Quality – that is what our whole industry aims at. And not only producing companies, but also service companies are focused on high quality as customers pay more and more attention to get high quality products and services. And of course that also counts for after sales because a successful post-sale means satisfied customers. And satisfied customers are loyal customers who also recommend a product or a company to others.
The service quality in after sales involves three main items:
1. Service environment
2. Service processes
3. Service staff
For the first item, service environment, the location, buildings, and things like opening times are important from a customer’s view.
The service process means the reliability, for example to stick to appointments, and the precision of a job execution.
Staff, the third item, should be competent and attentive.
Whenever a company wants to improve it’s after sales quality, all three items should be checked. The second item, service processes, offers highest potential for improving service quality. In most cases these can be optimized. First, all single steps and processes have to be documented to get a detailed overview of the whole service and support processes. Quality standards have to be defined and have to be abided by.
Potential for optimization applies to the whole process: from diagnostic up to repair. Mainly customers criticize a lack of transparent processing. So a dialogue oriented diagnosis could help to involve the customer better. The handling and organization should work efficiently and trouble-free. Repair times, staff, availability of spare parts and tools for example, have to be coordinated by a resource planning system. Also the tools have to be thoroughly chosen and regularly checked.
Another important opportunity is to use innovative solutions like online diagnostics or remote support, as well as the online availability of all data, so that each staff member can always access all actual data and information.
Also the follow up offers potential optimization: For example, service staff that explains the invoice, a complaint management system, and a fast processing of reclamations.
Service marketing also has potential for professional improvement. Contacts to existing customers are often uncoordinated and flexible appointments are not possible. But that is exactly what customers wish – flexible appointments, fast handling and personal, individual contacts. This can often be improved by implementing a CRM system with a detailed customer database. Also a service hotline and thorough resource planning can improve service.
If you look at point three, service staff, it is important to offer them technical training to secure and upgrade their expertise and qualifications. But communication training is equally important to professionalize all processes and customer contacts from the first contact or appointment up to the handover.
So in the end, a perfect interaction of all three items is important to achieve a higher quality post-sales standard which is very essential in winning over customers.