If you were to ask manufacturers to explain their products, they will most likely provide you with a list of features, functionality, benefits, brand, and packaging. You can’t blame them for these types of responses, after all, they are accurate, and up until recently, this is what most of their customers cared about.

Recently, there has been a long-overdue and dramatic identity shift for manufacturers. No longer can products be thought of as something that can be packaged and shipped. There are new rules of engagement for manufacturers with their customers, and to survive and thrive, all products today must have a service aspect.

Loosely defined, service is the relationship between consumers and companies. In the past, good service was a nice to have, today, great service is a must have, and it is at the heart of any user experience. Providing meticulous attention to providing consistently high levels of service that meet and exceed users’ needs are what separate the great companies from the rest. By focusing on customer needs and aligning the business, technology, sales and marketing teams, manufacturers are better able to identify and solve problems and deliver better value to customers.

For manufacturers, the ability to efficiently and effectively deliver consistently high levels of customer service at all touch points can mean the difference between being a market leader and a oft-forgotten laggard. Given the many choices that customers have, and the relative ease that they have to recommend or condemn companies to their friends using social media and other outlets, it is in manufacturers’ best interest to embrace a service-led approach that puts their customers’ entire experience with the company at the forefront of their marketing strategy.

The Forbes magazine article ‘Why Manufacturers Should Pay Attention to Customer Service’ provides excellent insight into the importance of placing an emphasis on the fact that service is a key differentiator for manufacturers because service, not products is what the entire organization delivers continuously.