Service discovery. The way companies manage service requests is changing. While some companies can claim that they proactively assess needs, most are simply reactive and ignore the opportunities. Many only address the identification of service needs when a product breaks and customers call for support (after the fact).
Rather than responding to problems, service should be proactive, anticipating the needs of customers. The use of condition monitoring equipment placed in manufacturing sites is an example. By taking constant readings on heat, vibration, noise, and other critical process variables, companies can understand if there is a problem before equipment fails. For more information on the topic, see TEC’s previous article entitled “Reliability Driven Maintenance--Closing the CMMS "Value Gap"?”
Service fulfillment. Good service is crucial to the brand, as it is the place where consistent opportunity arises to define further sales opportunities, understand customer needs, and exceed customer expectations. Well-integrated systems allow companies to manage scheduling, dispatch people, manage parts availability, and equip technicians with the accurate and timely information that is stored in the knowledge repository. For an in-depth analysis of one such vendor’s offering, UNIT4’s Agresso Field Service, see TEC’s previous article entitled “The Convergence of ERP and Field Services—One Vendor’s Leadership.”
Service knowledge. Vital to meeting and exceeding customer expectations is access to installed base and product information. This knowledge repository should capture and provide all information to respond to questions quickly and intelligently, while also assessing needs proactively. Often this information is stored within an existing CRM system, but knowledge management (KM) is far more than a customer contact management and sales portal application.
This knowledge repository also needs to capture and supply repair information, warranty and service contract entitlements, and compliance information, as well as track service histories. For more information on the topic, see my previous blog series entitled “The Power of Knowledge — Knowledge is Power” and the recent exhaustive analysis of Consona’s Knowledge Driven System (KDS) offering in the article entitled “(Forgotten) CRM and ERP Kingdoms in the Making?”