How water dealers can turn to XaaS

One of the emerging trends for 2023-2024 is XaaS – Anything-as-a-Service. 

XaaS is a general term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service. It encompasses the many products, tools, and technologies that vendors deliver to users as a service.  

The most common as-a-service we are used to is SaaS, which is the term for software-as-a-service. Remember when you had to buy your software on a diskette? Nowadays, we download what we want to use and pay for the service. If you use QuickBooks or SalesForce, those are examples of SaaS. 

There are all sorts of XaaS programs, ranging from CaaS (Containers-as-a-service), NaaS (Network-as-a-service, a hosted network infrastructure provided by a third party), DRaas (Disaster Recovery-as-a-service). These services are delivered on demand. With XaaS, you can scale up or down, depending on what you need.  

However, the concept of “as a service” does not have to be limited to the world of software and cloud computing. 

From grocery stores to streaming platforms, companies are exploring a shift from selling goods to offering products as-a-Service to extend their customer relationships beyond the point of purchase. 

Water-quality-as-a-service 

Sure, we would like to think that water-quality should be a service provided to us by our infrastructure, but we all know it just is not. That is why there are more than 5,000 companies selling softeners, ROs and filters.  

Believe me, I understand how hard it is to get new customers. Marketing, generating leads, setting appointments, the appointment itself, closing the sale. Every business spends money, time and effort to attract new customers. How does a water dealership reposition its selling statement – changing from selling water softeners or filtration products to selling water-quality-as-a-service. 

We all know it costs less to keep a customer than to find a new one. Your goal is to keep connected with your customers on many levels. By building deeper customer relationships, your referrals will increase, your customer reviews will improve, and your bottom line will grow.   

The XaaS concept offers you some possibilities you might never have considered. 

Embedding additional services into your offerings 

Embedded finance, which is part of Banking-as-a-Service, is growing as non-finance brands such as travel companies, home industry businesses and retailers seek to create more holistic offers, reduce friction in the purchase journey and improve the customer relationship. 

For years, many dealerships have embedded finance into their product offerings making it easier for their prospects to afford a system. This has been convenient for the customer and profitable for the dealer. 

Have you ever considered adding a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) model into your offerings, instead of the traditional finance loan? Many younger customers are big fans of BNPL programs. 

What about adding insurance into your XaaS mix? Can you offer an insurance policy for future upgrades to the system? What about air quality? A health-conscious consumer who buys a water filtration system is a great prospect for an air filtration system. If your dealership doesn’t offer full-house air filtration, maybe you partner with another company to provide this to your customers as-a-Service. 

E-commerce solutions-as-a-service 

The e-commerce subscriptions market, which includes meal kits, grooming products, and fashion subscription boxes, is already changing what we buy and how we buy it. It will experience expansion over the next four years, growing from a $120 billion market in 2022 to a $904 billion market by 2026.  

You want to make your company more indispensable to the customer. Did you ever think about offering customers an under-the-sink RO for a monthly fee that includes a delivery of soap, dishwasher pods, cleaning products – suds-as-a-service?  

Or can you factor a monthly continuation program into your as-a-service solution? For example, many dealers sell monthly salt delivery as part of an on-going maintenance program. You are already delivering salt. What else can you drop off while making your customer’s life better? Detergent? Salt for sidewalks in winter? Delivery-as-a-service? What about adding a semi-annual maintenance program into the initial sale? Think of this as peace-of-mind-as-a-service. 

Service-based products bring many benefits to the consumer 

The majority (57%) of consumers agree they get a better customer experience when a business offers their products as services. People feel that businesses who adopt service-based models can better understand their needs. 

And the trend is that 68% of large businesses agree that they can build a better customer experience when they reposition their products as-a-service. 76% of large businesses agree that by offering their products as-a-service, they can deepen their relationships with their customers and drive brand loyalty. 

So, how can you make this concept of quality-water-as-a-service a seamless part of your dealership’s perspective? Can you incorporate it into the initial purchase? You need to think about how to make the customer's journey smoother. That is what builds deeper relationships and increases customer satisfaction. 

This represents a changing perspective from selling products to selling outcomes. 

About the Author

Dale "DataDale" Filhaber

Dale “DataDale” Filhaber is president of Dataman Group Direct, a Florida-based direct marketing company founded in 1981. Filhaber is an author, lecturer and Listologist. In the past 30-plus years, she has trained many water quality dealers in direct marketing and lead generation techniques, including direct mail, digital marketing and social media.

Filhaber can be reached at [email protected] or 800.771.3282.

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