This blog post is based on an interactive workshop and presentation by Mize and Electrolux at Field Service Amelia Island 2019 on August 19th to August 21st, 2019 at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida. The workshop was presented by Michael Blumberg, CMO and Andrew Thomas, FSM Product Manager from Mize, and Danny Dailey, Senior Technical Manager of Electrolux.
Download Workshop Presentation from Field Service Amelia Island 2019
One of the biggest challenges facing Field Service Organizations (FSOs) today is finding qualified technicians. This is because it is becoming harder and harder for FSOs to recruit and train enough technicians to handle service demand. Unfortunately, baby boomers are retiring from the workforce and Field Service is not a profession that many Gen Y’s and Gen Z’s are flocking to.
In addition, service knowledge is also becoming harder to find. While the information may exist within an FSO, it may be difficult for technicians to access it in a timely manner. In addition, knowledge may be maintained in disparate and disconnected databases. Lastly, information may differ in complexity, format, maturity, or even language.
The Knowledge Gap
As a result of this situation, FSOs are faced with both a knowledge gap and the challenge of delivering great Customer Experience considering less skilled technicians. So how doe Field Service Leaders accomplish this task? Obviously, they can’t magically produce more skilled technicians. After all cloning skilled technicians is not an option, at least not for the time being.
While FSOs may be able to reduce the burden on technicians through AI and Robots, these technologies require a fair amount of time and capital to implement. All things being equal, Field Service leaders would rather focus on finding a solution that provides immediate benefit today. FSOs can achieve this outcome by helping their technicians solve service issues faster and right the first time. In other words, leverage available knowledge resources to enable technicians to optimize their time on the job site.
Impact on Service
Just a few years ago, appliance manufacturer Electrolux also experienced a knowledge gap. At issue, Electrolux’ authorized service providers were utilizing an antiquated system to search for knowledge to technical problems they were encountering in the field. The shortage of skilled/trained technicians further exasperated this problem.
Unfortunately, the only way service technicians could access information was through an antiquated website that lacked good cataloging abilities and search functionality. As a result, service technicians were spending a great deal of time at the customers’ sites trying to find the knowledge they needed solve the problem. Technicians would often contact Electrolux’s technical support center which created increased burden on technical support personnel. This, in turn, led to longer wait times, higher call volumes, and increased frustration among both service technicians and telephone support personal.
Technology to the Rescue
Electrolux was highly motivated to solve this problem since Customer Experience after the purchase is the main strategic focus of the company. In fact, one of the company’s objectives is to provide an effortless experience for consumers through consumer-driven innovation, commercial excellence, and faster routes to market by embracing market changes. Solving the problem would meet this objective. More importantly, Electrolux understands that if they did not improve the service experience then they may lose market share to their competitors.
One of the ways that Electrolux solve this problem was by partnering with Mize to develop and implement a user-friendly Knowledge Management tool, called TIPS, which provides service technicians with access to technical content through smartphone technology. TIPS provides a catalog of all content and includes google like search capabilities. Service technicians can search service manuals, service flashes, training videos, short video clips of repair procedures, and diagnostics. They can also utilize on-demand video to communicate with remote experts.
By implementing TIPS, Electrolux was able to drastically reduce the number of calls by Service Technicians to Telephone Technical Support personnel. Within only 5 months, Electrolux achieved a 22% improvement in speed to answer and a 10% reduction in calls. More improvement is likely, and the company is on track to achieve its goal to reduce call volume by 50% within 5 years. More importantly, Electrolux anticipates that TIPS will be instrumental in reducing warranty costs through faster service and improving first-time fix rates through improved knowledge management.
The features functionality found in TIPS is part of the Service Knowledge Management (SKM) solution from Mize. SKM consolidates all knowledge resources, supports different content types, and connects all stakeholders to optimize productivity, and maximize product uptime. In addition, SKM facilitates access to a broad array of knowledge related feature functionality including but not limited to service manuals, 2D/3D Parts Catalogs, Service Bulletins, AR/MR, Guided Solutions, Interactive Schematics, video conferencing, and training videos. Mize SKM helps high-value durable equipment manufacturers improve first-time fix rate, resolve onsite service visits faster, and improve technician productivity.