What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with the service side of an organization? The other day, after the multi-click process of an online order, I realized (too late) that I’d ordered the wrong product. When it arrived, I reached out to the service support team to exchange the product, only to find out the company was going to let me keep the product I ordered and ship me my originally desired product, free of charge.

Now, this service didn’t cost the company much; for many companies, the initial cost of product sales is negligible in relation to the business gained through future service. But, the level of care and investment they put into the service side of their business was enough to win my customer loyalty for good – which is exactly why modern companies should think of service as the new product, with a specific focus on maximizing product uptime.

In today’s changing world, product advancements alone will not enable manufacturers to gain or sustain the competitive differentiation needed to ensure long term financial performance. Shifting from a product-led growth strategy – which has sustained OEMs for many decades – to a service-led growth strategy will require OEMs to embrace change, think differently, act differently, and embrace technology to completely transform their after-sales service functions.

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 about the future of service and product uptime, and here’s what Syncron’s Gary Brooks and Erik Lindholm, along with The Service Council’s Sumair Dutta, had to say.

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Gary Brooks on service as the new product.

With the shift in focus to after-sales service, 2018 is well positioned to be the breakout year for the transition from a break-fix service model to a model focused on maximizing product uptime. Fueled by factors like declining product margins, changing customer demands, and declining tech costs, these accelerations are already gaining momentum on the service side of the house when it comes to finding new sources of revenue and profit.

McKinsey and Company recently revealed that upwards of 15 percent of OEMs' total revenues come from parts and service. Click To Tweet

Sumair Dutta on building business models around product uptime.

How can we better measure, understand, and improve the customer experience? Should we move from a break-fix model to an uptime-driven, predictive strategy? What are the revenue implications of these predictive models? This year, after-sales service leaders will be hyper-focused on answering these questions and hammering out their business models around product uptime.

Bain and Co. suggests that service has an average gross margin of 39 percent. Click To Tweet

Erik Lindholm on IoT’s impact on after-sales service.

2017 brought immense change to the world of after-sales service. From advanced emerging technology, to a shift in focus to a more customer-driven model, the manufacturing industry is heading into a new era that centers on the most important metric in service: uptime. As it pertains to service, product uptime is the largest opportunity on the horizon for manufacturers, and thanks to IoT, we have enough proof that they can use intelligent data and analytics to improve product uptime in their after-sales service strategies.

Transforming service into the new product can’t be achieved by simply doing the same things better. OEMs need to start viewing their service organizations through completely different lenses to remove the historical constraints limiting innovation and the speed of adoption.

Organizations that build a culture around maximizing product uptime and delivering exceptional after-sales service experiences will be the early adopters of technology, and the first to start reaping the rewards.

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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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