In a move to ramp up pandemic recovery efforts, industrial manufacturers have signaled intentions to tear down silos and rearrange around total experience—a soaring trend that revolutionizes the way customers, partners, and employees interact.

As the competition among manufacturers heats up, a firm’s ability to deliver an extraordinary total experience is evolving into a dominant differentiator that sets it apart in the new digital economy.

Teodora Gaici

Author Teodora Gaici | Copperberg

Photo: Freepik

2021 is not just a competitive year for industrial firms; it also is a challenging one. At a time when the world is in the tight grip of a massive supply chain crisis, customer confidence has started to ebb away, too. Inevitably, the next few weeks “will be make or break” for many key industries, experts warn.

Industry players will probably continue to grapple with supply chain pressures and other COVID-19-related constraints as 2021 concludes, but the worst is over for some. Those who prioritized digital innovation and followed the trend of investing in total experience have made meaningful progress towards COVID-19 recovery—coming out stronger than the competition.

Considering the total company experience (including that of customers, partners, and employees) as one connected whole is a trend poised to persist at the forefront of recovery plans. Yet, the interest in total experience is not likely to wane after the pandemic eventually ends. This rapidly ascending trend will pick up even more steam in the years ahead, helping firms vying for differentiation to create interlinked experiences that keep employees engaged and motivated to deliver extraordinary service. Gains, too, will surge even further. A recent Gartner projection states that “organizations providing a total experience will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both customer and employee experience” when 2024 comes around.

Read on to learn how a well-thought-out total experience strategy creates opportunities for industrial firms to deliver exceptional service and differentiate in the most competitive of markets.

The Rise of Total Experience in Today’s Renewed Economy

Firms setting the stage for a head start in pandemic recovery have been actively strategizing around total experience—a transformative trend that inspires manufacturers to view the company experience as a unified whole. More widespread interest in total-experience-focused plans has come in the wake of Gartner’s predictions for the key strategic trends likely to impact the global manufacturing sector throughout the year. The total experience, which is placed second in this freshly released ranking of influential trends, is fast becoming a rallying cry for those taking steps to reignite growth and achieve post-COVID-19 differentiation. But what exactly is behind this newly ubiquitous trend? Here is a simple explanation:

“Customer and employee interactions have significantly and permanently changed, becoming more mobile, virtual, and distributed. [Firms] must apply a total experience strategy to drive differentiating digital transformation that creates superior interlinked experiences for customers and employees.” — Gartner, Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021

The ability to deliver one connected experience has never been more important. Treating each company experience as a siloed discipline will only cause firms to stumble in a renewed economy that prizes connectivity. As changes in external/internal interactions prove irreversible, manufacturers seeking to secure a competitive advantage will feel gradually more determined to reimage customer, partner, and employee engagement. The only way to efficiently do so is to bring everyone together in a shared experience that capitalizes on pandemic-driven disruptions through interlinked, seamless, and meaningful interactions.

The Promise of Delivering One Connected Experience

A total experience strategy prompts manufacturers to make intelligent digital technology investments that help to eliminate siloed interactions and create singular but all-encompassing experiences for everyone who will engage with their respective firms. Each experience-driven transformation involves investment in digital innovations that principally center on efficient communication. Not surprisingly, unified communications technology is rapidly becoming a preferred choice for manufacturers interested in their total company experience. Such advanced solutions orchestrate real-time interactions across all touchpoints, irrespective of geographical borders—mobilizing workers to deliver quick and thoughtful customer service.

Distinguished analysts expand more on the implications of total experience in a recent press release:

“Total experience is about how CIOs can use technology and interactions to enhance, empower, and embolden both customers and employees to improve their lifetime value. Using this approach, CIOs can identify the right platform that will connect customers, partners, and employees. For example, an employee acting as a brand expert or customer service agent to a consumer, answering questions.” — Gartner, Top Five Business Trends in Manufacturing for 2021

Most interactions are indefinitely moving online, but the lack of worker enablement around technology-led communication threatens to hold back progress. What stands out in total experience plans is the ability to fuel connection by bridging any disconnect that may directly impact customer, partner, and employee interactions. Investing in such a compelling strategy will help manufacturers develop a fully interlinked experience that promotes effective collaboration within and outside the firm—enabling and motivating employees to provide exceptional customer service and build winning partnerships.

There is an inextricable connection between industrial workers and their clients or partners. Perhaps most interestingly, customers have recently demonstrated a growing interest in corporate culture—revealing that worker treatment has strongly influenced their purchasing decisions in times of COVID-19. The importance of treating employees fairly and preparing them for an era of digital-first service and support will not escape the attention of an experience-driven firm. Manufacturers working to unify their firm experience will naturally place as much focus on employees as they do customers or trusted business partners.

Total Experience Is Here to Stay, But What Other Trends Will Disrupt Global Manufacturing?

More firms in industrial settings will shift to experience-driven mindsets in the years to come in efforts to nurture differentiation and remain ahead of their main rivals. Yet, change might be more profound; other strategic trends have already joined total experience in shaping the present and future of global manufacturing.

Read here to find out how the concept of “digital and product experience” came of age and learn why it is now vital to blend physical products and digital services into differentiated aftermarket offerings.

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