2008 – the first generation of iPhones was just boiling down the emerging World Wide Web to fit in everyone’s pocket, and with this, a huge need to connect everything and everyone emerged. What started with consumer behaviour quickly crushed into traditional industries, too.
Having exceptionally good products was not enough anymore.
Among them was TRUMPF, more specifically its machine tools division. They found themselves faced with a conundrum: An increasingly high demand was coming to the scene from their customers: To buy everything, at any time, for the best price.
So by 2008, when many people started their personal digitization project by introducing a smart phone in their lives, TRUMPF decided it was time to tap into the potential of e-commerce. About 10 years later Rainer Schüßler, Program Manager Customer Experience at TRUMPF says: “By now we have already come quite a way in our digital commerce journey. But throughout the years, our customers´ expectations have evolved, too. There is no single point of truth to be found. If there is one constant though, then it´s the fact that inconsistent processes and insufficient connectivity is a major hindrance of efficiency and growth, both for our customers and our organization. Therefore, we had to improve helping our customers in a fast and reliable way, while increasing agility of our organization, too.”
Learning from the customer led to customer experience platform
This is where TRUMPF decided it was time to take their next evolutionary step to become digital masters: by developing a customer experience platform dedicated to the needs of their customers. When it was first all about selling the right product it now is about presenting smart solutions, which are yet flexible and ideal for unique scenarios. Their research has made TRUMPF convinced to now meet their customers´ needs.
“To make it right, we needed to understand the connection between our users and our products: We spent as much time as possible at their production sites. We followed them around and studied their processes. Subsequently, personas were created to assure the right market communication and service selection. Accordingly, we designed our Customer Experience platform as the digital single point of purchase for all of our products. It now caters to all the adjoining needs triggered by smart technology.”
To ensure the success of this invest, all this needed to contribute to a lifecycle. “At TRUMPF, we continuously make sure all needs are met. We receive feedback, for example at regular customer panels, and this will again result in modification of our products and services.”
Research on Digitization in B2B
Intershop, provider of the e-commerce technology underneath the customer experience platform, recently did a research on what drives digitization in B2B. Interestingly, the findings correlate quite well with the learnings from TRUMPF.
“The insights show that improving the customer experience is only one of the most influencing factors in the development of a strategy. However, one might be quite glad to notice that it is not customer complaints nor their demanding of customer-centric features that start an initiative to develop a strategy. Most organizations are one step ahead of that. We see that already leveraging Big Data to study their customer journey, or using AI to improve product recommendations is on the rise.” (Source: E-Commerce Report 2019)
Digitization stays true to its promises: Value-add for TRUMPF and their customers
Being able to offer a truly value-adding customer experience platform is the aim of a thorough digitization process at TRUMPF itself. What started some time ago beginning with a complete internal reorganization of structures and processes, will someday be refined to an interdisciplinary and cross-departmental collaboration. The customer now is in focus of the organization´s set-up. This allows for a completely different offering, now and in the future.
“We have a vision: Connectivity calls for ‘smart factory’ solutions for and within our products. Our platform now features more than just an online shop, because we offer our customers the possibility to tap into digitization in a complete modular way. We want to provide a step-by-step consulting, and hereby think about for example performance monitoring of our smart devices or their predictive maintenance. Our customers´ learnings become our learnings, and this way, we all benefit.”