In the past decade alone, technology has changed the heavy duty aftermarket industry landscape. With big-box companies like Amazon getting into the game, small to midsize businesses need to do everything they can to compete and attract new fleet business, while still maintaining their existing customers.
Future consolidation may be inevitable for the small guys to keep up the pace with the giant competitors; however, there are some tips and strategies all heavy-duty aftermarket businesses can follow in order to attract and retain new fleets.
High Quality Parts & Products
First and foremost, attracting and retaining fleet customers depends on the ability to offer high quality products. Fleet managers are constantly shopping around to compare prices, but price point isn’t always the only deciding factor. Consistently having enough high quality parts available when needed, even on the fly, can be just as important to a fleet manager when deciding where to do business. Since fleet managers and drivers also tend to be loyal toward certain brands, carrying a range of well known brands is a must in order to keep business. Lastly, fleets look at an aftermarket’s track record for fast, reliable service and delivery of parts and products. Those that can execute on time, every time, will see the rewards reflected in more business and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Great Customer Service
Anyone who says online shopping eliminated the need for stellar customer service isn’t paying enough attention. Especially with the high stakes involved in the heavy duty aftermarket industry, establishing reliability and trust is imperative to building and maintaining relationships, ensuring safety, and growing business. Part of that is being communicative and educated on your products and services. Companies with staff who are knowledgeable about the industry, truck maintenance and parts, and who can answer questions, help troubleshoot, and deal effectively with customer issues will be more successful. When word-of-mouth is as critical as written reviews, consistent excellent customer service can set you apart.
Updated Website for E-commerce
Because technology has become such a big part of everyday life, customer service now tends to happen online, 24/7. Fleets can order parts and products in various ways, including over the phone, through email, and other online channels. Having an informative, easy-to-navigate website that works as a sales tool as well as a functioning e-commerce platform can attract and retain more business. Offering different simple options to purchase and make payment makes it more convenient for potential customers to make a purchase.
Use the Latest Technology
No matter what kind of business you run, but especially in trucking, there’s a way to digitize processes for more efficiency and accuracy. Any company dealing in customer service, like the heavy duty aftermarket, needs a way to automate all the moving parts, as well as manage business from remotely from a smartphone. Today’s software also allows aftermarkets to keep customers informed at each step, such as tracking when parts arrive or when services are finished.
Taking advantage of all technology at your disposal not only makes operations easier on the backend, it puts customers at ease by giving them transparency into their order, opening lines of communication, and assuring them your company is up on the latest trends.
Offer a Smooth Billing Process
Besides offering high quality products and services, easy ways to conduct business, and reliable delivery, a smooth billing process will ensure a positive customer experience end-to-end, as well as keeps cash flow healthy. The bigger the business, and the more fleets you service, the more important it is to stay on top of invoices and accounts receivable.
Many heavy duty aftermarket companies find it simpler to outsource accounting to a company like IBS, experienced in managing large fleet accounts with proven systems for success. Outsourcing accounts receivable can allow you more time and resources to develop and grow business.
Are you in the heavy duty aftermarket business? How do you attract and maintain new fleet customers?