4 Things you should be doing to achieve service excellence
A guide for off-highway OEMs' after-sales strategy
Customer service is the most crucial component in ensuring customer retention: always being available and providing easy and fast solutions guarantees your customers' satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, this can be a surefire way to stay ahead of your competitors. Excelling in this area is thus essential for any successful business.
Service excellence, however, means more than simply being available whenever your customers need your support. They expect a close partnership, ideally one where one partner thinks and plans for the other, making their everyday business more accessible and manageable. Especially for OEMs, it is therefore vital to understand what your customers need and stay close to them and their machinery. Active support and planning for maintenance appointments and spare parts ensure an efficient and optimized workflow for your customer, guaranteeing their success – and, thereby, your own.
Offering your customers machinery equipped with advanced telematics solutions allows you to stay as close to them and their machinery as possible and brings your customer service to a new level, providing true service excellence. Advanced Telematics can help you shift to a service strategy that is remote, digital, and preventative, with streamlined processes that improve service productivity and customer service.
The following white paper presents the four most important components you should offer your customers to achieve service excellence and maximize customer satisfaction and retention.
4 measures to achieve service excellence
Heavy machinery must be maintained regularly to perform at its best. As such, maintenance planning is an integral part of any OEM's after-sales department and a great way to interact with your customers regularly.
However, manual service planning on paper for all customers is enormously time-consuming, negatively affecting the speed of processing service requests and the number of service cases that can be closed per month.
Digitalizing all service plans is, therefore, an easy-to-implement method of improving one's service strategy and making it more efficient for customers. This is what happened at recycling machine manufacturer Doppstadt, for example:
By integrating the telematics data between the Proemion DataPlatform and its existing service ticketing system, Doppstadt was able to improve its service and now handles all service status and scheduling digitally. By bringing it all on one platform, the Doppstadt service department can view and process the current status of services at any time on a system they are familiar with. Moreover, the ticket system is also used for preventive maintenance work. The working hours of each machine are recorded in the cloud. A service ticket for maintenance is automatically triggered when a set number of hours is exceeded.
This preventive strategy makes everyday life easier for customers: regular maintenance reduces the risk of error messages or damage, which in turn can lead to costly machine downtime. Because Doppstadt proactively counteracts this, customers know they are in good hands and have a partner who actively supports their business. Ultimately, this is what service excellence is all about. And Doppstadt benefits from maintaining the machines in-house and the strong customer loyalty that results from this.
Despite regular maintenance, it can always happen that a machine has an error message or damage that needs to be repaired. Usually, the customer must then pass the problem on to the OEM's service department, which forwards the request to the technicians. At this point, they have to travel to the customer twice: once for diagnosis and once to repair the damage with the correct spare parts and tools.
This process is time-consuming and costly for all parties involved: long waiting times between error messages and repair result in long downtimes for the machine, which can directly impact the project's profitability. At the same time, there are high travel costs and high expenditure of time on the part of the OEM.
With remote diagnostics made possible by advanced connectivity, time and costs can be massively reduced. For example, this happened at Kaiser AG, a manufacturer of mobile walking excavators and sewer cleaning vehicles.
Proemion connected Kaiser's existing diagnostic tool, "Kaiser Service Software", with the DataPlatform, which allows a service technician to be directly connected to the machines live. Since the machine’s data is completely visible in real-time, any error the machine reports can be examined remotely at any time from any location: The service technician accesses the machine's data online and directly checks where the error lies. In addition, thanks to the exceptional bi-directional communication unique to the CANlink devices of the Proemion solution, he can correct software errors remotely.
The now-established KAISERteleservice is, therefore, particularly popular with customers. Downtime is reduced enormously, and travel costs are saved, as error messages can be checked and rectified quickly, regardless of where they are.
Service technicians can also perform maintenance work, such as remote software updates for the machines, thanks to firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) updates. This means that updates can be sent directly to several Proemion devices simultaneously, which ensures greater efficiency and control without having to send a service technician on-site. At the same time, your customers benefit from the newest updates without any interruptions or delays to their business.
Sooner or later, every machine will need spare parts due to actual damage or the natural wear and tear that comes with regular use. Since no one knows their machines as well as the manufacturer, in-house spare parts should naturally be the first choice for customers.
Use this knowledge combined with advanced telematics solutions to increase spare parts sales by proactively offering them to your customers. For example, you can offer your customers replacements for wearable parts after a certain number of operating hours - helping them avoid mechanical failures and downtime. This not only ensures fewer mechanical failures but also secures your position as your customer's primary contact for spare parts.
Bergmann shows how it's done: On its b.Connect service platform, which is directly linked to the advanced telematics solution's data, the machines' working hours are tracked, and, depending on this, appropriate spare parts are suggested for maintenance. From there, a link leads directly to the spare parts portal b.Parts. With just one click, customers can buy the necessary spare parts, which has increased sales for Bergmann and customer satisfaction as machine downtime has been reduced enormously.
To stay as close as possible to your customers and their needs after sales, you can offer them different service products shaped to their specific needs. These diversified products not only increase customer retention but creates new business opportunities for your company as a whole.
For example, CIFA, a technological leader in the concrete supply chain and construction equipment market, intended to further differentiate itself from its competitors. Unhappy with their previous basic telematics solution, they switched to an advanced one. To offer their machine dealers a professional and flexible remote monitoring system that works worldwide, they have launched CIFA VISTA with the help of their Proemion CANlink mobile and the DataPlatform. The fleet management system has numerous capabilities to help customers keep track of their machinery. In addition, it provides specific fleet data that delivers added value to machine owners and comprehensive diagnostics to dealers.
This remote machine monitoring system has increased efficiency for the CIFA after-sales support, allows them to stay closer to their customers, and created a new revenue opportunity. At the same time, CIFA’s customers profit from the digitization of their fleet, with a detailed overview in real-time and information on daily productivity or fuel consumption. They also appreciate the benefits of the preventative maintenance feature programmed according to the amount of concrete pumped and hours worked and the simplified remote diagnosis, which significantly reduces downtime.
A diversified product portfolio, including the service area, allows companies to support their customers as they need it optimally. But, at the same time, it creates an additional source of revenue and a constant connection with the customer.
Service Excellence is one of the most important ways to ensure customer retention, which in turn can give businesses a significant edge over their competitors. Moreover, it creates business opportunities that can further increase your revenue. This way, both your business and your customers directly benefit from your efforts to excel in the service department. To achieve service excellence, however, an advanced telematics solution connecting you directly to your machinery and customers is paramount, as well as a reliable partner who supports your business with their knowledge and experience.
Our experts are happy to support you in taking the next step for your business and exploring the various possibilities advanced telematics solutions can offer you.