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Every Organization exudes an image ... that image is your Branding, your image and how you want to portray yourself to the outside world. So it just makes sense to invest in what you want to be to the world. The following article i found to be an excellent descriptor and it contains some real pearls of wisdom to consider.

Reprinted article written by Sam Klaidman for Thomas Insights December 12, 2022

Your Post-sale (Aftermarket) Service Has Become an OEM’s Greatest Differentiator

Your customers buy products like the ones you manufacture because they have a limited number of outcomes they must achieve. Furthermore, you and most of your competitors’ products are capable of delivering these outcomes at approximately the same cost. The big question then is “why do they choose one of the products over all others?”

To find out the answer, keep reading.

What Is a Brand?

In spite of what we think, a brand is not something we can see, hear, or touch. A brand only exists in the mind of people who have expectations or experiences with a business and its products.

A brand is 1) emotional and 2) unique to each person. Brand equity is a concept that people use as a substitute for customer loyalty.

This definition raises two questions:

  1. Where do expectations come from?

  2. How do experiences influence our purchase decision?

Where Do Expectations Come from?

Here is a partial list of sources of expectations. You will note that you cannot influence all of these sources. However, you can preempt some of these influences through your website, in your advertisements, and while training your customer-facing employees and distributor partners.

There are six sources of customer expectations:

  1. Organizational promises – Web, advertisements, and data sheets.

  2. Competitor's promises and performance – If they can do it, you should be able to do it too.

  3. Personnel promises – “Lead-time is 30 days, and we will start installing it the next business day.”

  4. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) experiences – Amazon can do it, so why can’t you?

  5. Previous experiences with your business – Last time I paid $X so that is what I will pay again (3 years later).

  6. Comments from friends and associates – “I had a tough time trying to set it up to run my parts.”

These things happen to everyone every day so don’t be shocked when a prospect or customer pulls one or more of these out of their bag of tricks and throws them down on the desk. The best you can do is tell your team to let you know every time they hear one of these and figure out where and how to address the subject first.

How Do Experiences Influence Our Purchase Decision?

Experiences carry more weight than expectations because they actually happened to you or someone you trust. But not all experiences matter. What matters is only the experiences you or others remember. And people generally remember only two parts of the total experience: 1) the most memorable (either great or awful) and 2) the last thing that occurred during the total experience.

For example, one day your dishwasher stopped running mid-cycle. You call your service organization and expected the next-business-day service. Unfortunately, it took two days for the technician to arrive, but that was not critical since you remembered how to wash and dry plates by hand.

When the technician showed up, she was able to repair it in about one hour (which seemed a little long to you). But when she cleaned up, the area around the machine was spotless, and she presented you with the bill that included a 20% discount because she missed the 24-hour response promise.

The most memorable and last experiences were both highly positive so months later, you remember a positive experience. When it comes time to replace any appliance, you are most likely to go back to the dealer which serviced the dishwasher.

How to Ensure Your Post-sales (Aftermarket) Team Is Creating Experiences Like the Dishwasher Repair Person in the Previous Example

The secret sauce of great service experiences is a combination of the following:

  • Excellent hires

  • Well-thought-out onboarding

  • Certifying everyone on the details of their jobs plus company values, customer-facing processes, and continuous improvement

  • Periodic refresher training for everyone

  • Digitizing as much as possible with customers using the systems before the release

  • Empowering everyone to create improvements

  • Ensuring employees embrace their roles

  • Transparent processes

And for everyone in the company:

  • Customer input into the design process

  • User testing before release to manufacturing

  • Final testers go on service calls with field service technicians

  • Impartial reviews of marketing documents and website before release

Ensuring great customer experiences is everyone’s job. But the post-sales team has some unique responsibilities so make sure everyone else is supporting them.


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