As a passionate cyclist I have been buying all of my bikes at the same bike shop for many years now. The brand I ride is, purely looking at the components of the bike, similar to many other brands. Still, I keep coming back to the same brand and the same dealer. Why is that? Because the dealer knows me and my bike and knows what I want and what my bike needs. Additionally, he offers me excellent service and a nice cup of coffee.
In fact, he puts into practice something we already know for a long time; service is a very important factor in retaining customers.
What is service?
There are numerous definitions of service. When problems are resolved adequately or when decent support is offered after a purchase, one speaks of a high level of service. Service covers all activities performed for a customer after he or she has purchased your good. And there is a good reason for suppliers to provide service. The objective is to enhance the bond between customer and supplier, i.e. enhance the customer’s loyalty.
After Sales Service
Comparing products is not too difficult nowadays, finding spare parts for the lowest price has become very easy. So if you want to distinguish as a supplier and really bind your customers you will have to do a lot more than just offer a good product at a fair price. And you can achieve this as a supplier with your after sales service. After all, a satisfied customer is not by definition a loyal customer that will automatically return to you when the product lifecycle has ended. If you want to achieve that, you will have to act accordingly.
In practice, the service department - the department with the most contact moments with the customer after sales - should be functioning perfectly. The service department needs to make sure it is able to offer excellent service. Think for instance about:
- Make sure when you are in contact with the customer you know all about him/her
- Also make sure you know all about the products he/she has purchased
- Properly register the complete service history
- Make sure the prices you invoice are correct
That you need the right tools/systems and a decent transfer of information from the sales to the service department speaks for itself.
Service is not a cost
Most of the companies I have visited in the past considered sales has the driver of revenues and profits, and service as a cost component. I’m happy to see that more and more companies are realizing that service is a key differentiator and a great opportunity to really connect with your customer.
Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.