Closing the gap between manufacturers of serviceable products and their consumers.

Technology is enabling Manufacturers to overcome the challenges of building brand loyalty with consumers through a complex distribution channel.

Let’s review the scenario below:

When a serviceable product is not purchased directly from the manufacturer, often multiple organisations are involved in the sales, installation, and service of the product. Since, post sales service can be delivered by the manufacturer, distributor, or any of the organisations involved in the cycle, they are faced with some of the following challenges:

  • Manufacturers don’t know the quality of service provided to the end consumer;
  • Consumers don’t know whether the manufacture backs the service provider;
  • Distributors/retailers aren’t aware of when the equipment needs to be serviced

Addressing these challenges increases loyalty across the sales and service channel for the Manufacturer/Brand Owner. The good news is that these challenges can be addressed using technology, some mature and some not so mature.

Putting sensors into equipment to capture information that enables the prediction of service requirements is one of the techniques manufacturers are adopting to help provide good customer service. This generates large amounts of useful data that can be analysed and used to help the service channel deliver services that will increase loyalty. For example, knowing when the next service is due is useful to the consumer, therefore gives the service provider a reason to contact the consumer and maintain a relationship with the consumer. The manufacturer is facilitating the sharing of this information which gives the consumer the comfort that they are being looked after by the manufacturer.

Technology enables manufacturers to communicate with the consumers without the expense of large contact centres. Driving communication between the end consumer and the manufacturer enables the manufacturer to collect information about the quality of service provided to consumers by service providers. The manufacturer can use this feedback to assess the performance of the service providers and decide how to best invest in the channels that support the sales and service of their products. Additionally, digital channels with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence provide consumers an efficient way to get information from manufacturers without dramatically increasing cost overheads. These include the use of chat-bots, digital catalogues, online videos and 3D visual representation of products. All this adds value to the consumer without the need for creating stores or showrooms or building bigger contact centres.

Using information available from the sales and service processes improves the customer’s experience which will increase Brand Loyalty. Organisations need to consider how they will use the technology to differentiate from their competitors, which is why Brand Loyalty is worth the investment. The technology is an enabler, organisations need to work on how they will manage large amounts of information collected, including how they will provide the information at the right time to the right person.

As technology continues to enable manufacturers to communicate efficiently with consumers across the channel, how will this affect the role of the distribution network and resellers?