Manufacturing & Distribution Podcast

Creating Better Connections With Customers

How do you create better connections with your customers? Alexander Group Principal Kyle Uebelhor shares insights on just how crucial it is for manufacturers to enhance their end-user experience. If you are looking to build a better customer experience, follow these steps.

I was at a client yesterday and they asked me a question that keeps coming up and that is how do we create better connections to our customers or what are we doing to develop a better end user experience? You know, this is Kyle Uebelhor with the Alexander Group and as the leader of the manufacturing vertical for our firm, this particular question is coming up time and again from our perspective. And I think in today’s manufacturing environment, it’s crucial that we are connecting the dots between the products and services that we develop into that end user experience because that’s what the customers are looking for. In fact, there’s a recent research that we’ve had, organizations are trying to create that segmented, user-specific model to create a better customer experience at a 98 percent rate. In other words, the individuals that we interviewed, almost all of them are trying to develop as one of their top priorities, a customer-specific lens on how they go to the market. But only 30 percent of those individuals actually have done it successfully, and it pays off. Of those 30 percent, eight percent growth rate is achieved in those organizations. Yeah, that’s right. Those organizations that have a customer-focused lens create growth rates at eight percent higher than their peers. That is information that passes straight to the bottom line from an organization and from an equity standpoint.

Well, how do you do that? You know, you go out and you look and you hear a buyer journey, buyer process map, you know, persona mapping, customer segment analysis, five steps, seven steps, discovery, consideration decisions, advocacy. There are many, many different ways that people are attempting to create a buyer journey map. I’d say there is not one specific way to do it right. However, there are things that we know that through our client work that will help you do it quicker and do it in a way that becomes a permanent part of your process or permanent part of your organization. First, and most importantly, you have to do this. You have to do this because it acts as the connecting point between you and your end users. We need to know what part of the journey in a very non-linear way they might be in, so you need to map it out correctly first. We recommend doing it by getting the function out of the process to begin with. Don’t have one team, one marketing group, one sales operations team do the buyer journey. Rather, make sure you get a nice cross-functional team that includes IT, marketing, sales and service in the room to think through this. And then there are really four discrete steps to walk through to do this the right way.

First, most importantly, learn and map, conduct customer research and determine the appetite for the need of those customers at various points to interact with you. Next, you need to create the blueprint vision. This is the prioritization of what we have found and setting a roadmap for where do we create the use cases going forward. Third is the hard work, that’s design. Creating a new model that includes the sales processes and all the tools that are necessary to create the connections to the end users to that new buyer journey that we have discovered. Finally, we have to test and learn. We want to take this off in small bites. We want to use an agile perspective. In other words, do this in small increments to create growth over time as opposed to a Big Bang. So test and learn allows us to look at different geographies or segments to specifically adopt our new designs. Again, learn and map. Create that blueprint vision. Do the hard work around designing a new route to customer, new model expectations, and then test them learn on a continuous basis. I think if you do these things, you’ll find success going forward to create that better and more connected link to the buyer journey. For more information about how this all comes together, please contact us at

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