Delivering Superior Customer Experience: 5 Ways 3D Printing Workflow Automation Software Can Help25 March 2021
Users of manufacturing services have evolved. Accustomed to the perks of digital, they are expecting more than on-time delivery and quality parts – they want 24/7 availability, simplified purchasing, up-to-date information and transparent pricing.
The changing consumer expectations have put customer experience at the forefront. And if 3D printing service providers want to stay on top in an intensely competitive arena, they need to deliver a consistent and forward-looking customer experience.
Below we’re taking a look at how expectations of manufacturing services users have changed and how automation can help 3D printing service providers take their customer experience to the next level.
The dawn of the new customer
With the advent of the digital era, customer behaviour and expectations have changed dramatically.
Today’s buyers of manufacturing services are empowered to make more informed decisions and those decisions are less and less reliant solely on the price and quality of products. Customers are expecting more than just on-time production and delivery; they want expanded availability, responsiveness and personalisation.
Faced with ever-rising standards for customer experience, 3D printing service bureaus often struggle to meet these expectations. This is particularly true for 3D printing businesses in which customer-facing processes, like quotation and customer communication, rely on manual work.
There is a way forward, though, that can make it possible for 3D printing businesses to provide a significantly better customer experience. They can take advantage of rapidly advancing workflow automation – software solutions designed to streamline 3D printing processes from requests to delivery – to transform the customer experience.
Below are the five key ways workflow automation can advance the experience of 3D printing service customers.
More on workflow automation: Why 3D Printing Service Bureaus Need Workflow Management Software to Grow Their Business
5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience with 3D printing automation software
1. Let customers order from you online
Customers have become very demanding. They want you to attend to their requirements now – and the longer you make them wait, the more likely they are to leave.
One way workflow software can speed up customer service is by providing an online quotation and ordering portal to allow customers to complete the ordering process by themselves.
The platform uses your pricing formulae and can include information about your supported file types, machines, materials and finishing options.
💡 Tip: When researching your options, also ask vendors if the platform can be customised to your brand (like logos, colours etc.). This will help you to ensure consistency across your website.
A web quotation platform allows customers to receive quotes in a matter of minutes through a simple three-step process.
It also helps customers to place orders at any time (even outside of your working hours) and complete the buying process intuitively.
2. Provide real-time order status updates
97% of customers expect the ability to monitor their orders throughout every step of the process. So sending updates when orders are received, sent for production, shipped, cancelled, etc., is an expected norm these days.
Real-time updates and order tracking are achievable with workflow automation software. It enables you to create any number of workflows to trigger order updates that your customers may need to know about. Plus, 3D printing workflow software allows you to customise your emails and add a personal touch to each message your customers receive.
Finally, automation software empowers 3D printing customers to access their order history through a personalised dashboard, which also simplifies re-ordering.
By providing order tracking that gives the up-to-date information your customers want, their expectations are met and they are more likely to give you a good review, buy from you again, or recommend your business.
3. Communicate effectively
Clear, strong and reliable dialogue between team members is critical to ensuring timely order fulfilment and customer satisfaction.
Without effective communication, you are at risk of forming silos that disrupt the flow of information from one part of the company to another, which can lead to missed or incorrectly shipped orders or late delivery.
A simple way to eliminate silos is by using workflow automation software with integrated messaging tools.
Such software often works as a platform that centralises and synchronises critical information on orders and production requirements. With integrated messaging tools, the platform makes it easier to keep everyone on the same page, so when order details or priorities change, everyone can be notified.
Plus, 3D printing software for workflow automation can be used to automatically create work orders, providing all the information about 3D printing requests. Work orders standardise communication across all points of the fulfilment process, reducing the chance of 3D printing and shipping wrong items.
4. Minimise shipping errors with quality assurance
While you strive to deliver on customer expectation, you’ve probably experienced customer complaints about a mismatch between their order and the items they received.
Of course, mistakes happen, but your goal as a business is to minimise them as much as possible.
One way software can help is by streamlining the quality assurance process. Advanced workflow automation solutions for 3D printing allow you to check 3D-printed parts against job details such as dimensions, materials, colours, etc. and store this information in the system for reference.
By comparing the order information on the platform to the item provided, you can automate the QA process for 3D printing jobs, ensuring that the customer always receives the right 3D-printed items.
5. Streamline backend business processes
Whether you operate a small-scale 3D printing business or a large-scale AM factory, a vital part of improved customer experience is the ability to have visibility across your entire supply chain.
With the supply chain and production visibility, you can ensure faster lead times and quicker response time.
Workflow automation software allows you to connect almost every facet of your business. For example, it can enhance production scheduling, automate manual price calculations and file analyses, streamline build preparation and post-production management.
By transforming the backend processes, 3D printing businesses can produce a better product faster, empower employees by removing time-consuming manual tasks, and get access to critical data.
The latter can be particularly useful for improving the customer experience. For example, you can explore how frequent certain customers order from your online ordering platform. Armed with this data, you can provide discounts to the most frequent users of your 3D printing services, boosting their loyalty.
To meet customer expectations for 3D printing services, digital transformation is key
Digitising your 3D printing business through workflow automation has many positive implications for your business and customers. It helps to simplify the customer journey, accelerates lead times and enhances communication, both with customers and within the team.
Ultimately, digitisation can help you ensure a great customer experience through improved responsiveness and optimised internal processes.
If you want to better understand how 3D printing software for workflow automation can help your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team here at AMFG.
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