One bright but still chilly morning in sunny Stockholm, we stepped into the conference room, holding our coffees, ready to start a Fit & Value workshop with one of our potential clients. They were eager to talk about their cutting-edge connected products and brainstorm ways to create a subscription-based service offering for their customers. As we began discussing the possibilities, the atmosphere was filled with anticipation and excitement.
However, the enthusiasm faded when the prospect raised their concerns: "We're unsure if we can truly advance with such service packages. A significant portion of our business is handled through our dealers and third-party sales channels, so we don't have a direct link or relationship with the end customers. Isn't that a requirement for offering these kinds of services?"
We could feel the disappointment in the room, but we were also aware that we had faced similar obstacles before with our other clients and had found solutions. We reassured the prospect that while their concern was legitimate, there were various strategies that OEMs could employ to overcome this challenge and establish stronger connections with both dealers and end customers.
First, we highlighted the necessity of fostering solid relationships with dealers. By collaborating closely, building trust, and aligning incentives, OEMs could convey the benefits of outcome-based services and showcase their potential to increase customer satisfaction, leading to higher sales and profitability for all parties involved. This joint approach would motivate dealers to share customer information and aid in delivering new services.
Next, we recommended offering value-added services through dealers. Rather than targeting end customers directly, OEMs could cooperate with dealers to provide outcome-based services as a part of their existing product offerings. This tactic would help dealers appreciate the worth of these services and motivate them to share customer information.
We then touched upon the use of anonymized or aggregated data to preserve individual customer privacy while still allowing OEMs the necessary insights to offer outcome-based services. We also stressed the significance of developing direct communication channels with customers, presenting support services, training, or product updates to gather customer information with their permission.
The conversation then shifted toward harnessing digital channels, deploying a CRM system, and educating customers about the benefits of outcome-based services. These strategies would help create demand for the services, persuade customers to share their information, and promote collaboration between dealers and OEMs.
Lastly, we explored incentives for dealers to share information and the importance of a formal data-sharing agreement that addresses data privacy and security measures.
As the workshop concluded, the initial disappointment in the room was replaced with a renewed sense of optimism. The prospect understood that, despite the challenges of collaborating with dealers, practical solutions are available to strengthen their business and deliver value-added services that would elevate customer satisfaction and stimulate revenue growth.
Together with our prospect, we effectively tackled the challenges of servitization and set the stage for a fruitful partnership among us, our prospect, their dealers, and customers. As we exited the conference room, we were filled with enthusiasm for starting another promising project toward a bright servitization journey for our "soon-to-be" client!
In summary, for OEMs to build stronger bonds with their dealers and customers, the following actions can be taken:
Develop strong relationships with dealers
Offer value-added services through dealers
Use anonymized or aggregated data
Establish a direct line of communication with customers
Leverage digital channels
Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system
Educate customers about the benefits of outcome-based services
Offer incentives to dealers for sharing information
Create a data-sharing agreement