Enabling A Customer-Centric Approach as an Aftermarket Growth Driver for Manufacturers
by Derek Schroeder
The aftermarket is a massive opportunity for growth, should any manufacturer be willing to take on the challenge. To put it in perspective, Caterpillar, a shining example of an OEM company winning the aftermarket, says it’s distributors are missing out on between $9 and $18 billion in revenue because they lack a customer-centric approach.
Here are 4 Ways Aftermarket Experts Achieve a Customer-Centric Approach
- Upgrade Your Analytics Techniques – Were you hoping your current OEM system would sustain you through the development of your aftermarket strategies? The aftermarket is a volatile place as the demand for new parts occurs suddenly with unexpected malfunctions. However, with the right analytical tools like those below, you can begin predicting shifts, trends and demand well enough to minimize risk:
- Real Time Data: Caterpillar said they’re dealers failed to tap into widely available real time consumer data, which gives moment to moment insight on market trends.
- Predictive Analytics: With professional help, you can begin to find the patterns in your aftermarket trends and be better prepared for sudden future shifts.
- Use eCommerce to Go Where the Consumers Are – When you have a system that can tackle the unique demands of the aftermarket, you must take advantage of consumer hubs. If you still think most of your sales will be in-person or over the phone, you’re wrong. According to a 2015 Forrester Research Inc. report:
- Online B2B sales will reach $1 trillion by 2020.
- By 2017, 56 percent of B2B shoppers will complete at least half of their purchasing on line.
- B2B clients spend more overall than they have the option to buy online and offline.
- Design a User Friendly eCatalog – Here’s where you really need to focus on your customers. An eCatalog gives you the chance to entice users with a great interface. With an e-catalogue, you get more of everything:
- Showcase all your products. Easily keep an up-to-date catalogue with a simple input system that allows you to add descriptions and photos without a hitch.
- Limit customer support costs. Give your customers a tool so they can easily find the parts they need in a snap. Let your software do the customer service footwork and limit support expenses.
- Remain available. Regardless of the time, your e-catalogue remains live so your customers can order the parts they need on-demand.
- Capitalize on the Cycle – Did you know that up to 90 percent of heavy equipment’s lifetime cost is spent on maintenance and repair? For example, you might find yourself paying for computer or car repairs long after you’ve paid them off. Concentrate on winning in the aftermarket and create a cycle that brings customers back to you as a manufacturer. Use these steps as an example:
- Sell a great product: This is an obvious place to start and you’ve probably got this step down.
- Listen to customer feedback: During a support call, have your team make notes regarding common issues and complaints.
- Improve based on feedback: Like a new version of a mobile app, improve your next generation of products and parts based on feedback.
- Assess company capabilities: Can your company still meet your consumers’ needs? What should be adjusted?
Need more guidance as you get your aftermarket services up and running?
GenAlpha is here to help with a range of aftermarket-focused technologies and professional consulting services.