This is the second part of a two-part blog series. Make sure to read Part 1, if you haven’t had the chance.
We’ve already highlighted five recurring tasks that aftermarket teams can solve quickly by providing customers with online self-service tools. But the list doesn’t stop there. There are even more benefits that organizations are missing out on. Taking advantage of these powerful tools allows for increased company automation, efficiency, and growth.
6 – Accessing Maintenance Instructions
A significant opportunity for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that we’ve highlighted in the past is reducing equipment downtime. When equipment isn’t running, that means money is lost. So making sure customers know how to easily access up-to-date procedural manuals and properly repair equipment is critical. Through online self-service tools, customers can have that information on their mobile devices instantly.
All customers need to do is simply search by a serial number, a VIN, or a model number and they can easily access maintenance instructions specific to their equipment. This saves the end customer time by making it faster to maintain and repair equipment, and it saves the manufacturer time by not having to answer calls with questions about maintenance. It also provides peace of mind by ensuring customers know how to safely assemble and disassemble equipment.
7 – Comparing Multiple Products
Another major benefit of online self-service tools is the clear product information it provides. More information means that buyers can feel more confident when making a purchase.
One of the ways they can have the assurance they are making the right selection is through product comparisons. By easily comparing two or more products, customers can understand the key differences, they can review the product specifications and attributes of each product, and ultimately make a more well-informed decision. Doing so increases product selection accuracy and customer satisfaction, which again leads to fewer calls to customer service representatives, who often don’t know the different attributes of products to easily support the customer with comparative features.
8 – Searching for the Right Product
Traditionally, customers have had to call or email to try to identify and order the right parts. And when they did, then either the salesperson, technician or customer service representative would have to look through a physical paper manual, or access different internal engineering or technical publications systems to try and find the exact part they needed. Powerful digital search tools make that a thing of the past.
Searching for product identification has never been easier. Customers can search by part number, legacy part number, description, vendor number, serial number, VIN or model to identify the products they are searching for. A quick search will give them all the relevant information they could need.
Product search is one of the most important aspects of any online digital solution and this alone becomes tremendously useful to customers, dealers, sales people and internal customer service representatives.
9 – Bulk Uploading and Creating Quick Orders
Manufacturers have complex equipment that often requires several parts on a single order. Imagine if customers could easily load multiple different parts, all at once, in seconds. That’s what bulk order and quick order tools can make possible.
Bulk order means that if a buyer already has a purchase order (PO) created in their system, they can simply copy and paste the part numbers and quantities into an Excel template and load it into the site. This means there is no longer a need to manually enter every individual part number into an email, over the phone or into a website. The bulk order tool will load all parts to the shopping cart in one easy click and the buyer can review price and availability and easily create their order.
With quick orders, customers who know the exact parts they need to order, can type in what they’re looking for, add the quantity, click enter and move to the next part. There’s no need to find a part, put it in the cart, and then find the next one. All the parts can be quickly and easily be added to the cart all at once.
These tools are incredibly helpful to purchases who are overloaded with long lists of suppliers to purchase from each day. Making life easier for the purchasing agent is at the heart of every great self-service website design.
10 – Automating Product Suggestions
For many maintenance activities, it commonly requires multiple parts to complete the job. Online digital tools can ensure that the right products are recommended automatically when other products are being searched.
Take kits for example. Rather than buying individual components for an oil change, like oil and filters, customers can be suggested a complete oil change kit that includes everything they need to perform specific maintenance on a piece of equipment. Doing so saves time for everyone involved.
Usually, when a customer calls the call center or sends an email, they want one thing, and the representative on the other end provides only what the customer has requested. They don’t always have the training or the time to make the appropriate product suggestions. Having digital self-service means that additional product suggestions, like kits will automatically be recommended and cause fewer calls and emails, and lead to higher aftermarket revenues.
*Bonus* 11 – Overcoming Language & Currency Barriers
If an OEM is supporting equipment globally, there’s often a language barrier that confuses both parties and ultimately creates doubt when trying to get the appropriate service and support. With an online self-service solution, none of that needs to be an issue.
When providing clear product images, access to 2D and 3D parts manuals, and the ability to change languages in a site, international customers find it easier to navigate and find what they are looking for. This is also better than trying to hire team members that can speak multiple languages. Additionally, online solutions make it possible to display the correct currency for each customer and the region they are accessing your website from. This is a great differentiator when entering foreign markets and is a valuable way to support equipment operating all over the world.
If you’re an OEM or Aftermarket team looking for a solution to help you launch a self-service website, or help to improve an existing site, look no further than Equip360. Designed to provide 360-degree support over the life of the equipment you sell and service. We’d love to connect with you, contact us at www.genalpha.com or schedule a free demo.