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Connected Customer Experience

Shared Service Knowledge to Build Ongoing Continuity

Author Tim Nissen on Jul-9-2020

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Aly Pinder, Program Director for Service Innovation & Connected Products at IDC, discusses how knowledge transfer can be seamless across service organizations.

Employee turnover is detrimental to knowledge loss within organizations. IDC Manufacturing Insights’ 2019 Product and Service Innovation Survey highlighted one of the top drivers for manufacturer’s service lifecycle management (SLM) efforts is a need to capture and make accessible service knowledge and best practices. In building a culture of shared intelligence and accessibility of service knowledge, nearly half of organizations (42.7%) sampled in this study plan to leverage mobile devices for increased collaboration amongst the service team.

These investments and prioritization demonstrate how much risk is inherent with having an entire workforce, which often goes out on its own for an extended period, rarely coming back into a centralized location, and is one of the closest resources interacting directly with customers. The challenging part is the value service employees have to the customer experience is becoming more, not less critical for manufacturers and service organizations.

In advance of losing service workers, Aly suggests you consider the following:

  • Identify your workforce that is planning to retire soon. Do you survey your technicians and service team, at least annually, to ask them when they plan to retire? Assuming your service workers will retire at the retirement age of your respective country is quite risky. Reaching out to your team to identify when they plan to retire allows the organization to determine the level and urgency of the risk, plan for the loss, and even proactively strategize to either retain or hire more aggressively in advance of the damage.
  • Get creative with retention. Organizations should establish a program that enables service team members to be able to work as a centralized expert. Gamification and incentives can be used to create a bench of technicians and service employees that are willing to stay with the company, accelerate the rate of capturing best practices, and recognize the value of the decades of experience held in the brains of the service experts. Organizations would be wise to establish a role that is based on identifying qualifications or attainment of a specific expertise level, which can extend the viability of a seasoned service worker staying on the team.
  • Show your newer workforce a career path that is rewarding and valued. Many organizations struggle with creating tangible and exciting career paths for the workforce. Career paths are difficult to detail as there are so many variables, both for the employee (especially the remote-based) and the organization. However, the ability to communicate a future for the service team is a critical step in addressing the workforce skills gap, which should go hand in hand with trying to retain more seasoned employees. This practice will help create a culture that values the service worker experience and show the workforce where they will fit in the broader strategy of the organization.

Talking about the retiring service workforce must not be the end of the story that we tell each other, organizations must act now. Technology is one of the ways to capture and make accessible service knowledge. Still, manufacturers and service organizations need to identify their own risk and build a strategy around addressing the loss of critical service knowledge.

Collaboration and shared purpose will enable organizations to get in front of this pending wave of retiring workers.

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Webinar Recap: Manufacturers Creating Enhanced Customer Experiences by Reimagining Service Lifecycle Management

Author Tim Nissen on Jul-1-2020

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This month's webinar, hosted by Mize, Inc., highlighted the top priorities for manufacturers and services organizations driving investments around service innovation. Improving the customer experience, growing revenue, and innovation through knowledge management figured prominently.

Our presenters, including Aly Pinder, Program Director for Service Innovation & Connected Products at IDC, Stuart Ransom, Chief Revenue Officer of Mize and Michael Blumberg, Chief Marketing Officer of Mize, led the discussion of how end-to-end service excellence enables the framework to meet the challenges faced today and in the future.

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Challenges Faced in a Time of Disruption

While disruption caused by innovation, it also provides opportunities for manufacturers to assess what marketplace conditions benefit them. The platform economy and rising customer expectations allow companies to utilize the intelligent everything world to your advantage.

With technological advancement in every industry, enabling product and service innovation, it's the people behind it that are most vital to success. The shortage of skilled workers negatively impacts your business performance, with a lack of resources and knowledge. Improving employee recruitment and retention, skills development, and equipping them with the technology tools to move your company forward is crucial. An average of 50 percent of businesses identified these areas of need, and are addressing them, according to IDC's Worldwide Talent Management Survey 2019.

End-to-End Service Lifecycle Management Trends & Opportunities

IDC's Pinder indicated that solving customer problems faster and growing revenue intelligently hinged on an organization's service lifecycle management (SLM) efforts. According to the IDC survey, the top 3 were:

  • Capturing and making available service knowledge and best practices
  • Increasing self-service revenue
  • Faster response to product quality issues and customer complaints.

Warranty management facilitates collaboration and value creation, improving the interaction between cross-functional teams, and increasing Net Promotor Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT). To achieve this, 55% of companies surveyed indicated utilizing cloud-based systems adoption for Warranty and Recall Management.

Technology Accelerates Transformation and Service Excellence

The premise of becoming a digital company resonated throughout this presentation. The concept of moving beyond making your business digital (with IT-enabled business processes and services) to making digital your business (IT is the product; creating digitally enabled products and services) demonstrated the ideal path forward. This transformation starts with having digital technology in place to monitor and manage SLM. The IDC survey indicated 67 percent of manufacturers currently would soon utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for SLM.

The Future of Service

Related to AI and ML, service needs continue to develop around Connected Warranty Management, remote and augmented services, equipment self-diagnosis, and Outcomes as a Service (OaaS).

The use cases for these capabilities include:

  • Customized dashboards and reporting
  • Automated Preventative Maintenance
  • Augmented / Virtual Reality Customer Support – Remote Expert to Customer
  • Outcome-based Service Contracts / Models
  • AI Intelligent Services
  • Training Services
  • Connected Products / IoT-Enabled Products
  • Closed Loop Innovation.

For a successfully reimagining SLM, Pinder's advice for Service Leaders and IT Buyers included keeping your focus on customer value, striving to deliver a consistent quality of service, and exploring innovative tools enabling a connected ecosystem. At the same time, your company transforms for a prosperous future.

Your Digital Service Lifecycle

Stuart Ransom of Mize highlighted customer expectations of product and service data's instant availability across the service lifecycle, extending from warranty management to product support Field Service Management, Service Parts Management, and logistics services.

Most companies (Yours?) typically have a maze of disconnected, interdependent service lifecycle systems, business processes, and service interactions that are not integrated. This disconnected service environment creates friction with customer engagement, limits product utility, impedes service delivery, and can result in a negative, and competitively undifferentiated Customer Experience.

To fix this, Ransom advised companies to create an implementation of customer-centric and service-first service delivery model. The Mize Connected Customer Experience Platform, will enable you to seamlessly share product data and orchestrate service interactions across the Warranty Service Contract Management lifecycle, and to all value chain participants, leveraging modern cloud and native mobile app technologies. Watch the on-demand webinar now to learn more.

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