Once a product has been sold and has left the building, it becomes the responsibility of the buyer, who is now responsible for ensuring that the product does what it should. There are several arguments against this cold and short-sighted approach. Supporting the customer when it comes to operation of the product strengthens customer loyalty and helps to secure future deals. In addition, sales of spare parts and maintenance can generate extra revenue. In the digital world, services even form the basis for new business models.
Depending on the industry there are vastly differing takes on the idea of generating income after the product has been sold. Some companies used to see it more as a chore to provide customers with advice and assistance or even with spare parts. Others recognized very early on that there was money to be made from the customer’s desire to keep the product running. For example, car manufacturers established authorized workshops for repairs and maintenance very early on. In aviation, the manufacturer continues to provide input into the aircraft throughout its entire service life.
The more complex, the more expensive, and the more unique a product is - and the greater the disparity in knowledge between the supplier and the customer - the more important the service is. For example, while Lufthansa largely maintains its own aircraft, other, smaller airlines will make use of the manufacturer’s services.