In a joint report by IDC and UPS, one-third of midsize industrial machinery manufacturers say that up to 75% of their profitability comes from parts, service and consumables; 78% say their customers’ expectations for aftersales services are rising. However, only 12% consider aftersales and service important differentiators for their businesses. But with an average equipment lifespan of 10-19 years, aftersale services could provide new revenue opportunities inbetween purchases.
But driving awareness around aftersale support across a broad range of industries, reqions, and facilities can be challenging. Aditionally, responding to service requests across this broad spectrum is also a challenge. 60% of manufacturers state their response time for new parts or machine repair is between 2-3 days, with 21% stating it can take up to a week. A delay in downtime and reponse can tarnish long established relationships as well as dissuade future orders.
With 44% of manufacturers investing in 3rd party service and support programs, many companies still fail to invest in the communication programs required to drive these programs. In order to fully leverage aftersale programs, companies must execute programs that allow them to educate customers on services offered, triage inbound requests, manage expectations, and deliver timely follow-up communications.
Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer. An aftersale campaign should deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history. The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered. The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact’s digital body language and purchase history.
Below are 11 steps for developing an aftersale campaign.
- Consider your audiences; customers who have purchased previously, customers who have used previous aftersales services, customers who have purchased previously and engaged with a digital product catalog, product-centric webpage, or product-centric email, channel partners who sell products, and opt-ins by way of subscription pages and/or product registration pages.
- Segment and assign each audience to the correct campaign path. Segmentation of customers should be based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use, previous aftersale services, cadence of aftersale services rendered, purchase date, region, industry, and factory. If contacts were captured during product registration then segmentation may also include requests for opt-in information about a particular product (not directly sales related) and/or notifications of offers and promotions (sales related).
- Communicate the value received by the customer. This message should be consistent with the digital body language of the contact, value gained through aftersale service, and risk avoided through aftersale service. Emphasize the investment already made by the customer and the importance of maintaining that investment. Focus on content that delivers on “Learn how”, “Did you know”, and lastly “Are you interested”.
- Leverage opt-ins or already existing registration forms to capture nominal, product, reseller, and purchase information as well as intended usage. This information can be used to proactively trigger communications that are specific to the product, region, useage, and service offering.
- Provide education communications relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history. As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into an email based on the customer journey defined by the contact. One journey may focus on maintenance/upkeep of Product A. One journey may focus on getting more out of Product A by using the product in various ways. One journey may focus on Tips and Tricks for using Product A. In the sidebar of the email, place catalyst options dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A.
- Deliver thought leadership content relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history. As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into the email based on the customer journey defined by the contact. One journey may focus on Industry Trends for Sub-Vertical A. One journey may focus on safety and efficiency processes. One journey may focus on sustainability and innovation within manufacturing. In the sidebar of the email catalyst options will be placed, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A
- Execute the right aftersale offer at a time most appropriate to the customer. This could be an email containing an offer, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A. It’s recommended a scoring process is defined by the manufacturer. Depending on the engagement score throughout this campaign, contacts may be contacted by sales, entered into a longer educational nurture campaign, or simply exited from the campaign.
- Consider other audience channels. Capturing activity against a partner channel webpage, or a channel portal, may be necessary. Engagement with these designated pages, as well as purchase history, will determine which aftersale offers are presented.
- Test. Test. Test. Understand which communications and channels work best with each audience.
- Work to capture the SKU upon purchase. SKUs will initially be captured in a system outside of your marketing automation tool. Because purchase history will be captured, it should be placed in a Custom Object in order to map multiple purchases to one contact. Any data that has a one to one relationship, and no historical aspects, should be stored against the contact record. Any data in which multiple instances could occur, such as purchase information, should be stored as a Custom Object to track all purchases and the related information separately. This information can then be mapped back to the contact. Data to capture includes Nominal (Contact and Company name, address and communication methods), Product Information (Model, Version, Serial Number), Reseller information (Reseller, location, channel), Purchase Information (Price paid, referring source, decision factors, other products owned), Intended Usage (For what industry and purpose the products are intended).
- Nurture and educate the customer throughout the aftersale service deployment. Don't forget to send a confirmation of the aftersale request. There should be contact information available in case the aftersale service is not received when estimated. Educational content delivered throughout the aftersale service period should provide information on studies, results, and "how to" information. Content should also provide information on advances in innovation and trends relative to the industry or product. At the conclusion of the aftersale service, provide a feedback form to collect information on both the service and the process.
What steps would you add to an aftersale campaign?