How Technology Is Driving Change In After-Sales Service Industry
Today, employing a decent after-sales service team that can patiently handle customers and resolve their issues throughout the product lifecycle, is imperative.
Encountering product-related hassles after making a purchase is a common issue faced by many consumers. It could be after buying a television or during the payment of a Netflix subscription. Such issues often annoy consumers and make them impatient to look out for quick solutions. Moreover, with the upsurge of more and more communicating channels, it is even easier now for consumers to post complaints on a brand’s social media page, which could adversely impact the brand’s image.
As a result, employing a decent after-sales service team that can patiently handle customers and resolve their issues throughout the product lifecycle, is imperative. This will ensure happy customers and help the brands retain them for a lifetime.
But, is there a way to make this segment more efficient? Absolutely!
Technology has touched almost every domain in the world.It has not only enabled brands to create innovative customer offerings, but also helped them shape the overall customer experience. Artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), all are perfect testimonies.
Let’s look at some of these technologies and their impact on the after-sales services segment of consumer electronics brands:
It is an innovation which is empowering brands to simplify customer interaction with zero human involvement and least customer service costs. For instance, when we have any query while shopping online, many times we interact with chatbots that may address many of our issues. Say if it is a TV or a mobile device user gets relevant recommendations based on the observed usage behavioral pattern.
Similarly, in service, consider a scenario where a service chatbot assisting an engineer in taking intelligent repair decisions. AI can also be used to develop predictive ability of a system. It can easily be implemented if the company has vast database of possible use-cases and probable solutions resulting in predicting ability of the system. Thus, reducing the overall service delivery time.
Instant Messaging – Another innovation, which is driving change in enterprise logistics and transport services is Internet of Things. For instance, brands at present are able to keep their customers updated after they make an online purchase. This wasn’t the case earlier. Back then, customers were usually uninformed about the delivery of a product. Since they remained less informed, it put them in a situation where they had no choice but to keep calling the company for updates. Similarly, in service it is related to spare parts movements.It enables both businesses and customers to have real-time information after an order is placed. Communication is the real driver of success for any business.
While customers are already fed up with using SMS’ and opening emails, brands must come up with newer, quicker and smoother ways to interact with their customers. Keeping this in view, several brands are integrating WhatsApp into their digital service channels and thus strengthening their communication process. This significantly improves the service delivery of businesses and streamlines the after-sales service teams.
Internet of things
Appliance is broadcasting its health to the customer and the service provider/brand through SMS or notifications through linked app. This interaction helps timely and proactive decision to repair or service the appliance, so it remains healthy and resulting in its longevity. All the appliances at home can thus be connected to interact and keep the customer informed for a more eased life.
Currently, many industry-leading enterprises are leveraging these technologies to offer seamless customer experience. They are rapidly investing in advances such as smart ticketing to automate bookings and schedule calls, digital dashboards to study insights regarding management at all levels and accordingly plan expenditures, digital payment mechanisms to simplify the entire payment process along with offering multifarious benefits to customers, central inventory to ensure availability of products or spare parts without delays, upcountry modules to save stakeholders from false charges and thus save money, and cloud storage to securely store customer data and leverage them whenever required without hassles.
In today’s fast-paced world, where communication is everything, a brand must organize frequent training sessions for their after-sales service teams and assist them in delivering smooth customer services. For after-sales guys, handling annoyed customers is, no doubt, a routine, but it also requires a lot of patience. Managing numerous customer queries is an art, and brands must make sure that each of their representatives is an artist. These professionals should, therefore, be tech-savvy and stay updated with the current trends to deal with customers in the most respected manner, and of course, never lose patience during their work hours.
(The author is Anuj Aggarwal, Co-founder and CTO, 247around)