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19 OCT

Considering Online Tools for your Aftermarket? 10 Time Saving Reasons to Enable Digital Self-Service — Part 1

by Kris Harrington

For OEMs, supporting equipment over its full product lifecycle is no easy task. There are numerous activities over the course of operation that will require support from the OEM or dealer. Whether it’s filing a warranty claim, requesting a quotation for replacement parts, or following up on order and invoice status, these activities cost time and money. But with online self-service tools, much of the time to manage these activities can be significantly reduced.

In this two-part blog, we’re going to highlight 10 recurring tasks that aftermarket teams can solve quickly by providing customers and dealer partners with online self-service tools.

1 – Reordering

The ordering process for industrial companies can be complex. Selecting the exact parts for a specific piece of equipment or operation is critical, so time is spent ensuring the right products are ordered. This process can take even longer when it requires going back and forth with someone on the phone, in person, or through email. Even routine reorders that are made all the time, like stocking orders or consumables, can end up taking a big chunk of time. The customer service or sales rep on the other side of the phone has to look up the account in the ERP, find the previous order or invoice, identify the part numbers, re-quote, and then re-enter the order when received. Both parties end up spending more time than they’d like.

Imagine how much simpler it would be for a customer or dealer to find a previous order all on their own and have it ordered again in a few simple clicks. That’s the experience that’s available through digital self-service. It’s simple for customers and partners to find past orders when they need them and reorder them without ever having to pick up a phone or send an email. It saves time not only for the customer but also for the sales team.

2 – Checking Order Status

When an order is placed it’s important for customers and dealers to know when their parts will arrive and to track the packages after they’ve left the warehouse. But that’s tough for aftermarket teams who don’t offer digital self-service. Customers are required to contact sales or service to get this information. There’s nowhere to send customers who want to know more about their order and track its status. With digital self-service options, customers and dealers have up-to-date information about their orders at their fingertips. It saves phone calls to the customer service team about when orders are arriving and provides peace of mind when making a purchase. Customers can track orders from the minute they place them, to when it’s arrived.

3 – Getting Price and Availability

How often do customers contact OEMs or dealers asking about the price and availability of parts and components? These calls place an unnecessary strain on busy team members who have to answer these questions instead of focusing on higher value-adding activities. When purchasers need parts quickly they want information fast and easy. Allowing customers to find that information on their own boosts customer satisfaction while improving efficiency for the aftermarket team. By integrating an eStore into an ERP, all of that information is updated in real-time. It eliminates any confusion about price or whether something is available to be ordered.

4 – Requesting a Return

For aftermarket teams and warehouses, dealing with returns is no simple process. They can end up being costly and time-consuming if not handled correctly. It’s not as if a customer or a dealer partner can easily repackage something and send it back. They often handle large and expensive components, so processing these returns requires a clear process, approval, and appropriate documentation. And while this is a complex process, customers expect it to be fast and easy.

That’s why a digital return materials authorization (RMA) process is beneficial. It provides an optimized returns experience that takes the complexity out of it. OEMs can track returns, process refunds, and improve the customer experience. It helps customers to maintain confidence in a manufacturer while helping to understand why a return was made, and preventing it in the future.

5 – Filing Warranty Claims

Dealing with long-drawn-out warranty issues takes up valuable resources from manufacturers and leads to unhappy dealer partners and customers. Equipment downtime means that customers are losing money, and they don’t want to wait for a warranty problem to be resolved before getting the part or service they need. Resolving warranty claims can also lead to endless emails or phone calls that take up everyone’s time.

That’s why dealers need an efficient way to file warranty claims and check the status. Digital self-service allows for easy registration of products for warranties, the ability to look up terms, file claims, and more. It saves manufacturers and dealers a significant amount of time and money while enhancing the customer experience. Digital warranty claim management also improves transparency and strengthens relationships between manufacturers, dealers, and ultimately their customers.

If you’re looking for a solution to help you get started with digital self-service, 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.

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