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How digital replicas help manufacturers enhance their after sales CX

Parts identification Customer Experience

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There is a strong commercial argument for organisations to invest in an enhanced customer experience (CX) – with a growing wealth of evidence demonstrating the potential ROI this provides.

For instance, the influential research and advisory firm Forrester has found that customers are 2.7x more likely to spend more when companies communicate clearly and 2.4x more likely to stay loyal when their problems are solved quickly. Many product manufacturers understand this importance and provide an enhanced CX for the initial sale of products. But this does not always extend to the aftersales experience.

The replacement parts market can often feel awkward and difficult to negotiate. Customers wanting to carry out repairs and maintenance regularly need to wade through thick instruction manuals and bulky product catalogues to find the right part name and product number, before placing orders. It can lead to customers making ordering errors – which can prove frustrating, costly and time-consuming for everyone involved.

When a typical consumer can visit a website like Amazon, search for a product, check its spec, see a demonstration video and place an order with a few taps of a smartphone, it’s an approach to customer service that is feeling increasingly outdated.

The emergence of digital twin technology, however, has the potential to revolutionise this market. It is allowing manufacturing to host 3D digital replicas online and provide customers with clear guidance – either with their repairs or when ordering parts.

For example, when compared to traditional instruction manuals, this 3D approach has been shown to help people complete repair tasks 50% faster. Sophisticated platforms can also allow the end users to see the replica product, and all its various components, from any angle. Digital animations can also show customers how products can be taken apart and put back together.

Not only does this help customers know what to do, it limits their mistakes – both in their repair work and when ordering parts. When these platforms are connected to eCommerce systems, customers can also view the individual components, see all the relevant details, including prices and stock levels, and order parts there and then.

The ease of use, and enjoyment involved, in these experiences is in stark contrast to the long winded and error strewn nature of the traditional approach, which often relies on customers to use PDF documentation, send emails and call customer support agents for help.

An enhanced CX using 3D digital replicas, will help customers to self-serve quickly, however. In the short term, this can provide companies with a significant competitive edge, by helping to increase part sales. This is no small consideration as it will help many businesses head off the threats posed by third-party digital marketplaces.

In the long term, this enhanced CX can only help to strengthen customer loyalty. By making life simple for the end user, they will be improving the overall experience of the brand and helping to increase customer retention.

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