Once a product is sold and installed at a customer location, the equipment manufacturer often has limited visibility into the condition of their product at their customer’s facility. So, how does a manufacturing company provide added value for those products that are out of sight? That’s a challenge Capital Equipment Manufacturers (“CEMs”) face, since their products may remain unnoticed until the customer reports a problem. Working towards service excellence and providing an elevated customer service experience can make a significant difference[i].
Competing in a customer-centric world, businesses are vying for attention from both new and repeat buyers, and elevated service—frequently provided by field service technicians—is a big part of the equation. Not only are CEMs focused on providing improved service, but over half are also attempting to do so with fewer resources while not sacrificing efficiencies.[ii]
One category CEMs excel at, compared to other industries, is improvement of first-time fix rates. As important and impressive as that upswing is, it hasn’t translated into superior results in customer satisfaction or retention rates.[iii] The apparent reason for the trailing improvement in those two areas lies in CEMs efforts to do more with less. Capital equipment service providers are trying to use fewer resources to handle higher volumes of customer requests, and those requests are often increasingly complex due to the ever more complicated nature of the equipment being serviced. This combination of increased service volume combined with more complex service issues compounds the difficulty of continuously improving the customer experience while simultaneously gaining efficiencies. It’s akin to squeezing blood from a stone.
So, how do CEMs enable their technicians to sustain and even improve upon elevated first-time fixes while simultaneously providing excellent customer service and an enhanced customer experience? In today’s hyper-competitive service environment, there are key fundamentals capital equipment manufacturers should undertake to foster a competitive advantage and achieve service excellence.
Part of the answer is integrating the Internet of Things (“IoT”) capabilities, which can assist in four different areas and help add value to for both CEMs and their customers. These key areas include:
- Improving Customer Experience via tracking serviceable assets remotely. This enables quick and pro-active problem reporting, diagnostics, and fixes – all of which yield greater asset uptime.
- Optimizing Business Processes through real-time monitoring and reporting, which helps track performance, enable remote support, and provide customers insight into the routes and ETA of expected services technicians[iv].
- Differentiated Offerings, including enabling self-service, which leads to better customer satisfaction and reduced support demands (a.k.a. doing more with less)[v].
- Creating New Revenue Streams in the form of performance-driven contracts, allowing for premium SLAs, which yield higher and more predictable revenue[vi].
As a bonus, IoT also arms technicians with information, including asset condition monitoring and potential failure predictions, enabling elevated customer service, predictive maintenance and real time customer updates. This “knowledge is power” approach helps field service professionals build a stronger partnership with customers.
CEMs, like many industries, are facing increasingly challenging customer demands. Placing added strain on CEMs is their desire to perform more service with less resources while not negatively impacting the customer experience. As these manufacturing companies look to move up the Service Excellence Curve, IoT is a key component of reaching “Best-In-Class” status leading to differentiated service offerings and new revenue streams[vii]. Best in class service operations that include cloud-delivered applications and integrated enterprises systems, such as IoT, allow CEMs to provide elevated customer service while optimizing operational efficiencies.
[i]Achieving Elevated Customer Experience in the Age of the Consumer, Jolt Consulting Group, May 29, 2018, http://joltconsultinggroup.com/achieving-elevated-customer-experience-in-the-consumer-age/.
[ii]Aberdeen Group, Service Excellence: The Path to Success In Capital Equipment Manufacturing, February 2017.
[iii]Aberdeen Group, Service Excellence: The Path to Success In Capital Equipment Manufacturing, February 2017.
[iv]Aberdeen Group, Service Excellence: The Path to Success In Capital Equipment Manufacturing, February 2017.
[v]Product & Service Advantage, Internet of Things Four Value Opportunities.
[vi]The Benefits of Performance Based Service Contracts, Jolt Consulting Group, March 20, 2018, http://joltconsultinggroup.com/the-benefits-of-performance-based-service-contracts/.
[vii]The Service Excellence Curve: Achieving Best-in-Class Service Delivery, Jolt Consulting Group, September 6, 2017, http://joltconsultinggroup.com/part-2-service-excellence-curve-achieving-best-class-service-delivery/