Service parts management keeps customers happy

Posted on 9 Mar 2017 by The Manufacturer

Gill Devine discusses the role of efficient service parts management in providing effective, customer-pleasing after-sales field service.

In today’s on-demand society, manufacturers are looking for every opportunity to optimise and automate the supply chain process. From early conception to production, careful planning is applied to every system and tool that goes into manufacturing a product.

However, the final step is often overlooked – the area of a business that interacts with customers most often: field service.

The quality of customer interactions with manufacturers of durable goods is becoming increasingly critical to company success. Customers expect services to be faster and more reliable than ever before, and this relies heavily on having efficient after-sales service, which includes the field-service team.

After-sales service should be easy

Most companies understand the importance of providing customers with enough information to resolve issues on their own, as well as reducing response times when this isn’t possible. But where many fall short is in providing the right part when necessary.

In terms of after-sales service, such as repairs, it’s all too often that the technician arrives and has the skillset to fix the problem, but doesn’t have the correct part. Not only will the customer be displeased, but the investment in the field-service management technology becomes hard to justify.

How can this be resolved?

Resolving these types of customer issues and experiences is possible with the addition of service parts management solutions, which can easily integrate with existing scheduling solutions, ensuring that when technicians arrives at the right place at the right time, they have the right parts to repair whatever is broken.

The benefits of good service parts management include three important areas:

Upcoming maintenance can be predicted

First, using the right technology; manufacturers can quickly see any repeat patterns in repair jobs. For example, they can tell if technicians are making visits to multiple customers to repair the same issue on the same piece of equipment. This visibility means that it’s easier to predict when another customer may experience an issue in the future.

Healthier interactions between customer and technician

Second, improving maintenance visits by ensuring that adequate parts are in stock to provide time-efficient service results in customers being more likely to view technicians as trusted advisors.

Technicians are the ‘face’ of the brand, and are key to its success. Being able to repair a product quickly will not only save the customer time and money, it will also leave them with a positive brand experience.

Increased technician capacity

Last, but not least, ensuring that technicians are stocked with the right parts and able to repair products during the first appointment with a customer means they can make more visits each day. Ultimately, this will increase opportunities for business and improve ROI.

It is easier than ever for customers to switch providers, and the landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. With more rival OEMs and independent service providers, ensuring that your service-part supply chain is as efficient as possible means that you can drive additional value from your field service operations.

To stay in the game, make sure that your technicians are equipped with the right tools for the job, so you can provide the best possible customer experience.

Gill Devine – vice president of Western Europe, Syncron