While this is a chaotic and unprecedented situation for everyone, no one knows this more than manufacturers. Everyone from small shops to multinational conglomerates will need to re-evaluate their customer experiences and digital technologies. Manufacturers are being forced to be creative with workarounds to make their business run in the face of major supply chain disruptions, so we’re providing seven ways for manufacturers to stay relevant and make the most of this uncertain time.
Here are the first two:
1. Launch an FAQ Microsite
With all the “breaking news” and uncertainty, it’s important to have your website be a beacon of pertinent information. There are a number of unfamiliar terms dominating discussions right now - shelter in place, lockdown, social distancing, etc - and a lot of confusion surrounding what they mean for individuals, as well as businesses. Customers and prospects are going to want to know if you are operational, and further, questions regarding any product or fulfillment insights will be repeatedly asked.
A simple, but specific FAQ page is essential to keeping your customers well-informed and your customer service team sane. Frequent communication with internal and external stakeholders is even more critical during this time and an FAQ microsite is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s likely something that’s even come up as something you should have had before now, perhaps in the “we’ll get to it later” category - but now, it’s absolutely essential. Launching one will help manage real-time communication for timely access to your brand and business and is a great first step in your communications plan.
2. Ensure Your Products Are “Everywhere”
This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Although people are trying to maintain a general sense of optimism, the truth is that no one knows how long the traditional channels of sales reps and “brick & mortar” are going to be compromised. In order to keep revenue pacing on targets, publishing products in online channels and having a robust e-commerce presence is critical. This can be both for marketplace locations like Amazon or Alibaba, as well as your distributor sites.
Be ready to go where your customers are going. Ensure all of your priority products are on your website and syndicated to your re-sellers and distributors. We recommend building a “task force” for the situation to ensure all products are visible and accessible to all customers. During this time when sales and field reps have been all but sidelined in person, make sure your company has agile solutions to pivot with things like surge resourcing.
Stay connected with this site as we unveil the rest of our recommendations for keeping pace during this ongoing period of change.
Andrew Walker is the CEO of Shift7 Digital, a digital agency for manufacturers.