OEMs: Shift Your Aftermarket Strategy from Reactive to Proactive
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) make various efforts to reach a larger market segment and grow their businesses for increased aftermarket revenue. Even so, manufacturers encounter a number of OEM aftermarket challenges that they must overcome to achieve aftermarket success. These challenges are a drain on resources, but shifting to a more proactive aftermarket strategy is a way to overcome them.
Here are 5 ways you can shift your aftermarket strategy from a reactive state to a more proactive one:
1. Improve the Customer Experience: Customer service plays a vital role in the success of any organization. For many equipment manufacturers, providing exceptional after-sales support can be challenging. Whether you are dealing with an existing customer base, loyal to your brand, or customers new to your equipment, it's critical to offer effective customer service. One important key is to meet customers where they are. Some customers expect superior support from the OEM dealer network.
When this is the case, make sure dealers are well-trained and have the information they need at their fingertips. How well are your dealers on-boarded and trained? Do they have the tools to respond quickly to customer support needs? Other customers may wish to self-service online. If this is the case, make sure they have access to all the information they need to make their job easier. Be meticulous about your after-sales customer experience, effective customer support is a critical factor for repeat business.
2. Create a Base of Loyal Customers: OEMs succeed in the aftermarket when they generate a base of loyal customers who are core to the success of their aftermarket businesses. It is easier and more cost-effective for a business to work with existing customers than acquire new ones. You need to lock in the customers that purchase from your business so that they do not switch to your competitors but become loyal to your brand.
85% of business buyers believe the experience a company provides is as important as its products. A few proactive ways to build brand loyalty include enhancing equipment uptime, quality, and durability. Other options are, offer a loyalty program to facilitate customer retention, work diligently to minimize manual process errors, and provide real-time service operation information.
3. Offer Online Tools: Almost 2/3rds of all B2B purchasing decisions are made on digital channels. Dealers and end customers want digital options. They are looking for easy access to part search and identification, maintenance instructions, price and availability, ordering and reordering, order tracking, RMA requests and warranty claim information. So it’s only by leveraging digital options that you can proactively give them the 24/7 support they are looking for. For dealers and customers who seek digital self-service options, make sure you give it to them.
4. Manage and Optimize Inventory: This is a central challenge for OEMs. Due to the unpredictability of equipment breakdowns, manufacturers find it hard to balance the supply and demand of parts. That makes the aftermarket unpredictable and inconsistent. This explains why manufacturers can end up with a highly obsolete inventory while trying to ensure a sufficient supply of equipment and parts that customers need.
Shift away from solely gauging parts demand based on the historical performance of your aftermarket sales. This information can be misleading. It is better to analyze real-time customer buying behaviors. Understanding the conversion rate on customer searches is really important to making proactive steps in managing your inventory.
How often is a product searched and there is no inventory? How does this impact product conversion? There could be numerous products where you are missing out on the sale simply because there is no stock available. This analysis will enhance the preciseness of your forecasting and help to overcome this challenge.
5. Increase Responsiveness: Performance and productivity of your equipment is the number one priority for your customers. Make sure whatever channel your customers contact you - customer service, technical service, dealer partner or online - all processes are designed with the greatest efficiency and responsiveness to customers. Measure customer satisfaction to determine how you are performing in this area.
Ready to take your aftermarket strategy to greater heights? We can help. Get in touch for an aftermarket strategy session or a free demo of our solution.