. We’ll call them the ‘end user’; they could be residents, office workers working in the constructed building, or product users.
Let’s take a look at an example. A construction project would be designed specifically for the ‘end user’ but involve various stakeholders in the sales funnel at multiple stages. For example, a ‘client’ provides the funding, the ‘architect/specifier/designer’ creates the vision and practicalities, the ‘contractor’ manages labour and budget, the ’subcontractor ’or ‘installer’ leads on quality and timing, whilst a ‘distributor’ or ‘retailer’ provides the materials and takes the risk of the stock. This funnel or process all happens before the ‘end user’. Each stakeholder is a customer itself and has its own set of customers. As you can see, the customer value chain is complex, but everyone in the chain wins when it works. Translating such traditional relationships into digital relationships is an emerging theme, and whilst the ‘how’ remains up for debate, the opportunity for competitive advantage in this space is considerable.
Digital customer-centricity involves a paradigm shift from a traditional product/service-centric strategy to focusing purely on the specific customer in the chain. Only when the digital customer is understood can the experience then be created to convert.
For example, understanding where the architect typically hangs out online, which devices a subcontractor most often uses to access data on, or how a distributor manages inventory across a network of stores, can we then provide the digital solutions to reach, support and optimise.
User profiling and documented digital customer journey mapping lay the foundations. A structured customer base and identifying each segment’s digital needs, with relevant and compelling content, will drive the experience. Enabling the content to find the user will remove every conceivable barrier to eliminate user content hunting.
Understanding the most effective approaches to digitally reach customer segments to provide the content and experience will take some experimentation. Different socials, email outreach, progressive SEO and content strategies will work for some and not for others.
However, waiting and hoping isn’t a digital strategy. Data will ultimately paint the picture of the differing levels of success each approach delivers. Failures will provide valuable insight for subsequent achievements, which will continuously improve the strategy. Tracking and delivering against the right set of KPIs will keep the business honest and teams accountable to pursue digital customer-centricity.
For example, monitoring NPS and CSat scores by user type alongside your own lead generation and conversion metrics will offer a balance of input and output metrics, ensuring ‘the customer’ is always getting what they need to fuel both their business and your’s.
So, to create digital experiences that convert;
- Understand ‘the customer’
- Personalise the content
- Personalise the approach (and experiment) 4. Set/track the right KPIs (and act on data)
Brands executing and optimising personalisation in the construction and manufacturing industry will rise to the top very quickly.