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5 Ways Field Service Helps Manufacturing Customer Service

When a customer has a problem, they want it dealt with fast and seamlessly. But as consumers ourselves, we know that this is rare. For manufacturing organizations, the customer experience presents both a challenge and a significant opportunity to differentiate from the competition.

One important player in the customer experience is the manufacturing customer service representative (CSR). CSRs are the front line, the ones fielding customer queries and fostering, or potentially damaging, customer relationships. Armed with the right tools, however, the CSR can significantly and positively impact the customer experience, and consequently, the overall business.

One tool that is proving useful in helping CSRs in the manufacturing industry provide better service is a field service management application. A field service management application offers the following features and functionality to help your front-line and your overall organization.

Service History

Access to past equipment service history helps the CSR get up to speed on the health and condition of the customer’s equipment. Similarly, the CSR should be able to see the last technician to work on the equipment and each step that was taken to resolve the particular issue. Armed with this knowledge, the CSR can offer personalized service and hence improve customer satisfaction.

Basic Triage

One of the main reasons that manufacturing companies deploy a field service application is to improve efficiencies, especially when it comes to deploying technicians. A field service application can ensure the right technician is assigned to each service call and deployed with the correct parts and tools to fix the problem.  Making multiple trips to the customer to fix an issue – whether it’s because the wrong technician was sent or because the technician had the wrong part and tools creates massive waste and expense for a service business.

In addition to incurring greater costs, inefficiencies in technician deployment also creates longer customer down time – which inevitably results in customer dissatisfaction.

A field service management system can help CSRs quickly identify the equipment in question and pinpoint the issue so that they can assign the right resources and tools.

Service Scheduling

Many manufacturing service departments use a separate dispatcher to schedule technicians rather than having a CSR schedule the service call.  The reason for this is that many dispatchers have been at their organizations for years and as a result have a keen understanding of each customer’s needs and preferences. Unfortunately, this poses a problem for manufacturing businesses should their dispatchers decide to leave the company, as critical customer information and preferences that are privy to the dispatcher are lost with the departing employee.

A field service management system solves this problem by ensuring that customer preferences are stored in a central database and easily accessed by CSRs and technicians..

A field service management system allows the company to set-up the different customer parameters and requirements such as past service schedule, preferred/required technician, etc. The system then uses these parameters (along with drive time from the previous service location, technician skills, technician availability, technician inventory and other factors) to provide the call takes with a list of technicians and appointments.

Technician Assignment

Every manufacturing service department employs technicians with varying backgrounds, training and skill levels.  If a CSR does not know the technical strengths and weaknesses of the technician team members, they may inadvertently create mismatches between the job and the technician.

A field service management system can compare the technician’s skills versus the service task to be performed, and recommend the best suited technician for the job.

Service Call Routing

Incorrectly scheduling service orders can lead to a technician driving across town for an appointment that is not needed, thus wasting the technician’s time and fuel.  Similarly, inefficient scheduling, such as having two technicians in the same neighborhood when one was needed, eat into costs. With a field service application the CSR can see estimated drive time, service location proximity and prior service information that can be instrumental in creating efficient service call routes.

Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways that a field service application can help CSRs deliver superior customer service.  If you would like to discuss how your manufacturing organization can leverage a field service application to improve operations or if you would like assistance evaluating your current solution, Hitachi Solutions can help. Contact us today with any questions.

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