There has been a marked difference in the way manufacturers have designed their products over the past few years. Engineers are now focused on reducing manufacturing costs and are building for “planned obsolescence,“ whereby equipment functions for perhaps only a few years – and when that equipment does fail, the cost of service is not much less than buying a new model. This will cause problems for a service company that is built on the concept of “repair” instead of “repair or replace.”
There are three reasons why you should embrace this new technology, and how leveraging a service management software program can help your business navigate these changes.
1: Is servicing, or replacing equipment the best option for the customer?
It’s a trick question, because there is no right or wrong answer anymore. There is no reason to throw out a perfectly good piece of equipment when simply replacing a low-cost part will keep it running for another year or two. However, the customer’s business may have changed since they acquired it a few years ago. More and more often, new equipment is offering some type of technology integration that may make the functionality of a new model more compelling than saving a few dollars by repairing the existing one. Simply assuming that your customer prefers a repair over being presented with an option may backfire on you.
2: Have you and your customer “had the talk?”
Is a customer’s equipment operating poorly? Even if it is, that doesn’t mean it’s the best time to upsell the latest and greatest to your customer. Having the “talk” with customers is centered on if and when equipment should be repaired or replaced. This is especially true when you are managing a large group of machines for a customer. As the incumbent in the account, this conversation is a winner. If the client insists that you should repair everything, then status quo is maintained and at least you’ve taken the opportunity to present them with another option.
If your customer does ask for your advice on what is best for their business, you can present them with several different solutions. This gives every business what they have always wanted – the ability to prescribe the correct equipment for the customer’s unique situation and to remove devices that are either low-functioning or problematic. Here is a simple guide:
a) Replace all hardware over a certain age. Perhaps 5 or 6 years is the tipping point.
b) Replace all hardware that has reached a certain usage threshold. Think of it like a car. A car that is 5 years old is fine on its own, but if it’s 5 years old and has 200,000 miles on the odometer, it may not be worth repairing.
c) Decide with your customer, not for your customer. If they would like to replace like for like equipment, or upgrade the functionality, it’s your job to facilitate that decision. They may be using the equipment or device differently today than when it was originally purchased.
If you do not have “the talk” and a competitor does, your business could be left in an uncomfortable position.
3: Make it easy for both you and your customer.
Providing your customers with a list of the equipment they should keep, replace, or even retire in the case that usage has lowered, actually helps making the decision much easier for the customer. This will give them confidence that not only you are proactive, but more importantly that you are a business partner and not a break/fix provider.
Leverage your service management software to accomplish these things.
A service management program like Miracle Service can help you better manage your customers’ fleets. There is no way to entirely eliminate the need for service, but by using existing service information about equipment fleets to engage in a conversation about new hardware, you’re presenting a winning approach to your customers.
With Miracle Service, you can easily view the inventory of all the devices that exist at each of your accounts, along with a record of their service histories. This information is an ideal starting point for you to discuss the future service methodology of your accounts. See how Miracle Service can improve your service business. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a demo today.