The Customer Service Journal

Volume 4 March, 2018

ISSN: 2374-9296

Knowledge for the world of customer service & support




Welcome to the new Field Service Section

We launch our new Field Service Section with the article "Tapping New Enterprise Technology to Enhance Customer Service" by Dave Yarnold, CEO of ServiceMax, one of the fastest growing Field Service technology firms.

Tapping New Enterprise Technology to Enhance Customer Service The untapped potential of the industrial internet presents an immense customer service opportunity for the enterprise. Increased automation, machine-to-machine communication and the Internet of Things unlock new manufacturing frontiers and enhance traditional industries. At ServiceMax, we see the IoT, wearables and mobile technology as transformative elements augmenting the vendor-customer relationship – not replacing it. The most sophisticated IoT and M2M service technology still relies on people to complete the job – and will for the foreseeable future. While machines can now diagnose their own problems before customers know there’s an issue, it’s the engagement between a technician and a customer that remains key to closing the proactive service loop opened by the IoT and machine data. According to an IDC Manufacturing study, 45% of manufacturing companies expect roughly a third of their total revenue to come from service this year. This, of course, requires a healthy partnership between customers and their vendors. Without a technician meeting with customers face-to-face, the emerging data-driven maintenance process becomes incredibly impersonal. The customer appreciates that the asset continues to run with no downtime, but the technician and personal interaction that completed the job remains integral to the field service industry. Consistent first-time fix rates and perpetual asset uptime leads to increased customer loyalty. Data from machines provides field service agents with accurate parts and knowledge to get the job done on the first trip. It also allows customers to build trust quickly and focus on building their own businesses. With the adoption of IoT enabled machines and data streaming assets in the field, Enphase, a provider of solar energy microinverters has seen revenue upticks thanks to more engaged and proactive customer service model. Embedded sensors in their 300,000 worldwide residential and industrial systems directly contact Enphase technicians for smarter scheduling, more optimal routing and better informed technicians. Customer service interactions have subsequently been elevated by providing technicians with crucial data to pinpoint exact solutions, manage a customer’s assets more efficiently and even upsell Enphase’s technologies. For ServiceMax customer Elekta, a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders, downtime isn’t an option. When it comes to servicing gamma ray and radiation equipment, over 100,000 devices daily, cloud software and data streaming technologies produce faster fixes. But ultimately it’s the well-being and satisfaction of the patient hooked up to the machine that’s most important to their business. In this instance, increased first-time fix rates and decreased time-to-repair helps fortify long-term relationships, trust and responsibility. At ServiceMax, we see the IoT and M2M-driven shift in field service, and manufacturing more broadly, as fitting naturally into a process we call customer transformation. We make it a point to train ServiceMax employees, from engineering to sales, in technical and personal elements of field service enhanced by our platform. Our ServiceMax certification and customer success programs thrive on informing customers of new technology that’s out there while delivering stellar service through mobile technology. We’re a company of passionate, curious subject-matter experts looking to build off of new technologies to fundamentally enhance service. In general, we encourage our customers to seek ongoing relationships in which both the customer and vendor feel empowered to bring ideas and concerns to the table. We believe in a two-way dialogue where you guide the customer and the customer provides you with valuable feedback on your product. Ideally, these interactions help you transform critical feedback from field assets into an outcome-reality. Being able to speak with customers about their business objectives beyond the asset in question opens many doors, sparks organic growth and allows for new technology to enter the equation. There’s a growing number of companies transforming their business and CRM strategies around new technologies that change how they service their customers. Data-rich customer-vendor engagements, enhanced by the IoT, connected assets and M2M help drive an emerging and sustainable shift from reactive to proactive field service. Technology constantly changes the way industries collect, analyze, and utilize operational data, but service will consistently remain at the core of industrial innovation. Dave Yarnold is the CEO of ServiceMax, a leading field service management company based in Pleasanton, CA.

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