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In our webinar we dive deep into the customer journey, business challenges and solutions on how to get from traditional to smart (and digital) B2C-like after-sales business.

After-sales is one of the cornerstones in business growth and profitability for manufacturers nowadays. Getting this critical area digitized means changing (often smoothly running) but complex processes, taking down silos, integrating IT-systems and overcoming the channel conflict.

About a year ago, Copperberg, who bring together the manufacturing community in order to grow and build relationships and facilitate the exchange of information globally, conducted an extensive survey amongst B2B leaders within the manufacturing-sector.

The report not only stated how important it is nowadays to create a B2C-like user experience. As expected the majority of manufacturers already have an online presence (to various degrees of maturity), but one of the main findings was that close-to-all respondents report a thorough digital ambition to improve and expand to the next-level.

So the real challenge at the moment is not how to get started, but how to take the next step. However, many manufacturers face limitations of their current digital commerce solution and need to think about replatforming to a new commerce solution in order to allow further growth of sales or improvement of customer satisfaction.

Manufacturers need to find a solution that supports taking each step at a time, to finally achieve a B2C-like one-stop-shop experience via a personalized customer portal.

We have recorded our webinar where Thomas Igou (Copperberg), Tobias Giese (Intershop) and Dirk-Jan Goudswaard (ShipSupport) present the challenges manufacturers have to overcome when digitizing, a solution to all questions that accompany this process, and take a look at the personalized digital customer platform that ShipSupport has developed from an MVP within a year and the next levels they entered into directly after.

Watch after-sales webinar now!

What are the current challenges in digitizing manufacturing?

A machine operator nowadays not only uses a machine. He or she is responsible for production, meeting deadlines, so they need to keep machines running, keep it in sync with all the other machines of the firm, overlooking the wear, maintaining cycles and make sure that everyone who is handling them knows what they are doing. When the machine breaks down unexpectedly, the company loses money, and a complex process gets started.

Is a spare part needed? A wearable torn? Just consumables missing? A machine operator must handle multiple possible issues simultaneously because if a machine stops working, there is a complex supply chain to address his or her problem. Ideally, the problem is fixed for a good price and as soon as possible. Time is money! The issue is, what causes dissatisfaction.

The customer doesn’t want to think about if the manufacturer, the distributor, the retailer or a marketplace is the right place to address it. Who is to contact? The sales rep? Customer service? A service technician? Or can the spare part be identified using VR technology and an exploded view of your machine? It can be overwhelming, so the digital way needs to be a new and easy option to deal with it. 

A business buyer is also a consumer, using digital in his private life to order food, clothes and whatsoever. He or she can find invoices, reorder or return goods quickly and find all relevant info themselves. This experience is what is also expected as a business buyer.

The customer life cycle in B2B is very complex.

The after-sales business, such as selling spare parts, consumables and services, often more than double the value of the initial investment of the machine. Besides that after-sales profitability is a major part of a company's profitability. 

The after-sales is oftentimes the starting point for a new machine as well, because the old one is repaired one last time or no longer suits all the business needs. If manufacturers are aware of what their customers are planning in their future, after-sales is a tool to boost customer loyalty by optimized customer experience and essential to maximizing customer lifetime value.

Tobias states in the webinar: “The digital channel always starts with an information portal, for example, a homepage with product information. Extend it later with commerce functionality, which then profits from precise digital product data. To really step up, you can evolve this into an information, ordering and service portal, which is personalized to each customer after login. The future could be a smart portal with intelligent services, that run proactively or predictive.“

The path to towards next-level after-sales is digital and smart

A digital portal should provide real-time information of all installed machines and their status. The machine operator would easily find support for the issue without knowing internal processes of the underlying supply chain – from having a detailed list of spare parts for exactly that machine to the status of wearables or the booking of a service technician.  

Our webinar offers a close look into the ideal customer portal with B2C-like customer experience and explains tips to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Additionally, our customer ShipSupport shares insights about their challenges and solutions within the complex, capital intensive maritime industry. Its aftermarket is still at the verge of digitization, for change is risky.

A breakdown of a vessel can cost up to 100k EURO per day. 30.000 vessel owners spend about €36 billion on about 107.000 vessels, which makes their stakeholders hesitant to try out new ways of working. The typical digital businesses tackling this market are still “closed” and based on creating quotes, and offer no great personalization. 

ShipSupport, on the other hand, disrupts these processes by offering an open, easy and customer-centric platform. Dirk-Jan Goudswaard, Director Marketing at ShipSupport, presents it in our webinar.

If you seek information on how to reduce cost per transaction, attract new customers, improve customer loyalty and offer a B2C-like user experience all while boosting your after-sales business, you shouldn’t miss out on this webinar together with Copperberg.

Watch after-sales webinar now!