Why are Aftersales Important to a Company Dealing with Repairs and Warranties?
Aftersales service refers to the additional services rendered to a customer once they have completed their purchase. In modern times it is not surprising for the seller or the manufacturer to keep in contact with the buyer in one way or another. That is why a year after buying the IPhone 6, an Apple customer still gets software updates. After sale services are essential for a seller to remain competitive, especially since many companies offer similar services. Some aftersales services such as warranties give the customer the perception that a product is durable and of high quality. After sale services are no longer viewed as an expense to businesses. Rather they present an opportunity for an entity to enhance its market. A company dealing with after sales should understand the impact of aftersales and examine its performance parameters before measuring its aftersales performance and instituting changes to its services.
Aftersales services can influence customer behavior. After sale services can affect customer loyalty, satisfaction and can go on to determine the profitability of a company. When a client's satisfaction levels are influenced, the customer's purchase intentions are also altered. Customers who experience positive satisfaction levels because of aftersales service are more likely to buy from the same company. The same effect is seen in the quality of relations between sellers and buyers. Furthermore, providing customers with quality after sales service ensures that clients provide positive reviews to other potential customers through word of mouth (64-65).
Further, aftersales services can provide some companies with a new source of revenue. Companies stand to make money by offering their clients with additional services (11). For instance, by providing post-sale repair services, a company can earn revenue when the customers pay for repairs. Moreover, electronic companies that offer everyday household electronics can find themselves competing with many firms offering similar products. By providing after sale services, a company can carve out a niche for itself. In a market where products are similar, and differentiation is difficult, after sale services can provide companies with a competitive advantage. It is convenient for a customer to purchase a commodity from a company that has readily available repair services.
Determinants of Performance
Additionally, after sale offerings improve the process of evaluating a new product. After sale services allow a company to keep track of a new product. This allows it to determine whether a product is operating as required or if it needs modifications to compete in the market or to satisfy customers. When clients have to take a companies' appliances to third party electricians for maintenance, upgrade or repair, then information on the product does not go back to the original manufacturer or retailer. Thus, they would have no way of determining if a product needs modifications or if the electronic is working within the set parameters. Thus, by offering after sales services, a company can enhance the success of their product.
If the repair shop wishes to improve its profitability in the electronic repair and warranty business, then it should consider the following:
One, the firm should look at its capacity to provide the service and its flexibility. The ability to provide the service can be measured through analyzing the equipment available and the employee skill set and whether any of variables require improvement (122-123).Second, the company should factor in the customer and answer questions such as: Is the company satisfying customer demand? What are the client's needs? Is there a market niche? Such questions point out any inefficiencies and performance gaps on the side of the service provider.
Third, the service provider should determine the extent of their control over the market. This refers to the ability of a company to influence the market within which it operates. For instance, the drop in profits could be attributed to heavy competition. Thus, in such a situation, a remedy could be to find a niche market to serve. For instance, only Samsung products. Fourth, the company should analyze its relationship with its clients. Relationship analysis and management involve checking the type or relationship between the enterprise and the client, the closeness, and the degree of loyalty among other parameters. Companies that wish to develop long term relations with their clients need to invest in the relationship in a way that will make it unnecessary for the customer to switch.
XCOR Method of Measuring Aftersales
The XCOR (Extended Chain Operations Reference) technique arises from the combination of the Supply, Design, Market, and Customer Chain Operations Reference Models. All these models analyze different aspects of a businessts environment. However, by combining them, an entity develops a holistic picture of its operations and subsequently can generate and assign variables and indicators to measure its aftersales performance. The XCOR methodology obtains its results through three main techniques. First, it apportions performance attributes. These characteristics refer to the process of developing parameters to measure company targets with internal and external benchmarks (77-79).
By merging internal performance dimensions with those of the outside world, a company can easily compare its progress with that of its competitors. Similarly, some targets are good enough to satisfy internal targets, but they may not be sufficient enough for the outside world. Secondly, key performance indicators are used to monitor the progress of a company by setting performance dimensions with targets. These key performance indicators show whether a company is reaching its desired targets. For instance, the aftersalest targets could be to offer clients with repair works for a wide variety of electronics. Thus, clients would be able to have their electronics repaired at the same place (77-79).
Lastly, the XCOR methodology observes the tactical and operational plans. Operational plans refer to day to day planning activities. Tactical plans occur periodically. Thus, by monitoring the tactical and operational plans, the XCOR technique can provide timely information on variations and a diagnosis. Additionally, the XCOR examines the agility, responsiveness, and reliability of the aftersales services to determine performance.
Types of After-sale Teams That A Repair Shop Can Use
One type of after sale team is self-support. In such a situation, the store representatives work independently of supervision because they are trained to handle to customer requests by themselves. Self-support enhances autonomy and reduces bureaucracy. As such, the process has fewer complications. Thus it is efficient. Secondly, there is the core team support whereby a dedicated team of people who understand the product are on standby to offer assistance to the client if the first representative is unable to help. Backup support teams are usually integrated with the first representatives. Lastly, aftersales teams could be external entities providing support. These external entities could be third parties with no affiliation to the company or ones beyond the company's sphere of influence.
The company involved in the warranty and repair should consider the profitability/attractiveness of the aftersales business model. The attractiveness of the market is determined by the degree of competition, profit margins, and the number of customers available (208-209).The company could be losing money because of investing in an overcrowded market segment. As such, the service provider could divest from the market or expand their business portfolio to other forms of business that do not correlate. Also, the service provider should consider alternative options such as franchising or partnerships. A franchise will give the repair company with exclusivity to use a bigger brand's name to attract clients. On the other hand, partnerships will reduce competition and will allow companies to bring together their individual strengths.
Ensuring the Efficiency Of Aftersales Services
First, the service provider has to give its clients accurate and understandable information on their products and services. This information prevents a situation whereby the company and the client conflict because of a difference in understanding. Second, the repair shop has to maintain communication with its customers (5154-5155). As such, customers can have their problems resolved remotely. Moreover, remote assistance may save customers the hassle of visiting the service provider in the event of a problem. Also, high-value clients can be given priority treatment through such channels. For instance, through twenty-four-hour services. Lastly, the repair shop should have a strategy for it's after sales service. The strategy should be aligned to the business's overall objective.
Aftersales services affect the purchasing patterns of customers and their perception of a business. A positive after sale experience correlates with a positive perception of the firm. Also, companies can use the process to evaluate their products and to increase revenue. The XCOR methods provide businesses with a holistic way of measuring aftersales performance. Aside from the XCOR methodology, a repair shop business has to consider the attractiveness of the market and alternative course of action, before coming up with plans to ensure the aftersales services run smoothly and efficiently.
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