Aftersales is a long-established concept in business. But recently it has gained renewed attention. The construction of new industrial plants and machines are slowing down – and all of a sudden income from aftersales has to make up for lost revenue.
Pre-purchase is post-purchase
In particular in the capital goods business, where expensive machinery and industrial plants with a long lifespan and high customer lifecycle value are sold, it pays to question or at least optimise your own aftersales strategy.
Support and personal customer contact after the purchase is particularly important where complex products are concerned – and it paves the way for the next acquisition.
At the same time, machine operators have to quickly familiarise themselves with the new machines. Consumables must be topped up and defect parts replaced in a timely fashion, and any delay in delivery must be avoided to minimise machine downtime – because the business case for purchasing new machines is only offset by lowered production and maintenance costs.
Customer expectations today go above and beyond the core product
Today’s customers also have higher expectations than in the past. The requirements in aftersales services and aftersales marketing has changed, and businesses have to expand their portfolios to follow suit:
- Timely maintenance, inspections and repairs
- User oriented replacement part services
- Refurbishment and retrofit
- Courses and training
Starting points for successful post-sale customer care
The ideal aftersales strategy has two main goals:
The core businesses in customer service – maintenance, inspection and repairs of plants and machines – must be visibly optimised for the customer. Options might be predictable flat rate prices and transparent processes around accessing services (hotline, voicemail, chatline and similar). Many machine and plant constructors remain noticeably behind in this area and only partly calculate calls, booked jobs and technical support – if at all.
The second goal should be the increased sales in the business of replacement and wear-and-tear parts. Also here the untapped potential is considerable, and there are several reasons:
- There are suppliers that offer non-original parts cheaper
- Suppliers re-import your spare parts and sell them at reduced prices
- Printed catalogues are impractical and complicated
- Ordering processes from the OEM’s stores are complicated
There will always be product piracy, replacement part piracy and re-imports of your original parts. But with a simplification of the ordering processes, intuitive search for materials and quick access to documentation and parts lists you can keep your customers loyal for longer – and increase the orders for your replacement parts business.
In addition to follow-up sales from your aftersales services you should also keep in mind that satisfied customers will recommend your products to others, they will remain loyal, and they are more likely to accept price increases.
Increased after sales and better customer loyalty thanks to digital assistance systems
So how can you optimise your aftersales strategy? By now there are many digital tools on the market that you can purchase and quickly adapt for and offer to your customers, and which provide the service person / machine operator with real added value.
One such tool is Partium, our technology for the optimisation of the online search for parts and materials. Partium makes it possible to identify parts and components easily via a smartphone, and in turn access documentation about the part and even order parts directly from your online store.
With this simple setup you support the machine operators in their daily work, optimise your own ordering processes, while collecting crucial customer data that you can use for pricing, logistics and a variety of other purposes.
Would you like to know more about the Partium app and the possibilities digital tools can offer you in optimising your aftersales strategy?
Contact us for a no-obligation enquiry!