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In my last blog I explained the experience outcome economy using a cup of coffee as an example. In this second blog in the series we will take a look at the first of the buzzwords — ‘seamless’.

It might seem a little counter intuitive, but a customer doesn’t care if their printer is working, the customer cares that they can print a document for the all-important sales presentation with a key decision maker. It’s not about the product, but the outcome expected from a product. You want to offer best-in-class service and provide your customer with positive business value by adding an experience.

To be an outcome-based service organization, service needs to be seamless, but how do you deliver that?

SEAMLESS SERVICE STARTS AT FIRST CONTACT

If a product requires service, seamless business processes are necessary to provide the right customer experience, and the first contact you have with customer can be a major business differentiator and the difference between a success and a failure.

Customer interaction is still dominated by the telephone, but we are seeing a generational shift to text-based and social messaging channels. But whether phone, social or email, it doesn’t matter—they all just want an answer. No doubt soon, the expectation will shift to machines and chatbots being the first contact point.

FRICTION FREE

Regardless of how first contact is made, good service requires information to move freely through your organization to the people that need it. Even as more information continues to be captured this process needs to continue and be friction free. Does the information go through a triage or technical support? Is that information captured?

Everyone hates to repeat information. It is a sign of a fragmented system. Have you ever been on a call and said, “I just told the last guy all of this information!” Repeating information through various parts of your organization is not a seamless interaction and frustrating to customers.

HITTING HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Are you meeting customer expectations? What are those expectations based on? Service contracts are an increasingly important piece of the revenue equation. With product-based margins on goods tightening in a commoditized market, service-based contracts provide a revenue growth opportunity.

Have you built a seamless service process that accounts for service level agreements and service contracts? When you need to roll a truck do you know who has the right parts, the shortest driving distance, the right skills and all things necessary to meet those customer expectations? The right field service solution will make this information available to the planners and technicians when they need it. This is what it takes to deliver a seamless service to meet customer expectations.

COMBINE TECH AND TALENT FOR SMOOTH COLLABORATION

I had a client tell me for every seven field technicians they have retiring, there will be only three new incoming technicians. The combination of an aging workforce, new employees needing training and changes in employee retention means that collaboration of resources and seamless information sharing are now more important than ever.

New technology such as augmented reality (AR) are going to have a significant impact on service and the ability to collaborate. Goldman Sachs predicts that AR will be an $80B market by 2025 and Gartner lists it among the critical technologies that businesses should prioritize.

AR has huge potential to make jobs easier, providing hands-free access to manuals so technicians can be actively working on a machine and referencing media-rich documents. It will eventually move into self-service for customers who would rather fix things themselves and will allow training on difficult situations in a safe augmented education plane.

Collaboration of resources and materials is key to your seamless customer experience. Learn more about how your company can deliver seamless customer service throughout the entire service lifecycle by visiting IFSworld.com/fsm.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The world is evolving and technology is touching every corner of it. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual collaboration, predictive maintenance and digital supply chain all rely on our next key buzzword for 2018…


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