Manufacturers Build Better Customer Experiences on the Foundations of a Digital Companion Platform
Product Experience By Justin Halfpenny
Cloud & Mobile Applications for end-user Product Support & Education
A Digital Companion App is now a crucial tool for enabling productivity and maximising customer satisfaction for today’s manufacturers.
But a tool like that is not possible without a platform or system of record to support it. Here we explain what a digital companion platform is, why they’re necessary, and how they benefit manufacturers’ customers, operators, and technicians.
We recently explored the benefits of developing companion apps, to allow operators and technicians of complex machinery or equipment to self-serve in the workplace, whenever they need information or support with those products.
Thanks to the cutting-edge consumer experiences available with personal smartphones and mobile apps today, this kind of technology is what people now expect to use to get their work done, regardless of what industry they’re in.
A digital touchpoint which they can carry in their pocket, and use to access virtually limitless information about a product, as well as interact with customer services if needed, is invaluable for productivity – whether it’s an instruction manual, a user guide, a FAQ list, or instructions on how to troubleshoot or manually fix their machinery.
In this day and age, every business, every worker, and every customer demands that immersive kind of digital front-end technology, but what many fail to realise is that simply isn’t possible without the back-end to power it. Essentially, a digital companion app needs a robust and secure platform on which all the necessary data can stored.
We’ve seen innovators in this space, such as Hilti, are finding success by building these digital product companions in-house, from scratch. This is a tremendous achievement, and a sure-fire way to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and drive new revenue streams, due to the fantastic experience they’re providing their end users.
But what that involves is far more than just developing a dedicated companion app to roll out. In order to properly serve the operators and technicians with the vast amount of information they need to do their jobs, those companion apps must be connected to a platform from which all the necessary data and product information can be accessed at the tap of a button. This is what we refer to as a digital companion platform for manufacturers.
These platforms essentially serve a system of record for all that product support and self-service information. The purpose of this is to provide a structured and secure way to store large amounts of data, and allow end users to access that data in whichever ways they need to get their jobs done as required.
These platforms are a simple and focused way for manufacturers to carry out the large-scale organisation, categorisation, formatting, and distribution of all the product information and knowledge their end users will need, and present it to them in an intuitive digital context such as a companion app.
Going one step further, if this is delivered with an SaaS (software-as-a-service) model, it will require no internal maintenance, will be bolstered by new features and updates automatically, and allow manufacturers to stay on the cutting edge without any additional investment.
This means the ability for end users who are operating machinery and equipment will experience an effortless ability to self-serve at the point of use of the products, resulting in a far more valuable relationship with the manufacturer.
When all these benefits add up, manufacturers who have invested in a product companion platform to distribute mobile apps alongside their products will inevitably begin to experience better relationships with existing customers, higher levels of satisfaction and repeat business, new opportunities for increased revenue, and a point of differentiation from their competitors.
If we’re being honest, previously this hasn’t been easy to achieve. Typically, anything worth having isn’t. But the evolution of technology, particularly SaaS platforms, in recent years is now allowing the seamless digitalisation of key product information & knowledge for manufacturers.
And now, more and more businesses have begun to recognise the value of doing so, because they’re seeing the value, ROI, and customer satisfaction the fast-moving industry leaders are experiencing.