Don’t Let ‘After Sales’ Be an ‘After Thought’

With competition for new customers fiercer than ever, keeping the ones you’ve already found happy is essential. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the job is done when the package lands on their doorstep.

The product arriving at the customer is not the end

Problems with the way you handle after sales customer interaction can have a significant impact on your business. The customers’ money may be in the bank, but it’s far from the end of the story. Customers who do have issues with the product you’ve delivered need to be addressed quickly and accurately if you’re to protect the future revenue they represent to the company.

Control is key

The returns process needs to be carefully controlled. Unauthorized replacements are responsible for significant costs that at best are hard to accurately assign, and at worst unnecessary. Fulfilling your obligations is essential for protecting customer satisfaction, but warranty and repair issues incur expense that should only be actioned when appropriate. Furthermore, those costs then need to be fully traceable and correctly assigned within the administration.

Protect people from making the wrong decisions

Workflow functionality is again of benefit here. Building permission structure into workflow requests can help to ensure expensive procedures are only actioned when they should be. All activities can also be tied to customer history, ensuring that the bigger picture is always kept in mind and that customer service levels are appropriate to the client. Showing detailed knowledge of the relationship history shows that you’re in control and that you care.

Know the one-off from the persistent problem

Flexible overviews of all after sales activities will help you correctly differentiate between trends and anomalies, and action strategic changes accordingly. Unknown customer costs not only hurt the margin, but are very difficult to analyze and prevent from happening again. ERP that handles after sales activities can significantly reduce the impact of these issues – recording, tracking and reporting on requests and the resulting activities. In addition to creating financial overviews of their impact, all returns and repairs information can be directly linked to customer and supplier information for simple traceability.

Support new extensions to the business

Increasingly, wholesalers will be looking to added value activities that complement their assortment to drive revenue growth – particular in terms of after sales activities. The right ERP system will help here as well. Companies looking to supply support services can manage the processes from embedded planning and materials functionality. Linked to the customer account data, businesses will be able to register timely service alerts, allowing them to be proactive in supporting their customers. Service personnel can then be dispatched with full information on the previous customer history, real time insight into spare part availability and access to a full suite of relevant documentation.

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