A specifically tailored customer service that is based on recommendations, takes previous purchasing behavior into account, and proactively provides information at the right time – this is the desired scenario of many machine suppliers who want to take their service to a new level.
Instead of overloading customers with information, it should be edited according to their needs and presented in easily digestible portions. The focus is on the entire life cycle of the machines and systems. Instead of talking about after sales, it is also important to build up a whole new mindset that focuses on lifetime service. As a result, the hard boundaries between sales and service are dissolved to create space for close and cross-functional cooperation. Lifetime service includes so-called touchpoints along the entire life cycle – from the machine start-up, through operation and troubleshooting, to continuous optimization and, finally, recycling the machinery.
Throughout the entire costumer journey, contact with the client is never broken off, but rather intensified with each encounter, so that the customer feels cared for in every respect. The transformation this entails is both challenging and disruptive. It offers the machine manufacturer the opportunity to constantly sharpen and expand his profile, from a pure technology and machine supplier to a service provider. The aim is to be perceived by the machine operator as a reliable partner and service expert who is available at any time throughout the machine life cycle. If this transformation succeeds, there are several advantages:
- Added value is inextricably linked to service in people's minds
- Willingness to invest in service increases
- The entire company benefits from the revenue booster service
What challenges do service & after sales face when marketing their service portfolio?
The trend and demand for more service is undeniable, and the growing range of services relating to machines and systems is an important indication of this development. The motivation for service & after sales is obvious: To proactively provide the customer with the best possible support at all times and simultaneously ease the burden on the service team by using digital tools. However, opinions differ regarding the “how” because generally only three channels are available to market the new service portfolio: marketing, sales, or project manager. However, this presupposes that the goal of increased service revenue is supported by all sides. That is why service is usually left up in the air when it comes to the following questions:
- How does the customer get the content relevant to him at the right time?
- How can sales, service, and marketing speak to the customer with a one voice?
- How can service and after sales be given a platform specifically conceived to present and to communicate the service portfolio in an appropriate form?
- How can machine-specific upgrades, software updates, new functionalities, service packages, and training modules be communicated clearly and tailored to specific customers, and how can they best be presented?
Kontron AIS was increasingly confronted with these questions in conversations with users of the EquipmentCloud® IIoT service solution.
Yet the solution to this challenge was obvious Many medium-sized mechanical engineering firms are already using EquipmentCloud® as a customer portal and the basis for developing their digital business models. So why not use the platform, which already contains all the important information and data relating to the globally distributed machines? Another advantage is that it is already firmly established as a central communication interface for customers and is visited by users several times a week, if not daily.
Targeted communication — how to make it a success
Centrally embedded in the digital workplace, the dynamic dashboard of the EquipmentCloud® is the perfect place to present all relevant news on machines and systems to those users who really need it. Every day, users call up their latest information in bundled form on them and start their further activities. It is the ideal place to present promotional campaigns, service packages, and training courses clearly and to best advantage.
Administrators have two central functions at their disposal. On the one hand, they can either assign feeds on specific topics to individual customer domains or to several domains simultaneously. The domain selection feature can be used to determine precisely who receives a particular feed, while considering the general visibility levels of the respective user. For example, a separate feed can be created for each type of machine, or general services that apply across platforms can be communicated to a large number of customers. On the other hand, articles can be assigned to the individual feeds on an ongoing basis to present new products, services, or upgrades attractively, and to promote revenue.
The extensive editor contains text and images as well as links and tags to present the article in a clear and appealing way. Individual articles can be marked as highlights or pinned on the dashboard for a fixed period to underscore their importance or for longer-term promotion. Administrators can plan exactly which of the articles will be published and which are still in the creation phase. The article overview offers comprehensive filters for visibility level, options, feeds and assigned tags as well as an integrated search function.
With the targeted circulation of all relevant news on machines and systems, service and after sales has a toolset for communicating all the offers available throughout the machine life cycle to best advantage and independently determining which users receive which information, and when. A nice side effect: Sales can use this communication channel for active sales support and impress with service excellence. This creates a win-win-win situation for the user on the operator side as well as for service & after sales and sales in the context of mechanical engineering.
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