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CRM in Manufacturing: Improving Performance, Service, and the Customer Journey

By March 22, 2016July 25th, 2022No Comments

Improving Performance, Service, and the Customer JourneyAcross a variety of industry verticals, CRM is heralded for its ability to streamline communication, improve employee collaboration, and help companies gain deeper insight into their core customer base. It comes as no surprise then, that as the manufacturing industry seeks to improve its service offerings, executives are looking to technology, specifically CRM software, to help provide the level of support their customers need.

Meeting the Need: Field Service Technology and the Customer

In the recent “2016 Connected Manufacturing Service Report” consisting of an online survey conducted by Harris Poll of more than 200 executives, Salesforce found that an overwhelming 90 percent believe that improving field service performance is a top priority for their business, and 92 percent agree that organizations need to adapt their service models to meet customer needs. To achieve this goal, 87 percent believe that it’s important for their companies to invest in field service technology, equipping their employees with the up-to-the-minute insights they need to provide more accurate customer service.

The impetus for this investment: reducing on-site complications, which can be frustrating for both the service agent and the customer. Of the executives surveyed, more than 70 percent report that their agents need to make return visits to customer sites “at least sometimes” and 12 percent return “all the time.” Top reasons for return include not having the right part or tool (listed by 40 percent), on-site transaction issues (35 percent) and a lack of customer information while on-site (35 percent). To combat this issue, 78 percent of executives say their field service agents utilize mobile devices to manage service activities on-site, though 65 percent state that their agents still print out their service tickets and go over them in their vehicles before meeting a customer.

To this end, imagine the power and possibility of CRM capability—when equipped with mobile devices that connect back to their on-premise database, agents can now see all project and customer updates with the click of a button, from anywhere at any time, reducing the need for cumbersome (and often dated) print-outs that might not reflect all recent changes. According to the survey, 41 percent of executives have a proven data capture/Internet of Things (IoT) strategy that enables them to collect and manage customer, client, and prospect information, and of this number, the majority (64 percent) rely on their on-premise CRM system to help them collect and organize such data.

Across the Board: Improving Employee Performance and Efficiency

Field service agents aren’t the only ones dealing with the pain points of outdated technology and a lack of data organization. Across the enterprise, methods for capturing customer information, tracking purchase histories, and fielding service requests leave room for improvement, with a staggering 61 percent of executives citing that they use spreadsheets to collect and manage this information, and 37 still using a paper-based system. Yet, executives understand that to successfully move forward, their employees must be equipped with innovative and automated solutions, and 60 percent are tracking their interactions with an on-premise CRM system. Additionally, the majority of survey respondents (52 percent) say it is “very important” for their drivers or agents to incorporate new technologies into their customer interactions, and for good reason—74 percent of executives strongly or somewhat agree that within the next 10 years, products will become “loss leaders” whereas their company’s revenue will be primarily driven by services (such as data and maintenance).

Investing in CRM now can help ensure that when that time comes, service offerings will be at their best, customers at their happiest, and companies at their strongest.


“2016 Connected Manufacturing Service Report: Insights into Manufacturing Service,” Salesforce 2016.