While some manufacturers shy away from discussing post sales service in their manufacturing marketing materials as a reason to buy their products, most customers consider this a valuable reason that sets one manufacturer apart from another. Make sure your service practices will stand up to scrutiny against your competitors’ practices. If they do, make it a visible part of your manufacturing marketing, including everything from collateral to web design. Learn about how providing great service can help you stand out in our post Differentiation for Manufacturers: Differentiation by Design.
Understand the Customer’s Needs
Occasionally customers get nervous when you talk about after-sale service as part of the manufacturing story, but most appreciate knowing that you have the ability to help and support them if the need arises.
If your product is complex, you will want to ensure that the custom is comfortable that you have the infrastructure in place to help them with installation and setup. That might require a team of mobile technicians, or it could be as simple as a video that you include as part of your web design. Whichever the case, be sure that the customer knows that you are there to help.
If your product requires periodic maintenance, ensure that your manufacturing marketing includes information on the maintenance interval and the length of any potential downtime. Make the instructions for setting up service clear and highly visible.
Any after sale services that you include as part of the purchase should be highlighted in the product specs as well as your marketing materials. If you offer a range of services, be sure to mention the full gamut so that customers that want a lot of hand holding have assurance that you can support them
Select What You Do Well
If there is one aspect of service that you do especially well, be sure to call it out in all your manufacturing marketing materials. It could be as simple as talking about your fleet of mobile technicians who respond within a designated time, or a guarantee that you will provide loaner equipment to prevent downtime if the product fails during the warranty period.
You might have an extensive FAQ page or a customer forum, or 24-hour help desk in multiple languages. This benefits your customer because they can receive immediate help. Perhaps your warranty is longer than any competitor’s warranty. If so, be sure to tout this because it speaks to your product quality as well as your dedication to service.
The important thing is to choose your points and then to be sure to tell the customer why it’s a benefit to them. A lot of manufacturing marketing simply states a feature and leaves it up to the customer to figure out what the benefit to them might be. Don’t leave your customer hanging. Tell them why they should care about whatever service you’re providing so they understand the value you bring to the table.
Don’t Neglect Social Media
Manufacturing companies sometimes think that social media doesn’t matter to them because they sell primarily B2B, but this is really not the case. If your customers post on your forum that they couldn’t get a technician on site or that your product was of poor quality, it can affect future sales. Don’t simply delete the post. Solve the customer’s problem, quickly, politely and visibly.
The same holds true for LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media that your customers use. Have a dedicated individual who is responsible for monitoring the social media channels. This individual should respond quickly to resolve any issues. All responses should be professional and polite, even if the customer is posting an unjustified rant. Responses should also be fast – no more than 24 hours after the first post.
Service is an excellent manufacturing differentiator that should always be included in manufacturing marketing. Just be sure to be specific about the best parts of your service offering, and make the benefit to the customer clear. For the best results, ensure that the service offering is prominent in every part of your manufacturing marketing, including your web design.