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Buyers of electronic products normally need customer support at certain times after they acquire ownership of the appliances. End users of electronic products need such customer support services to achieve maximum value of the money they spent on the products. Customer support services include activities undertaken to ensure that clients use electronic products without difficulty. The idea of customer support service is used to describe activities undertaken by a firm to attract and retain clients. Customer support services improve the position of a product in a market. It is a tool that a firm can use to ensure that its product is accepted in a market. It also enables a company’s growth and domination in a market.
Customer support services include a series of promotional activities undertaken by firms. Some of the activities include timely delivery of products, online and phone assistance and after sales services (Jin & Lin, 2011). The extent of importance of these services varies from one industry to another. The extent of importance depends on the requirements of the market and the nature of the product sold. This paper focuses on after sales services as a customer support activity. It examines the effect of provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products.
Reasons for After Sales Services
Customer service has emerged as a basis for competition for electronic firms. Many firms have realized that it is difficult to compete on production excellence only. Provision of excellent support to a customer is one way through which a company can achieve client satisfaction. Moreover, it can be another means through which a company earns revenue. Notably, a product can earn more revenue to a company after its sale.
The global economy has experienced a rapid increase in competition, demand and technological changes. These developments have resulted into production of hi-tech electronic goods. Additionally, these changes have forced electronic companies to alter their promotion strategies. They had to reconsider distribution methods and after sales services. Notably, customers demand products that provide more value in all aspects and not in design and capabilities only. They expect high quality products and associated services like delivery and assistance (Frain, 1999). The provision of after sales services has emerged as one way through which electronic companies differentiate themselves from competitors.
The provision of after sales services is a promotion tool used in competition. It is a means through which a company can develop competitive advantages. Electronic companies like Sony have used after sales service provision as a means to maintain leadership in certain markets. In addition, the provision of after sales support complements promotional strategies that a company has adopted. Provision of after sales support assists a company to meet the expectations of its clients. In summary, electronic companies provide after sales services to increase the amount of revenue that they earn and achieve customer satisfaction. They provide after sales services to develop long-term relationships with their clients and increase the chances of success of new electronic products (Brock, 2009). Additionally, after sales services are provided on the purchase of electronic products to develop competitive advantages.
Figure 1. Avenues through which after sales services can be provided.
Elements of After Sales Services
Provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is crucial to both customers and companies. Initially, after sales support involved the provision of maintenance and repair services. However, the extent of after sales support has increased to include installation, education, maintenance and provision of warranties. It also includes provision of spare parts, documentation, delivery of products and online and phone support. Firms must determine the best services to provide to customers as after sales support. The main elements of after sales services include installation or set-up of electronic products, provision of required additional parts and repair of damaged sections. Other elements of after sales services include provision of technical education on the use of an electronic product and warranties (Brock, 2009).
Installation is the first element of after sales services that accompany many electronic products. Electronic products are complicated, and their installation requires expert advice. Companies normally have agents and representatives who assist customers install products that they have bought. In some cases, companies provide instructions that customers follow to install electronic products that they have bought. The ease with which a product can be installed is beneficial to users of electronic products. Thus, the provision of installation services as an after sales support for electronic products improves the image of a good in a market.
The complex nature of many electronics necessitates the need for manufacturers to educate users on how to utilize products that they buy. Customers must be trained on how to install, maintain and operate electronics to experience the full value of the products. Many companies recruit agents and representatives who train people who buy their products on how to use the electronics efficiently and effectively. The agents and representatives also train customers on how to maintain and ensure safety while they use the products (Jin & Lin, 2011). Provision of education on usage of products is a way through which some electronics companies acquire and maintain leadership in the markets in which they have business operations. It is a method companies use to differentiate themselves from their business competitors.
Another element of after sales service on purchase of electronic products comes in the form of documentation. Documentation plays a vital role in certain sectors and is an indispensable after sales service on the purchase of electronics. Documentation normally includes instructions on how to install, operate and maintain an electronic product. Excellent documentation can make customers prefer the product of one company to those produced by other organizations. Many electronic companies provide documentation in the form of compact discs to be used in computers. Documentation is a method that companies use to provide after sales services on purchase of electronic products cheaply (Haberberg & Rieple, 2007).
Maintenance and repair of damaged parts has been the main form of after sales service that companies provide to purchasers of electronic products. Maintenance and repair services are mainly offered to users of electronics that have negative implications on a company in case of failure or malfunction. For example, electronic products used in medical and financial sectors are required to be efficient and reliable. Chances of their failure or breakdown must be minimised or eliminated. Hence, manufacturers of such products normally offer maintenance and repair services as after sales support that accompany their purchase.
The other element of after sales services of electronic products is the provision of online and phone support to users of products. Companies employ experts who provide advice to users of electronic products via phones and internet. The experts provide advice to clients on how to use a company’s products resourcefully. They also assist customers identify sources of problems that make an electronic product malfunction. Companies provide online after sales services to reduce costs and improve the position of their products within different markets (Frain, 1999).
Finally, the other element of after sales services on purchase of electronic products is the provision of warranties. Electronic manufacturers provide warranties to purchasers of their goods to gain competitive advantages. Additionally, some electronic manufacturers provide warranties for many years as a way through which they differentiate themselves from competitors. Warranty provision is a vital component of customer support as it reduces financial risks associated with ownership of electronics. The provision of the elements described above has profound effects on both users and manufacturers of electronic products. The next section discusses the effects that the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products has on both users and manufacturers of electronic products.
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Effects of After Sales Services
Increased competition in the electronics industry has made many manufacturers put the focus on customer services. The satisfaction of customers has a profound influence on the sales generated by a company. Therefore, many electronics manufacturers aim to meet the needs of their customers. They put emphasis on fulfilment of the expectations of their clients. One way through which they achieve customer satisfaction is through the provision of excellent and adequate after sales services. Thus, one of the effects of after sales services is the satisfaction of customers or users of electronic products.
Manufacturers of electronic products must determine the benefits and effects that their products have on the customers. They must determine the needs of the customers and the attributes of the appliances that clients require. Hence, they must know the ways through which their products influence the expectation and requirements of the users. Manufacturers must understand that the satisfaction of customers is not determined only by the properties and performance capabilities of the products that they sell. They must understand that other factors also play critical roles in satisfaction of customers or users of electronic products. Customers consider the total value they receive when they buy electronic products. They also value the interactions that they have with manufacturers of the products that they use. Moreover, customers usually consider the relationship that they develop with manufacturers as they use electronic products (Haberberg & Rieple, 2007). Thus, provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is also a basis that companies use to develop long-term relationships with customers. Companies use after sales services as avenues through which they can improve their relationships with clients.
Figure 3. Clients wait for assistance at a Nokia customer care centreAnother effect of provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is that a company can improve the performance of its goods. Companies provide advice to customers on the usage of electronic products that they distribute. They use after sales services to improve the image and reliability of their products. Thus, after sales services have the ability to improve a product’s position in a market. In addition, the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products can increase the sales volume of a company. Provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is a strategy that many firms employ to increase the number of orders that customers make. Some research studies have determined that many electronics manufacturers provide after sales services to sustain their products and complement promotional methods. Moreover, other studies have established that the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products enhances the value of the goods bought by customers.
The other effect of provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is that companies are able to attract and retain customers. Many electronics manufacturers provide after sales services to customers to ensure that they are retained. It is also a method used by companies to attract new customers. Thus, the effect of after sales services is the retention of clients and acquisition of competitive advantages. Retention of customers is an effect of after sales services that help companies develop promotion strategies and be competitive in the electronics industry. Increase in competition has made companies develop after sales services as a competition strategy. Increase in market competition is a development that has made companies focus on customer or user support. The focus has even shifted from customers to effective satisfaction of their needs.
Another effect of provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is the timely resolution of customer complaints. The provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is usually a response to difficulties that customers experience as they use the appliances. The main problems that customers normally experience are product malfunctions. After sales services are also provided to diagnose problems, to repair damaged parts and educate clients on how to operate electronic products. Thus, after sales services are revitalization activities done to solve difficulties that clients experience as they use electronic products. Problems experienced by customers must be resolved immediately and in time. Delays in resolution of the difficulties experienced by users of electronic products can result into dissatisfaction of customers (Haberberg & Rieple, 2007). Therefore, delays in resolution of customers’ problems can result into a reduction in sales volume and revenues. This can lower the competitive abilities of an electronics manufacturer. Thus, the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products usually helps a company to recover the satisfaction of people who use its products even after they experience certain problems.
The provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products is also a method through which a company can use to improve its position in a market. Hence, after sales services improve the position of a company in a market. The provision of after sales services is an opportunity that an organization can use to increase profits and achieve growth. Competition from domestic and international manufacturers of electronic products can reduce the profit margins of goods that a company produces. Competition reduces market share and puts pressure on sales. Many companies have identified the provision of after sales services as a way to enhance competitive abilities (Viardot, 2004). In addition, some companies have realized that clients are likely to buy more electronics from their organizations only if they feel they will obtain after sales services. Some studies have determined that customers are likely to buy more electronic products from a single manufacturer because of the after sales support that the organization offers. Thus, the provision of after sales support to purchasers of electronic products is a promotion strategy used to increase sales. It is also a promotion strategy used to achieve customer fidelity and client acquisition.
Electronics manufacturers have also realized that the technological features of a product cannot assist them maintain market position for a long time. The rewards provided by the hi-tech features of a product are normally short lived. The rapid spread of technology reduces the ease with which a company can maintain market leadership based on features of a product. Thus, many customers and electronics manufacturers have turned to after sales services as the feature that differentiates one product to another. Finally, the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products can assist a company to improve its market position through promotion of innovation (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2012). The expectation of customers or users of electronic products continue to increase as technology improves. Hence, the expectation of users increase as technology improves. Additionally, users of electronic products demand increased levels of assistance as technology improves. The result of increased demand for support is the raise in innovation.
The provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products also influences the purchase behaviour of customers. Purchase behaviour includes actions that influence how customers identify, select and buy a product. Customers consider numerous factors before they buy electronic products (Wright, 2006). These factors can be grouped into personal, cultural and social categories. Technological features of a product can be included under the personal category. Promotional factors also influence the purchase behaviour of users of electronic products. Promotional factors, like the provision of after sales services, normally stimulate customers. The promotion of a product through adverts and provision of after sales services can make an individual buy a product. Provision of after sales services can create curiosity. It can make a buyer seek additional information about other products offered by a company. Thus, the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products can influence the purchase behaviour of customers (Wright, 2006).
Finally, the provision of after sales services on the purchase of electronic products creates employment opportunities to people. Manufacturers of electronic products usually employ agents and representatives to provide after sales services. The agents and representatives hired by the manufacturers are normally other businesses and individuals who have the required expertise to provide after sales assistance. The manufacturers of electronic products also normally train the agents and representatives on how to provide support services. The agents and representatives normally assist clients with installation and operation of electronic products. They can also educate customers on how to maintain and repair the products that they have purchased (Viardot, 2004).
Figure 5. Experts repair electronic appliances returned by customers.
People who have bought electronic products normally require customer support services to achieve maximum value of their money. Customer support services are those provided to clients to ensure that they do not have trouble as they use electronic products. One of such activity is the provision of after sales services on purchase of electronic products. This paper discussed the effects of provision of after sales services on purchase of electronic products. It first discussed the reasons for the provision of after sales services and some of its elements. Afterwards, it determined the effects that the provision of after sales services has on customers and electronic companies.
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