The way to catch the consumer’s attention is no longer through the product itself but through providing a solution and making a difference in the provision of services. The strength and quality of aftersales service in particular affects customer preferences and increases customer loyalty. Moreover, aftersales services in areas such as spare parts sales, service and repair, consulting and technical support are a high profit area. For this reason giant companies in Turkey such as Mercedes Benz, Borusan Makina, Nokia, SAP and Airfel see aftersales services as an opportunity to increase revenue and profitability.
The Aberdeen Group, which is one of the leading research companies in the world, has revealed one of the realities of the business world which does not come to the fore very often. Research has shown that US companies earn huge revenue from aftersales services. The size of this market, which covers services such as spare parts, repair and servicing, is equivalent to 8 percent of the country’s GNP. To put it another way, American consumers spend nearly US$ 1 trillion a year in order to continue to use the products and services they have bought. This means that expenditure on aftersales services in the USA is larger than the 8th largest economy in the world.
It is not just the size of the figures. Another factor which has really brought aftersales services to the fore in recent years is their ‘incredible profit margin’... According to studies by AMR Research, companies earn an average of 24 percent of their income and 45 percent of their gross profits from aftersales services.
US companies which discovered this years ago earn very significant revenue from aftersales services. For example, in 2001 General Motors earned US $9 billion in after sales service revenue, compared with US $150 billion from sales of cars. But aftersales services have a much higher rate of profitability than automobile sales. Companies such as ABB, GE and Caterpillar succeed in retaining customer loyalty and market strength through their pre-eminence in services.
The era of growth has begun in Turkey
When one looks at the growth in turnover from aftersales services of companies in Turkey over the last five years it is clear that there has been a similar rise. The importance of the aftersales services market is increasing every day, particularly in manufacturing industry and in areas such as the IT and security services sector. In the last few years, other sectors have also developed rapidly, such as chemicals, automotives, machinery, white goods and software. This has meant that over the last five years aftersales services have accounted for a larger share of companies’ turnover.
For example, Mercedes-Benz Turk sees aftersales services as a bridge between the customer and production. The company employs 163 people in its aftersales services department, providing spare parts, technical and marketing services. In 2000-2005 the turnover from aftersales services increased by 64 percent compared with the previous five year period.
Mercedes Benz Turk Aftersales Services Manager Serdar Özcan said that they have continuously developed new aftersales services projects in order to meet changing customer expectations.
A new way to increase production
Borusan Makina has paid particular attention to aftersales services. In 2000 turnover in aftersales services accounted for 20 percent of its total turnover. In 2005 this rate had risen by 5 percentage points to 25 percent. The company has 25 engineers, 110 trained technicians and 30 sales representatives responsible for service management and providing technical support.
One of the outstanding aftersales services projects recently launched by the company is the ‘pollution control application’. Borusan Makina Customer Support Assistant General Manager Ömer Meti says that cleanliness plays an important role in the long life of the Caterpillar construction machinery and generators for which the company provides servicing and spare parts services.
Ensures standardization in servicing
Vestel Pazarlama has a total of 565 service points throughout Turkey and is another company which in recent years has given greater importance to aftersales services. In 2005 Vestel Pazarlama received 1.8 percent of its turnover from aftersales services. Vestel’s service centres provide support for white goods, air conditioners and electronic products and its full service application in this field which was inaugurated in 2004 has attracted considerable attention.
Filiz Künüralp, Vestel Pazarlama Assistant General Manager Responsible for Consumer Services, says that they developed this service in 2006 and have created a model known as the ‘concept service’.
Şeyma Öncel Bayıksel