In the modern global market place, customer support is becoming major means for gaining competitive advantage in the manufacturing companies. Through the customer support activities, the company can acquire customer information and market knowledge as well as satisfy the customer. It is important to manage the customer information for meeting the customer needs and ultimately achieving the firm’s long-term success. Especially, electronic home appliances industry is one of the best example that customer support and customer information management are linked directly with competitive edge, so this study is focused on this industry to explore the relation between the aftermarket activity and performance.
This study defines the aftermarket activity that is all activities to satisfy the customer and improve the business performance. There is no theoretical or practical study to account for the important factor of aftermarket activities and classify the activities. The purpose of this study is to enhance an understanding of the aftermarket activities. This study investigates the following specific research questions. First, what consists of the aftermarket activities and how can it be categorized? Second, which aftermarket activities strongly influence the performances? Third, What are the influencing factors affecting aftermarket activities?
In order to answer these research questions, this study identifies the aftermarket activities with emphasis on practitioner perspective, and suggests taxonomy of aftermarket activities that have dimensions determined by the activity purpose and activity attitude. And each cell is named as follows: prescriptive support activity, preventive support activity, product reform activity and opportunity catch-up activity.
This study was conducted in two major phases. In phase 1, intensive interviews were conducted to explore the aftermarket activity strategies with 6 SBUs achieved high score of NCSI. These were conducted with the key persons of product planning group and service group. In phase 2, the current state of the aftermarket activities from 32 SBUs are investigated by using survey research method. This study examines the relations of influencing factors, aftermarket activities and performances.
The case study suggests some important research findings. First, there are certain directions in pursuing aftermarket activities. Second, the effective aftermarket activity strategies are differed from company characteristics and product characteristics.
The survey research demonstrates that influencing factors are varied with the aftermarket activity types. The prescriptive support activity is influenced by learning -orientated culture and the preventive support activity is influenced by customer-orientated culture. Product reform activity and opportunity catch-up activity are influenced by interfunctional coordination and customer orientation. And each performance variables are related with different set of aftermarket activities. Prescriptive support activity and product reform activity affects overall customer satisfaction. Product reform activity affect market share, too.
Finally, some managerial implications and limitations of this study were described.