4 ways metals leaders can improve the customer experience

Tony Barnes, Rivers Cornelson
| 6/22/2023
4 ways metals leaders can improve the customer experience

Buyer behavior has changed.

While metals customers might have exhibited greater loyalty to their suppliers in the past, in recent years they have experienced a loss of control because of material shortages, transportation delays, and worker deficiencies. Now customers demand a better experience across the board.

Customers don’t just prefer transparent visibility into their order status. They expect it, which means communication is critical at every stage of the product journey, from order confirmation, to shipping details, to delivery status.

Metals customers are looking for greater flexibility when it comes to purchasing, and many want a partial or full self-service buying journey. Millennials in particular are effecting change as they value personal time and have zero tolerance for inconvenience.

If metals leaders want to remain competitive, they must think critically about how to improve their customer experience. The good news is that once metals companies identify customer preferences, they can better meet buyer expectations.

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4 steps to an improved customer experience in metals

1. Gather and apply user feedback

Creating an elevated customer experience starts with knowing what customers are looking for and understanding which systems and processes are working well and which are causing frustration. Metals leaders can use this information to make effective decisions about what to change and where to put their investment dollars.

One way to gain valuable insights from customers is by implementing a feedback loop, such as sending surveys and following up with customers to gather information about their experience. With the right technology, these processes can be automated to generate faster results. Then, organizations can analyze the responses to determine next steps and align teams to implement incremental changes. Working toward a defined key performance indicator – like an improved Net Promoter Score, for example – can help organizations track their progress as the customer experience improves.

2. Offer a customer portal

Customers across industries want specific details about their order status. For example, it’s no longer satisfactory to order a pizza and trust that it will arrive on time. Customers now want to know when the pizza enters the oven and view real-time delivery tracking. This level of visibility is becoming expected of metals companies as well.

A customer portal connected to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution gives customers the option to sign in and view material certifications, production status, and timeline updates. Metals workers can use this system to log information, and customers can view real-time updates about their orders, reducing time spent tracking down information and emailing back and forth.

3. Create a culture of support

It’s important to recognize that improving the customer experience isn’t only about the customer; the employee experience must also change to support this shift. Metals leaders can’t simply implement a new technology or process and expect workers to adopt a new structure into their workday without a high level of support.

Research shows that projects are six times more likely to meet objectives and five times more likely to stay on schedule when organizations implement effective change management. In addition, change management is most effective when the cultural context is considered and applied to the approach. When workers are immersed in a culture that’s designed to create an excellent customer experience, they better understand the importance of the change and are more likely to buy into and be part of the shift.

4. Increase customer collaboration

Metals customers are constantly innovating and thinking ahead to what’s next, from creating new products to updating existing ones. If companies are stuck in a reactive process in which they spend time tracking down order information, they miss the opportunity to anticipate what the customer might need in the future.

When the right technology and processes are in place, companies can collaborate with customers to improve the customer experience by meeting them where they are in the innovation process, finding new solutions to problems, and creating long-term loyalty. Together, metals companies and customers can drive the industry forward.

Start improving your customer experience today

There is no better time to start taking steps to create a better customer experience. At Crowe, we understand how challenging it can be to navigate which changes to make and how to implement them in an effective way. Our team of specialists brings decades of experience in the metals industry as well as deep knowledge of technology implementation. It’s why we created the Crowe Metals Accelerator for Microsoft Dynamics 365™, an ERP solution tailored to meet the unique demands of the metals industry.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you set the standard for the metals customer experience.

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Contact us

Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes
Principal, Microsoft Cloud Solutions Leader
Rivers Cornelson
Rivers Cornelson