Seasoned truckers around the globe have regularly commented that the sales department sells the first unit and the after-sales service ensures the sales that follow. MAN Automotive is very mindful of this – which is why the company is determined to deliver the very best after-sales service in the industry
At MAN Automotive, the last three years have seen a multitude of initiatives, which confirm to fleet operators that the company is right on top of the after-sales game. These range from a variety of extended factory warranties and original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-supported repair and maintenance (R&M) contracts to awareness campaigns for genuine MAN parts.
They also include professionalising the Mobile 24 emergency response call centre, guaranteeing cross-border support in neighbouring countries, vehicle-off-road (VOR) escalated decision-making, major service job repair kits, refurbished parts options and special rates for old-timer trucks (over six years of age).
MAN’s head of after-sales services – Eren Gunduz – who also happens to head up the brand’s new vehicle sales efforts is clearly upbeat about the company’s progress: “MAN’s customer satisfaction ratings have improved dramatically when looking at the Competitive Customer Satisfaction survey results as co-ordinated by DataTrack (formerly ScottByers).
“Our quarter-on-quarter performance in after-sales service from the first quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2019 has shown a significant upward trend, for which we wish to thank our customers and front-line teams,” he enthuses.
It is, arguably, also this customer response in satisfaction levels that has enabled MAN Automotive to almost double its extra-heavy market share over the last four years – moving from just over eight percent of the extra-heavy sales pool to just shy of 14 percent of the South African market.
“Clearly MAN’s product performance has found favour with more and more customers. Furthermore, our range of after-sales services on offer is talking to uptime and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO).
“What should also be noted is that the 2019 market-share result came in a year where we no longer had access to budget products such as CLA and Volkswagen. (They were no longer available to the South African market, due to strategic decisions taken at group level.) These accounted for approximately 300 sales in 2018,” explains Gunduz.
He believes that the single biggest success in 2019 was an 88-percent penetration rate of sales with R&M contracts. “The only customers who do not avail themselves of our R&M contracts are those who run utilisations where R&M-type contracts do not make sense, or those few customers who are what we term ‘self-servicing operators’. These companies have invested extensively in their own workshop facilities and personnel, due to the demands of logistics contracts,” says Gunduz.
With the MAN R&M contract, customers get basic MAN Telematics included free of charge. “This means that they get satellite tracking with stolen vehicle recovery, MAN ServiceCare proactive pre-service advisory calls, basic fleet management reports for vehicle and driver performance, as well as the traditional technical vehicle servicing coverage – all as part of the deal,” explains Gunduz.
Central to MAN’s various parts and service sales and marketing efforts are two young professionals – Anton Fuchs and Pieter Stander. “We are ecstatic that very large private capital dealers, who also have investments in other brands, have told us that no other automotive brand has offered an equivalent range and level of dealer support for after-sales services,” comments Fuchs.
“Having spent a long time in the local industry in various roles thus far, I am confident that our suite of dealer support services and activities are undoubtedly the benchmark in the South African commercial vehicle industry,” elaborates Stander.
Looking forward into 2020, the MAN after-sales leadership team is keen to have even greater staff training delivery compared to 2019 (which showed record levels of training), hands-on support to fulfil the required dealer standards and the continued roll-out of the authorised MAN panel shops, which started in 2019.
“Clearly, Team MAN is showing extraordinary after-sales support for our customers – combining services that optimise the performance of truck, driver, support and management information – all with the objective of uptime and reduced operating costs. This is a welcome work ethic and set of initiatives at a time when we definitely need all hands on deck,” concludes Gunduz.