Forging Customer Relationships
in the Manufacturing Industry

Digitization Enables a New Era of Service

Incredible advances in access to information, coupled with the increased speed of technology adoption, have transformed the way manufacturers operate. Increasingly, these developments have made it difficult for manufacturers to compete on price and product alone. At the same time, we are in the midst of a customer revolution in which buyers have rising expectations for the businesses they interact with, driven by digital leaders like Amazon and Google. Manufacturers can harness the power of the shifting landscape and drive competitive differentiation by embracing digitization.

In a marketplace that won’t tolerate mediocre experiences, customer service is a key competitive differentiator. Additionally, it can drive new revenue through warranties and subscriptions.


The key is to focus on the customer.

Among Manufacturing Executives With Service Oversight:


Have an increasingly difficult time competing based on product differentiation1


Believe customer experience is a key competitive differentiator1


Utilize Data for
Personalized Service

Manufacturers collect more information on their customers annually than any other industry,2 but struggle to analyze and use it in ways that drive better business outcomes.

Each year, the manufacturing industry stores roughly 1,812 petabytes of new data.2 In comparison, 1,812 petabytes’ worth of songs would take more than 3.5 million years to fully play through.3

Thriving in the new era of digitization requires not only collecting customer data across all interactions, from sales to service, but also using them to create better experiences for customers and increased revenue opportunities.

Percentage of Manufacturing Service Teams That Have Increased Focus on the Following Over the Past 12–18 Months1

Creating deeper customer relationships


Providing a consistent experience across every channel


Personalizing customer service interactions


Understanding customers’ full history with the company


Putting this data to use has proven to pay off. Investing in improved customer experiences can:4

Lower costs to serve by up to


Increase offer win rate by


Lower customer churn by



Better Anticipate
Customer Service Needs

Maintenance is time- and labor-intensive for manufacturers, and malfunctioning machinery and product downtime can directly affect the bottom line. At the same time, problems with end products can lower customers’ confidence. Digitization allows manufacturers to identify and address potential problems before they damage customer experience. One of the most powerful ways to do this today is through collecting and analyzing data from devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Manufacturing Service Teams Leveraging the IoT1



of these service teams believe that tracking IoT data is extremely or very beneficial to increasing customer retention.

Not only does the IoT work as a more proactive, seamless tool to manage maintenance and customer service issues, it also opens new revenue streams for manufacturers to sell premium warranties, service agreements, or even subscriptions to real-time data and analytics.

The possibilities are endless, and manufacturers who embrace digitization quickly can capitalize on these new revenue streams.

Business Drivers for IoT Adoption2


Improving operational efficiency


Improving productivity


Creating new business opportunities


Reducing downtime


Maximizing asset utilization


Integrate Feedback
Throughout the Process

Digitization’s continuous flow of data provides manufacturers with insights to build a cohesive, contextualized picture of customer touchpoints and interactions. When used to its full potential, data from sensors and other IoT devices can provide a valuable 360-degree view of customer behavior that informs product creation, sales, and service.


of industrial and manufacturing companies expect data analytics use will substantially improve customer relationships and customer intelligence along the product lifecycle.5

Digitization’s continuous flow of information provides manufacturers with the data they need to build a better picture of each touchpoint in a customer’s journey.


of service teams use IoT data to identify product usage trends. An additional 15% plan to do so within the next 12–18 months.1

Digitization has created massive opportunities for growth in the manufacturing industry. Whether through increased customer loyalty, service-driven revenue growth, or both, manufacturers have a tremendous opportunity to stand out from competition, grow their businesses, and thrive in this new era.


Learn how Salesforce can help your manufacturing company usher in a new era of customer service.


1. “Revolutionizing Customer Service in Manufacturing,” 2017, Salesforce Research

2. “Engineering the 21st Century Digital Factory,” 2017, Morgan Stanley

3. “What does a petabyte look like?” 2013, Computer Weekly

4. “Finding the Right Digital Balance in B2B Customer Experience,” 2017, McKinsey&Company

5. “Industry 4.0: Building the Digital Enterprise,” 2016, PwC