‘Being on par in terms of price & quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.’ ~ Tony Allesandra
The above quote, illustrates the importance of customer service & how present day manufacturers should not be content by just creating a brilliant product, but to stand out, with enhanced customer’s satisfaction that can help bringing in increased revenues.
Warranty & service are two important parameters, that can help global enterprises, achieve the above.
Warranty is the assurance on the quality of any product, for a fixed period. If the consumer is facing any trouble using the product for a specified duration, he/she can raise a complaint & get it fixed without any charge or as applicable.
Service is the process of maintaining a product irrespective of whether the product is under warranty period or not. The maintenance of a product, can be “need based” for non-performing products or regular service for its smooth functioning.
For today’s businesses, gaining workable insights from customers’ warranty & service data requires a comprehensive system, which interlinks all the business functions.
78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction, or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Source: American Express Survey.
The warranty/service management process, ideally touches multiple business functions within the organization: product & quality management; sales & service; materials management; contract management; claims processing; finance, as well as electronic distribution.
The following areas need to be considered, while developing a worthy warranty/service strategy:
- Marketing- The link between warranty/servicing & marketing needs to be defined, when products are being developed. The strategies planned together, should be in proper alignment.
- Product quality- Warranty/Service data is a brilliant input to improve product quality through the following:
- Component Supplier issues – Supplier quality issues can be identified by the warranty/service claims. The claims, which are higher for certain suppliers, can provide insights of the product quality issues of the supplier. This helps in identifying & taking action on specific suppliers, to reduce future problems.
- Production issues – When products manufactured in certain plants makes higher warranty/service claims, those units can be monitored, to ensure better production quality.
- Customer usage – Details of products malfunctioning at a higher rate during customer usage, can help in identifying and facilitating decisions related to the warranty/service policy.
- Service logistics- To address warranty failures, planning & execution of service logistics is very crucial. Tracking material in transit can help identify, the delays in a product reaching a customer. Inadequate planning/delays in servicing, can lead to poor customer service and may affect future sales & poor customer feedback/spread a negative word of mouth.
- Legal- Administering warranty/service criteria is very important. Successful manufacturers ensure that their warranty administrators & legal team work concurrently in all aspects for better warranty policy.
- Internet of things- It allows products to be interlinked, having a critical impact on warranty processes. Products, which are connected can be automatically registered. Sensors that track the operating conditions, also help to ensure that product is handled well, else it may affect the warranty claims. The machine data after service or repair can be immediately verified, which enables faster turnaround times.
Manufacturers need to invest, due time while crafting & reviewing their warranty/service strategies, while keeping in mind factors like the above that can provide useful information & ensure exclusivity of their product in the market, by providing a good service/ warranty to customers. Many manufacturers, have their service partners, spread across geographies. Maintaining their repository & performance is equally a critical aspect to fuel the success of the above.
An ERP, can help to a great extent in tracking the different stages & processes of a product to identify the critical road blocks, factors diminishing the product quality & service levels for a customer. It can help in streamlining the operational efficiency & can help manufacturers get insights from different departments & facilitate in connecting the dots, to bridge the gap between efficiencies in internal processes & customer experience.
Let’s take a quick look, at few offerings a robust ERP can provide, to help in monitoring & improving the service levels:
- Material requirement planning: It is a production planning, scheduling & inventory visibility system used to track & manage the production process. For a well-planned product defining the warranty & service scheme, can be more effective while understanding the different stages of the same.
- Quality management: It is important, to inspect the condition of the materials & products at the procurement & production stage, to get an assurance that the products meet the expectations of your customers. Attention, to different aspects of quality at an opportune moment, can help minimize warranty/service claims.
- Supplier management: Provides a central repository, to manage all the supplier related information, with multiple geographical existence. It will be easy, to identify the suppliers, monitor the feedback on their service quality & defining appropriate targets/ benchmarks to address the service aspects.
- Sales register/ Customer visit report: A report with information on sales & customer details can be useful. It can also provide inventory information. Customer visit report can help track the responses recorded by a sales person, at the time of visit to a customer’s site. These details, can help provide relevant information that can help take relevant measures, to improve the service levels.
- Reports: Various supplier/customer wise reports can provide visibility and help in tracking of different aspects such as, debtors/creditors ageing with drill down to invoice level, location/branch wise sales analysis for quantity & value, top customers for quantity & value, top selling products for quantity & value, monthly/yearly sales trend, stock ageing report etc.
- Discounts matrix/ price list & discount management: Managing the discount matrix based on the warranty of different products. Discounts can be defined by item, value, quantity wise & for total order value. Different discount logics can be applied, like Marginal, Multiple, Provisional Marginal. It can be applied to a specific customer or via Price Book.
- Mobile app for sales field: Empowering the sales team to get access, to the important information related to stocks, service/warranty details etc. can help them provide instant response to customer thus eliminating the time gap. Imagine a situation, where your urgent approval is needed for service related aspect & you are not in office, should that stop this request from being processed? What if, this could be accessed & approved in your ERP through your mobile phone? Yes, a mobile ERP solution, can be a game changer.
- Sales return management: It is important to maintain a healthy customer & vendor relationship, because timely repairs, replacement of damaged items, issuing credit for returned items etc. form part of a good customer service strategy. Sales return management, facilitates easy management of customer goods returns, while tracking the impact on inventory & financial transactions.
There are many other features, which an ERP can offer towards providing relevant information & ensuring smooth functioning of your business processes with an integrated system.
Consistently amazing customer service doesn't happen by accident. It happens on purpose! For offering/maintaining great service & warranty, it is important to have an integrated system that can provide visibility into different areas. Quick action & decisions to be taken on the go, is the need of the hour. The offerings of EPPS ERP Solutions, can provide useful information to manage the different aspects of customer service. Click here to know more.
Benefit with a modern, easily scalable & flexible ERP solution from EPPS ERP Solutions. Now, it’s easy to enhance your business productivity while strategizing & monitoring customer service levels, for your organization.