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Why giving customers easy access to parts information is essential

Parts identification SamsonVT Aftersales

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If manufacturers want to build better relationships with their customers, providing easy access to after sales information is a must.
When a machine or vehicle needs components replaced, customers shouldn’t be left frustrated trying to figure out what the part is called, what the right product number is or how they can order it.
This isn’t always the case, however. A study conducted for the European automobile industry found that at least 10% of parts are not ‘unequivocally identifiable’ due to poor availability of information, leading to a high volume of calls being placed with after sales teams.
To reduce this problem and make life easier for customers, manufacturers have traditionally created product catalogues that are often printed in several languages. They have also needed
to employ parts advisors to assist confused customers calling for help.
Yet, in today’s digital age, we all have the ability to instantly search and find information about consumer products on our smartphones. As a result, customers in the after sales market are now expecting better access to accurate information, on demand.

Customers want to find parts information quickly and feel confident when placing orders. They don’t want to jump through hoops or be left worrying whether they have ordered the right part. In this ‘everything now’ society, we’ve seen how consumers have gravitated towards brands such as Amazon, that have made the process of buying products super simple. And the same will happen in the after sales world. It’s the main reason why many manufacturers are looking to move away from those traditional solutions and support customers with digital tools. This includes the creation of digital twins that
are accessible on a smartphone or tablet.

Research by the Aberdeen Group has shown that where visual data discovery tools are deployed, users are 28% more likely to find information quickly. And digital twinning builds on that.
This technology presents customers with 3D models that replicate products and allows them to match parts to the product in front of them. One big advantage of this approach is that it also enables the user to pull products apart so they can inspect its individual components, in relation to where they fit in the product. It also means
that, alongside this visual representation, customers can see all information relevant to each individual part, including its name, spec, purpose, order number, etc.

If the platform that is hosting the digital twin is also integrated with an ecommerce platform, this information can also include price and stock levels – as well as the ability to place orders there and then. When compared to flicking through bulky product catalogues, this creates a far more transparent and connected process, along with numerous extra benefits. This includes enhanced customer service levels that lead to greater long-term loyalty. And, when ecommerce platforms are integrated, it will also increase direct sales – reducing the
propensity for customers to buy from third parties or digital marketplaces.

The increased accuracy of the information being provided will also help to reduce the potential for ordering errors which, in turn, will reduce the costs incurred when products are returned and limit the time customers are left unable to use their product. Ultimately, by providing easy access to accurate information, manufacturers will be able to build better relationships with their customers and give themselves a clear competitive advantage.

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Get your free guide:

If only your parts service was as good as your products.