Turning buyers into customers: outstanding customer management is one of the most vital assets of successful brands today. In post-sales, companies can strengthen customer loyalty, gain valuable information and data about customer preferences, target groups and product trends – as well as generate additional sales.
If companies want to unearth these treasures, however, they have to ensure their after-sales is up for the task. The best way to do this is to transform classic “customer service” – which in the past has all too often been considered merely from a cost perspective – into a post-sales service: representing a crucial part of the value chain in which you aim to strike the right balance between costs and revenue in a sustainable manner.
The good news is that digitalization opens up significant leeway for organizations in post-sales to improve their position on the market by adopting a platform approach. Regardless of whether you’re a new player or an established competitor, a platform approach enables you to quickly provide high-quality, end-to-end management for complex service and logistics networks in post-sales or to optimize existing networks to meet your needs.
In this blog post, you’ll see how to future-proof your post-sales with a platform solution based on seven typical problem areas.
1. Holistic Approach
Competitive companies are organic entities that grow and evolve over time. This may be because they enter new markets, adapt their product strategy or reorganize processes. Post-sales often acts as a downstream area during these changes, having to keep up with all the various developments. This does lead to problems though, e.g. there may not be an adequate IT platform with which to standardize processes and workflows, or cooperation models with partners may result in a mishmash of different IT solutions and organically grown operating procedures over time.
A post-sales platform provides a remedy here, as it is designed as a holistic service and logistics solution from the outset, where standardized active operations management is combined with a modern IT solution. This is possible because a platform solution is designed in such a way that it can integrate existing IT solutions and partners via interfaces, enabling them to be integrated into a higher-level structure.
2. High Degree of Automation
Whether it’s support services, repairs and maintenance or upselling services – post-sales naturally involves many small-scale manual processes. These pose major challenges for service and logistics alike. After all, manual processes are inherently prone to errors.
However, you can better overcome these challenges with a platform solution. How so? Because with a platform solution, you can shift many processes to IT, resulting in an incredibly high level of overall process integration. This creates the optimal basis for a high level of automation for all recurring service and logistics tasks.
3. Better Integration
One of the major paint points in post-sales is what is known as the long-tail dilemma. It arises from the necessary diversification of services in differentiated markets and is reflected in low volumes, a high fragmentation of processes and the dispersion of operations across numerous countries. The result? Increasingly complex processes with minimal transparency.
With a platform solution, however, you have the tools at your disposal to bring these processes back under your control. The platform includes support for a wide range of post-sales requirements and thus also makes individual process areas such as installations, repairs, on-site service and customer interactions easier to calculate.
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4. Greater Flexibility
Due to the heterogeneous nature of post-sales, growth is possible via partnership models, especially for internationally positioned players with a highly diversified product portfolio. As a general rule, a network of dependencies develops over time that extends very deeply into operations. This is because the various business partners each contribute their own processes and IT systems to the partnership. This way, numerous dependencies arise in the post-sales phase that make it almost impossible to replicate processes and tools.
Yet you can also quickly address these problems with a post-sales platform: external partners with their existing IT structures can be easily connected to the platform via interfaces and brought together under a common roof in a uniform structure. In other words, a collection of various soloists becomes a flexible orchestra controlled and directed by a conductor with the help of the platform solution.
5. Enhanced Cost Control
An additional challenge when working with multiple partners who provide you with classic isolated individual solutions is cost control. Using different business models and IT solutions makes it virtually impossible to establish a consistent cost model that best meets your needs across all partners and interfaces.
In contrast, platform solutions usually offer flexible contract and business models. For example, these consist of a combination of a monthly fixed price with transaction-based remuneration per service case. This creates an alignment of objectives in terms of the total cost of service.
6. Fast Results
Regardless of whether you want to build or expand your post-sales with your own capacities or a partner network: when it comes to bringing products or services to market quickly, post-sales is often a stumbling block. This is because creating the necessary structures can take months – from setting up or adapting IT systems and processes to training employees and establishing new standards.
On the other hand, a platform solution for post-sales impresses with its short time to market. It is therefore possible to implement a basic version with all the necessary standard functions very quickly: a fully functional solution can be installed in as little as four to eight weeks.
7. Optimal Scalability
Besides time to market, another major issue in post-sales is the scalability of the entire system. As a competitor, you need to be able to react rapidly to market movements these days in order to remain competitive. This means being able to quickly meet increased demand as well as reacting to a possible decline in demand in certain markets or product segments.
A platform solution is also the best choice here, as it enables you to adapt all services to your individual service and logistics requirements quickly and with calculable costs. This way, you are always one step ahead of your competitors.