This past Sunday night, Americans crowded around their digital screens to experience the most exhilarating and artistic display of athletic competition known to mankind: Superbowl LII commercials. Sure, there was a big game going on, too, but between plays, companies battled it out primetime-style for the coveted title of Best Superbowl Commercial 2018.

But among the many, one advertisement didn’t sit so well with their audience of primarily Generations X, Y and Baby Boomers: Apple’s. The tech company’s spot features a kid (most likely Gen Z), hanging in her Brooklyn backyard with an iPad Pro. When a neighbor asks her what she’s doing on her computer, she quickly questions, “What’s a computer?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQB2NjhJHvY
Apple Commercial Still

The ad is meant to show the versatility of the technology, but it’s the fact that in this not-so-futuristic Apple world, traditional computers are so outdated that a modern day child doesn’t even know what they are that disturbed so many of the country’s floppy disk hoarders. While the idea of computers being obsolete may be a little bit of a stretch for 2018, many of our nation’s ankle biters only know the aforementioned hardware as the “save” icon on their touchscreens, so it’s only a matter of time before their digital world usurps our traditional one, right?

Simply put, we’re in the middle of one of the most impactful demographic shifts we’ll experience in our lifetime. Millennials are well on their way to becoming the largest generation in the global workforce. What’s more, this tech savvy, always connected, social media enabled generation has a reputation of being impatient and needing immediate gratification; especially when it comes to service demand. That’s why it’s crucial for companies like manufacturers to embrace the digitization of the future, or else they’ll be next on the Superbowl LIII chopping block.

In our newest eBook, “2018 After-sales Service Predictions: Strategies for Empowering Manufacturers to Deliver Game-Changing Value,” we asked some after-sales service industry thought leaders to share their insights on what this digital change will look like in 2018, and here’s what The Service Council’s Sumair Dutta, Executive Advisor Friedrich Baumann, and Siemens’ Carsten Knudsen had to say.

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Sumair on moving away from “promised” technologies:

As trends like predictive analytics, blockchain, IoT, and other emerging technologies carry over and evolve into 2018, we’re going to see better efficiencies, better customer satisfaction, and better business performance. But, while those improvements are attainable in theory, it’s going to take a good amount of effort in implementation to go from vision to results. With a greater level of maturity in approaching these technologies and analyzing their potential areas of weakness, these tools will have a better shot at success.

How can manufacturers solve some of their biggest problems and start seeing results where they need them most? It starts by attaching resources to these issues and moving away from “promised” technologies, to actual implemented and embedded strategies. The technology is there, and there’s more to be done from a testing and regulatory perspective, but implementation is the first step in organization-wide digital transformation. 

#Digitization starts by moving away from 'promised' technologies, to actual implemented and embedded strategies. Click To Tweet

Friedrich on raising the bar on digitization and service:

A change from brick-and-mortar sales into a more digital, web-based sales model means that manufacturers should expect a shift to an online presence in part sales. While the industry remains somewhat conservative, this digital change is already happening on the consumer side.

Additionally, technology on the service side needs to increase visibility and transparency of the repair process, give better overall measurement of throughput, find the most efficient paths for service diagnostics and repairs, and, ultimately, automate the entire process of data exchange. For example, when a truck comes into the repair facility, there should already be an existing repair/service order started and a diagnostic code in the OEM system, giving the technician a chance to make the right repairs, faster.

Carsten on customer expectations in an always connected world:

Digitization and globalization have created an always connected world. The speed at which data and information travel is faster than ever, and is only expected to increase. And, this on-demand economy has led to a very well-informed customer base with extremely high expectations.

Customers can now find competitive information and seek peer reviews faster than ever, and this is forcing brands to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. And, brands that digitize end-to-end processes will win.

#Digitization and #globalization have created an always connected world. Click To Tweet

For manufacturers specifically, emerging technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics are providing an opportunity to embrace this digital change. And, to meet increased customer expectations, many leading brands are realizing that an optimized after-sales service organization ultimately improves the customer experience and increases financial performance.

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Want more insight into 2018? Download our brand new ebook today to hear more from some of the industry’s thought leaders on the major trends manufacturers will see in 2018 and beyond, and how to implement new business processes and technologies to win.

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