Effective communication is of great importance for equipment dealers. With customers, potential customers, partners, resellers, equipment suppliers and parts suppliers. Automation can make that communication and collaboration a lot easier!
Make sure you people can reach you and communicate pleasantly with you!
Your traditional ways of communication must be in order. Accessibility, speed, expertise and friendliness have to be top notch.
- Office: Your office should be easy to reach. Online, the address should be instantly available. What is the impression on arrival? There must be sufficient parking space, the reception must be pleasant and you need a suitable meeting room.
- Telephone: It must be easy to reach out to your organization by telephone. This means that there is always someone to pick up the phone during office hours, forwarding must be simple and you can use a selection menu if necessary. An automatic answering machine is recommended outside office hours.
- Email: With an info email address you can be reached 24/7. Make sure these emails end up with the right employees and are picked up quickly. Employees' direct email addresses must be logically set up and well managed.
- Website: Companies are increasingly found and explored online before other means of communication are used. So, make sure that your online presence is great, offer the right information and offer visitors opportunities for next steps, such as a contact form, telephone number, call-back request or information request.
"Instead of calling and e-mailing to inquire the price and delivery time of spare parts, you create an interface to have this information continuously and immediately available."
Save time and thus costs with interfacing
With interfacing you can exchange information quickly and easily with other parties. Interfacing means making a connection between your system and the system of another party in order to exchange data.
Think, for instance, about an interface with a supplier where you regularly order spare parts. A possible interface is a check on price & availability; instead of calling and e-mailing to inquire the price and delivery time of spare parts, you create an interface to have this information continuously and immediately available. This saves time and money and enables you to help your customers faster.
To determine whether it makes sense to develop an interface, you can analyze the costs and benefits. How much does it cost to realize the interface – that depends on the complexity – and how much benefit in the form of daily cost savings – that depends on the amount of actions – does it bring? You must take into account that changes in your system or that of the other party, e.g. a system upgrade, might affect the interface.
Efficient self-service by using a web portal
A web portal is also an interesting way to improve communication and collaboration with other parties. In this portal you give people outside your organization access to information and you give them the opportunity to initiate actions themselves.
Consider, for example, a customer portal where customers have access to manuals, invoices and information about their machines. Plus where they can order parts, make warranty requests and submit service requests.
The customer portal should not serve as a replacement for other contact with customers, but should be seen as an additional channel. You give customers the opportunity to get an answer to a question themselves or to initiate an action 24/7, but you should continue to serve them through other channels. This way you can improve customer satisfaction, increase customer loyalty and also save costs.