Moving your configurator closer to sales and considering the needs of the customer within the configurator can solve these problems. Building a product based upon needs and features, rather than parts and options, ensures order accuracy and ultimately, final customer satisfaction.
So, what are these sales needs and product features that are necessary in a sales configurator?
Of course, that depends on your products and company culture. But here are some things to consider when adding sales features to your configurator to enable successful guided selling:
1. Product Implementation: Products are built and accessorized for specific purposes; a generator installed on a ship may differ greatly than that same part number installed on land. Rather than training your sales team to know those differences it would be more efficient to simply ask a question — “Where will this product be implemented?” — and then build rules to guide the user to the correct parts and accessories. Using selection defaults based on this single question also reduces configuration time by automatically choosing the right options.
2. Usage Attributes: Knowing intended usage can help ensure that the delivered product is not over- or under-engineered for the implementation. Asking if a product would be used “24 hours a day,” “one daily shift,” or “three times a week,” would help in the creation of rules to guide selection of the right solution from a family of products ensuring customer satisfaction with the delivered result.
3. Weather and Climate: Products often react differently to extreme cold or high elevations. Alternate energy sources like fuel cells and battery packs may need heaters for best performance in cold climates. Asking leading questions like, “What is the average winter temperature?” can help ensure maximum performance of the product and reduce disappointed customers. Better still would be to capture a postal code, perhaps from a CRM, and then access data from a weather service API.