For companies in the manufacturing sector, product alone is no longer a sufficient differentiator. While current B2B preferences are shifting toward a more B2C-like experience, it’s becoming obvious that many manufacturers need to make up a lot of ground with regard to digital customer experience (CX).
In manufacturing today, exceptional CX includes offering top-notch aftersales experiences such as remote monitoring and diagnostics, predictive analytics, streamlined AI, VR and AR-assisted troubleshooting, training and assistance as well as comprehensive self-service functionalities, for example for repair and warranty services.
In particular, the potential of efficient self-service offerings in aftersales is often overlooked. This oversight is unfortunate because since self-service in aftersales empowers customers to handle their own issues without the need for human interaction, it can provide convenience and saves time and cost for the company.
Enabling autonomous maintenance for their products is one such example where manufacturers can offer customers online tools to diagnose and troubleshoot issues with their products. In manufacturing, autonomous maintenance refers to the process of empowering operators, technicians, or customers to take ownership of the equipment they use on a daily basis by performing basic maintenance tasks independently, without the need for specialized skills or support from maintenance personnel. This can include tasks such as cleaning, inspecting, and replacing worn or damaged parts. This way, autonomous maintenance can help to identify potential issues early on and take action to prevent them from becoming major problems, thereby improving the availability and reliability of your customers’ equipment and can also help to reduce their maintenance costs.
How Customer Portals Enable Autonomous Maintenance
The use of a customer portal can greatly improve your autonomous maintenance offerings – while at the same time reducing costs.
By providing customers with comprehensive knowledge bases, rich content and media, self-service access to information, and advanced customer service features, customers can quickly and easily solve problems and perform maintenance on their own, reducing the need for human interaction and support.
Create Comprehensive Knowledge Bases
A comprehensive knowledge base is a collection of information that is organized and easily accessible to customers. This information can include product specifications, troubleshooting guides, and technical documentation. By providing customers with this information, they can quickly understand and utilize your products and services, as well as solve related problems on their own. This can save time and reduce the need for customer support, ultimately reducing costs for the manufacturing company.
To create a comprehensive knowledge base, it is important to organize the information in a logical and easy-to-use format. This can include categories such as product information, troubleshooting guides, and technical documentation. Additionally, it is important to include search functionality so that customers can easily find the information they need.
Another important aspect of a comprehensive knowledge base is to keep the information up-to-date and accurate. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing and updating the information as needed, as well as providing customers with the ability to provide feedback and suggestions.
Enhance Products with Rich Content and Media
In addition to a comprehensive knowledge base, manufacturing companies can also enhance their products with rich content and media. This can include providing customers with relevant content, such as blogs, manuals, and data sheets. This type of content can also be used to educate customers about new products and services, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.
Rich content and media can also be used to simplify maintenance operations. For example, providing customers with installation videos, product demonstrations, and user guides can help customers understand and perform maintenance on their products more easily. This can also reduce the need for customer support, ultimately reducing costs for the manufacturing company.
Enable Self-Service Access to Information
Self-service access to information is another key aspect of a customer portal. This can be accomplished through the use of discussion boards, forums, media galleries, and Wikis. These tools can be used to share information and collaborate with other customers. This can enable customers to independently solve problems, reducing the need for customer support.
Discussion boards, forums, and media galleries can be used to share information and collaborate with other customers. This can include sharing tips and tricks, troubleshooting guides, and user-generated content. Additionally, Wikis can be used to provide customers with a centralized location for information and documentation.
To enable self-service access to information, it is important to provide customers with the ability to customize their experience. This can include the ability to personalize their dashboard, access their product information, and collaborate with other customers. Additionally, it is important to provide customers with the ability to search and filter the information to easily find what they need.
Take Customer Service to a New Level
Finally, customer service can be taken to a new level through the use of advanced features such as AI- and ML-driven chatbots. These chatbots can be used to answer search queries, check the status of an order, find consumables, and suggest spare parts. By providing customers with instant access to this type of information, they can quickly and easily solve problems, reducing the need for human interaction.
The ROI of Autonomous Maintenance
The amount of money manufacturers can save by enabling their customers to do autonomous maintenance can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the company and the complexity of their products. However, there are several potential cost savings that manufacturers can realize by implementing a customer portal and enabling autonomous maintenance.
- Reduced customer support costs: If customers are able to perform maintenance on their own, they will be less likely to need assistance from customer support. This can result in a reduction in customer support staff and associated costs such as wages and benefits.
- Reduced downtime: By providing customers with the tools and information they need to perform maintenance on their own, manufacturers can help reduce downtime caused by maintenance issues. This can result in increased productivity and revenue.
- Increased customer satisfaction: By providing customers with the ability to perform autonomous maintenance, manufacturers can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.
- Reduced warranty costs: By providing customers with the information and tools they need to properly maintain their products, manufacturers can reduce the number of warranty claims and associated costs.
- Increased efficiency and scalability: By automating certain customer service tasks with AI and ML-driven chatbots, manufacturers can increase efficiency and scalability, which can lead to cost savings in the long run.
2 Minute Video Summary
Get a 2 minute summary of how customer portals built with Liferay help manufacturers to efficiently provide your customers with the necessary information, guidelines and onboarding content to execute maintenance tasks autonomously. Check out this video:
Reduce Your Claim Costs With Liferay Customer Portals
Want to learn more about how enabling your customers to execute autonomous maintenance can help you improve customer satisfaction and save money on customer support? Liferay’s customizable customer portals increase the equipment's availability and dependability and can also assist in lowering maintenance expenses for your clients.
To start enabling autonomous maintenance, visit our manufacturing customer portals page.