Customer Engagement

It’s time to change the thought process of service providers, says Bhaskarudu Peddakotla, Consultant, Mining & Construction Machines.

We are now in the ‘Age of Customers’ where the buyers are empowered and are demanding a high level of commitment from suppliers. Simultaneously, technology is advancing rapidly in the manufacturing of machines, making equipment manufacturers competitive in incorporating the advanced features in their products, ahead of the others. Also, globalization has enabled consumers to get more options while choosing their products. Words like brand value or brand image are fading out as customers are now making their purchase decisions based on their experience of the product, and not on any perceived brand value.

Customers too have to compete to get their business going and to have their growth plans executed profitably. Asset utilization to the extent of 85% (20 hours a day working) has become a common phenomenon with a majority of the customers in order to realize their capital expenditure in the shortest possible time. So, asset reliability with consistent availability has become critical to the profitability of a business.

Customers are seeking products that perform consistently as per their expectation. They also prefer doing business with companies that offer continuous support and guidance. They will appreciate a service provider who will identify gaps in the operation and maintenance practices and advise corrective actions from time to time, rather than simply finding faults after the breakdown of a machine. A debate following a breakdown leads to conflict between the service provider and the customer as both try to defend their line of argument.

Sometimes, the service provider may win but it is at the cost of widening the gap between the customer and the service provider, and the customer may begin to consider alternative options for his new requirements. So, the major differentiator for sustaining businesses today is the quality of the aftermarket service and not just the quality of the product.

The time has come for equipment manufacturers to review their channel partners (dealers) afresh and assess their customer engagement capability. Areas where service providers need to focus:

Site conditions: It is essential for a service provider to study the site operation and maintenance conditions and guide the customer to bridge any gaps. Site conditions include haul roads, gradients, dust suppression, loading pattern, operator’s skills, adherence to scheduled maintenance of the machine, workshop, tools, warehouse, etc. We often see a thorough evaluation of the site conditions when a job is awarded to the service provider on an hourly cost for a certain period of time, with guaranteed availability. But such a focus is required for retail customers as 80% of the customer segment comprises retail customers for all construction machines.

Leveraging technology: This includes data downloading from machines, telematic operating reports, technical inspections, fluid analysis, etc. It is essential for a service provider to display value addition by analysing the data, identifying areas of improvement, and partnering with the customer in fixing the gaps.

Training operators and technicians: Most operators follow the basic operating methods as they are not aware of the advanced features in the machine. For example, they are not aware of the consequences of excess idle run of a machine, excess traveling of an excavator, the appropriate mode selection, gear shifting practices, engine switch on and off practices etc.

There are certain myths such as running the engine on idle means keeping less burden so the engine is extra safe. But the fact is that excess idling leads to issues like diesel dilution, premature wear of engine parts, unnecessary fuel consumption, etc.

Another myth is that more the engine speed, more is the load it takes. But the fact is that in any engine, the torque keeps rising up to a certain speed (say up to 1500 RPM) and starts to drop when speed increases further.

Technicians too need to be well trained; they must adhere to the scheduled maintenance (oil and filter change) and cleaning of the machines, oil storage and transfer etc. By training and monitoring the technicians and guiding the customer, the company will strengthen the bond between the customer and the service provider; which could lead to repeat orders from the satisfied customer.

Unfortunately, many service providers limit their customer services to scheduled calls during the warranty period and doing the documentation; they do not focus much on operational and maintenance practices. The post-mortem on the machine starts once it is down and the debate starts on who is at fault, followed by bargaining from both ends. Surprisingly, about 90% of premature failures are preventable if one has undertaken regular monitoring of the machine.

Main issues with customers and service providers:
  • The service provider feels that it would cost him more to spend extra time at the jobsite
  • The customer feels why should he pay service fee as long as his machine is under warranty
  • The salesperson feels that adding service cost will escalate the product cost and it will be difficult to convince the customer
They may all be correct; but when all three parties focus on the core requirement, which is, asset availability and reliability, they can come to a consensus. In fact, the service fee is a very small component when compared to the benefits obtained through consistent availability and productivity of the machine. It is the responsibility of the service provider to bring some case studies on the benefits of condition monitoring, operator training, improving site conditions etc.

Service Contracts: Most of the service providers follow a pre-defined service contract model. But one must understand that a pre-defined service package is only for guidance and not necessarily to follow. Any service contract should be tailormade as it is for the customer’s site conditions and infrastructure. Most importantly, the service provider must bring some value addition to the customer. A well executed service contract will make the satisfied customer to remind the service provider about renewing the contract.

A successful and effective service provider is one who identifies his customer’s needs and supports him to meet his intended purpose, which is consistency of machine availability with reduced downtime and reliability in performance.
Click Here
To Know More or to Contact the Manufacturer
Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your Designation.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please let us know your email address.
Please brief your query.
Our other Value-Added Services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
During the construction of a motorway between Vadodara and Mumbai, Wirtgen SP 1600 demonstrated its impressive performance and set four world records. The major Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway project is part of the 1,350 km Delhi-Mumbai Expressway

Read more ...

Gujarat based asphalt batch mix plants and allied equipment manufacturer, Ashitech Equipments, is bullish of the company’s export business gathering steam with the recent order for 21 units of truck mounted bitumen pressure

Read more ...

Atlas Copco, a leading innovator in portable air compressors, light towers, pumps, and handheld tools, has launched HiLight V5+ LED Light tower that includes a HardHat® canopy as standard, which ensures protection

Read more ...

Since August 2021, Hamm has supplied new compactor models from the HC series to the Indian market. The machines, weighing 11t, are available with or without a drum drive. All machines fulfil

Read more ...

Volvo Construction Equipment is enabling faster, smoother, and better road construction with its new range of Pavers, Compactors, and Pneumatic Rollers, while its new, next-gen Wheel Loaders are

Read more ...

The market for asphalt batch mix plants will see plants capable of running for longer hours while retaining their performance efficiency and without compromising on the output

Read more ...

Ammann has unveiled a paver that relies on European technology and is well suited to customers who focus on larger road projects. The Ammann AFW 500 Wheeled Asphalt Paver is available for most of Southeast

Read more ...

The 2 new premium models with cutting-edge engine technology will enable high-quality compaction with economical operation. July 2021 saw the launch of two new Hamm tandem rollers – the HD 99i and HD 109i

Read more ...

Apollo Inffratech Group has formed a joint venture with UK based Parker Plant Limited. The over 100-year-old Parker Plant is a market leader in manufacturing and supplying solutions for asphalt

Read more ...

A dream project of Road Transport & Highway Minister, Shri. Nitin Gadkari, the 1350-km Delhi-Mumbai Expressway with 8-lane wide controlled access, is connecting Delhi NCR with commercial capital Mumbai

Read more ...

The SUPER 1400i Universal Class paver is the first Vögele paver in the world to be fitted with an engine from the group’s parent company, John Deere, and as a result, the first to meet the more stringent CEV Stage

Read more ...

Purvanchal Expressway is a prestigious greenfield project under construction in India. It commences near village Chand Sarai, located at Lucknow-Sultanpur Road (NH-731), district Lucknow, and concludes near village

Read more ...

Wacker Neuson’s DPU6555 Hech Reversible Plate Compactor is a heavy-duty soil compactor with a 65 kN centrifugal force; and it features ‘Compatec’ that informs the user of optimum achievement of compaction through

Read more ...

VÖGELE, a world market leader in Asphalt paving, offers the right paver for every application and with various combinations of different paving widths. It also offers state-of-the-art Power Feeders, especially for

Read more ...

Dynapac prioritizes customer satisfaction and success by focusing on enhancing their operational efficiencies. It has introduced Dynapac SD2500C, SD2530CS & SD 2550CS pavers with new features and packages to

Read more ...

On 20 January 2021, GMMCO and Caterpillar launched a new-generation Motor Grader SEM 915. The event was hosted online and saw an enthusiastic participation by customers. Also on display were other SEM models

Read more ...

A global compact design that improves productivity, fuel efficiency, rear visibility, manoeuvrability & transportation. Dynapac’s CA305 single drum vibratory soil compactor is used in various applications - be it roads

Read more ...

The Walk Behind type of Vibratory Rollers (tandem) are easy to operate while performing a wide range of soil, granular and asphalt compaction. It is the ideal Compacting Roller for any type of compaction work in compact

Read more ...

The MT 3000-3i Standard and MT 3000-3i Offset Power Feeders from VÖGELE guarantee constant, smooth transfer of material, and now give paving teams numerous practical new features. They are integrated with the latest

Read more ...

×
Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.