Category Archive: Aquant News

Field Service Costs Rose Sharply in 2022 Despite Overall Service Improvements

  • While key performance indicators improved across service teams, average costs for field service rose 7% in 2022—keeping up with the pace of inflation.
  • First Time Fix Rate (FTFR) has improved by 2.34%, but all the positive benefits that are typically associated with an increase in FTFR have been lost due to inflation.
  • On average, bottom-performers of service organizations cost 67% more than top-performers, indicating that the skills gap is a major factor in rising costs—in addition to inflation. 
  • If every technician had the knowledge and skills to perform like the top 20% of the workforce, service costs would be reduced by 21%.

Despite an overall improvement in performance across service organizations, the average cost for field service rose 7% in 2022, according to Aquant’s 2023 Service Intelligence Benchmark report. Service leaders are grappling with the realities of a looming recession while continuing to deal with issues that arose from the pandemic. This includes the surge in parts costs due to supply chain shortages, rising labor costs, and a steadily increasing skills gap caused by the retirement of experienced technicians who are leaving before a new wave of younger, equally-knowledgeable workers can replace them. 

While organizations can’t control an imminent recession or make themselves immune to its effects, what leaders can control is their response and set their businesses up for success amidst an economic shift. The service leaders who invest in the right tools to manage their workforce’s performance now will positively impact the business long term. Alternatively, businesses that don’t invest in technology will slowly fall out of the competitive set.

To report on these findings, Aquant gathered data from 113 organizations, including service divisions within original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and third-party service organizations across manufacturing, medical devices, capital equipment, HVAC, commercial appliances, and more. This data consists of information from more than 16.2 million work orders and input from nearly 125,000 technicians. The report sought to analyze the service landscape, focusing on key challenges within the industry and the success and failures of companies trying to adapt to the new normal. The report discovered four key findings, including:

Top-performing organizations are improving. Lower-performing organizations are facing more challenges.

Top-performing organizations are combating the challenges of inflation by narrowing the skills gap, while lower-performing organizations have a widening gap in workforce performance. Top-performing orgs have a 16% difference in cost per resolution between top-performing workers and bottom-performers, down from 24% last year. Lower-ranking organizations have a 164% difference in cost per resolution between top-performers and bottom-performers, significantly up from 104% since last year.

Why are the good getting better and bottom-performing organizations getting worse? Anecdotally, from speaking with analysts, clients, and other service experts, the general consensus is that lower-performing organizations have not invested in the tools, resources, or people to help them keep pace with the top-performing organizations. 

“Service organizations must invest in the right technology now,” said Edwin Pahk, VP of Growth at Aquant.“Organizations that don’t invest in the right tools to monitor and properly train their workforce will not be around in five years due to the rapidly increasing cost of service. Bad service mixed with lower-performing employees costs more than good service with higher-performing employees.”

The skills gap is expensive

In 2022, service organizations still faced hiring challenges, leaving the industry with tens of thousands of unfilled jobs. Some reports estimate there will be an industry-wide shortage of three million skilled trade workers in the next five years. 

This lack of skilled workers translates to increased costs. On average, an organization’s lowest-performing employees cost 67% more than the top-performing employees, considering less-skilled workers are more likely to order unnecessary parts and take longer to reach a resolution. 

The report found that upskilling average-performing employees closer to top performers will reduce service costs by 13%. But, if every employee had the knowledge and skills to perform like the top 20% of the workforce, service costs would be reduced by 21%.

“Companies with healthy field service operational practices can improve their metrics over time because they’re measuring progress in a helpful way,” said Sidney Lara, Aquant’s Service Principal. “They are also using the data to inform necessary investments in people, processes, and technology that can solve service issues. If organizations hesitate to make changes now, they risk greater economic impact in the long term.”

First Time Fix Rate does not tell the same story it used to

For many years the sole KPI that helped organizations determine if they were successful was their FTFR rate. In 2023, however, FTFR is no longer telling the same story. 

The benchmark data reflects that while FTFR has improved slightly (2.34%), all the positive benefits that are typically associated with an increase in FTFR have been lost due to inflation. 

Companies who have long relied on an increase in FTFR to help their bottom line are no longer seeing the same benefits as they used to, prior to 2020. Now they need the technology in place to tell them where to cut back to make up for inflation’s skyrocketing effects on service costs.

Successful organizations are investing in the right people, processes, and technology 

Service organizations can’t control parts costs. But they can and should focus on areas within their control, like managing their workforce’s performance. With the correct tools under their belt, organizations can prioritize:

  • Closing the skills gap by hiring new techs and getting them ramped up faster. 
  • Reducing parts shotgunning by determining the best and most cost-effective part for the fix.
  • Solving equipment failures on the first visit—as opposed to making quick, short-term fixes that address symptoms but not the root cause.
  • Adopting a laser-focused approach to spending by reallocating resources and cutting costs where necessary. 

Streamlining Commercial Kitchen Appliance Repairs With Service Hero™

Running a successful food equipment repair business in today’s labor market is tricky. Many companies, especially owner-operator repair businesses, have resorted to turning customers and additional revenue away because they’re at capacity or lack the resources and tools to support customer demand. Whether you lead a small team or operate a solo kitchen equipment repair business, staying up-to-date on a wide range of appliances gets more and more challenging as equipment becomes increasingly complex and as the labor shortage continues to burnout the workforce.

This is why we expanded our Service Hero™ product line. The aim is to enable food service technicians to resolve commercial kitchen appliance issues in real-time, while becoming experts in all major commercial kitchen appliances and brands. Similar to Service Hero for Home Appliances, Service Hero for Food Equipment helps users instantly troubleshoot models to increase first-time fix rates, complete more jobs per day, and make every team member a seasoned pro, no matter how long they’ve been in the industry.

“Restaurant owners need service technicians they can rely on and Service Hero™ for Food Equipment gives techs the knowledge they need to solve service encounters on the first try,” said Edwin Pahk, Aquant’s VP of Product Marketing and Business Development.

What is driving the need for this technology?

Although the pandemic and recent supply and labor shortages have accelerated the adoption of tech for various needs like mobile ordering and contactless payments, the restaurant and food service industry remains hesitant to adopt technology to help modernize repair and maintenance (R&M) operations. The majority of restaurant operators (81%) report lack of adoption stems from perceived difficulties in setting this technology up and using it, according to the 2022 State of Despair report.

As inflation continues to rise, it’s critical for restaurant owners and other food service companies to understand profits and losses and find innovative ways to increase profitability. But, as restaurants and food service organizations prioritize supply and labor challenges, they lack the time or capacity to focus on streamlining the R&M process. This is why technicians and small repair companies need to implement the right resources and technology to help maximize productivity.

How does Service Hero work?

Using expert crowdsourcing, Aquant’s algorithm offers a diagnosis and suggests the most likely repair and required parts to help incoming technicians instantly troubleshoot nearly every piece of equipment they encounter and augment any knowledge gaps they may have as they enter the service industry. The app provides technicians with the on-demand tools they need to fix commercial equipment commonly found in restaurants, including hotline and coldline appliances. By accessing the data stored in the app, technicians can get to the root of the problem more quickly, find the appropriate parts, and have a fix within a shorter time window.

This technology also allows technicians to manage customer expectations in a proactive manner – whether that’s via accurate diagnostics and repairs or client-focused communication. The Service Hero™ app for Food Equipment is available for repair technicians, service managers or entire service organizations. Service Hero™ is $50 per month and new users can sign up for a one-month free trial at www.servicehero.ai. If you’d like to learn more, a product demo is available here.

Service Hero™, Aquant’s new Mobile Triaging App, Empowers Repair Technicians to Become Experts in all Major Home Appliances and Brands

Through our work with service organizations and subject matter experts across the globe, we found one common challenge: an ever-increasing knowledge gap. 

We listened to industry demands and got right to work creating an easy-to-use, all-encompassing tool. Today, we’re proud to introduce Service Hero™ for Home Appliances, a new mobile triaging solution that troubleshoots issues pertaining to all major home appliances and brands – and turns every service technician into an expert.

“We designed the mobile triage app to help service technicians resolve issues faster, become more self-sufficient, and have a higher success rate,” said Edwin Pahk, Aquant’s VP of Product Marketing and Business Development. “Service Hero™ improves key factors such as First Time Fix rates, time spent on site, and customer satisfaction.”

Get Instant Access to Home Appliance Repair Info – Straight from the Experts

As younger home appliance repair techs enter the workforce, their more seasoned peers are retiring – and taking decades of experience with them. Without access to on-demand knowledge, techs can’t perform fixes to the best of their ability. As a result, many repair visits include excessive calls to expert techs, leading to multiple future visits and an unsatisfactory customer experience. 

Here’s how Service Hero™ turns any home appliance repair tech into a seasoned expert, regardless of experience or training:

  1. Perform mobile triage for every major home appliance brand and model. From Samsung, Whirlpool, and Frigidaire to GE, LG, KitchenAid, Maytag, and more, Service Hero™ offers mobile triaging for major brands – including the newest of models. Based on the selected brand, model, and reported issue, Aquant’s algorithm offers a diagnosis and suggests the most likely repair and required parts. This helps techs quickly get to the root of the problem and implement the best possible fix.
  2. Access real-life best practices from veteran, certified technicians. That means techs will always have access to accurate repair information based on real-world scenarios. Best of all? Service Hero™ is in a continuous state of self-improvement: it records the final solution and remembers it for future visits, so techs know what to do if a similar problem occurs again. 
  3. Read targeted knowledge articles for additional technical or repair information. Need additional information about a certain appliance or functionality? Instantly access a robust database of knowledge articles and master appliances of all kinds. 

Start improving service from every angle.

Want to see Service Hero™ for Home Appliances in action? Request a free trial today.

Aquant Announces $70 Million Series C Funding Round to Revolutionize the Service Industry Using Artificial Intelligence

NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2021) — Aquant, the leading Service Intelligence Platform that gives service leaders, reps and teams the most vital information they need for every situation, has raised $70 million in Series C funding. The investment will support the growth and advance its industry-leading service intelligence technology.

The funding round was led by Qumra Capital, Insight Partners and Pitango Growth. Previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Angular Ventures also participated in the round, along with new investors Schneider Electric Ventures and Claltech.

Aquant has now raised a total of $110 million. The company will use the fresh capital to support its rapid growth and expand use cases as it strengthens its position as the service intelligence leader in every market for every company that provides service. To accelerate its global expansion, Aquant will grow its engineering, client services and go-to-market teams, adding positions in the US, Europe and Israel. The funding will also drive the continuous innovation of its Artificial Intelligence platform, including the development of cutting-edge technology that combines structured and unstructured data and harnesses the tribal knowledge of experts.

 “To win the service game today, it’s not enough to just solve problems anymore,” said Shahar Chen, CEO and co-founder of Aquant. “Companies must also provide a stellar service experience. And when providing a stellar experience, service becomes more than just ‘maintenance’ for customers – it becomes magic.”

Using deep service expertise and specialized Natural Language Processing (NLP), Aquant understands all service data, combines it with tribal knowledge, and provides service leaders, technicians, and reps with the most vital information they need, exactly when they need it.

Service has largely remained the same for decades, but is now at a turning point. Companies are seeking to transform the way they deliver service, with service leaders expected to deliver exceptional service to differentiate the brand. They are also being asked to provide customer insights, derived from service data, to help executives and front line managers make strategic business decisions across all lines of business, including service, product development, sales, and more.

Aquant’s rapid growth is a direct result of how it’s helping companies of all sizes make these transformative changes. The company gives service leaders needed insights into their business, enabling them to make proactive, data-driven decisions, identify at-risk customers, understand asset performance, identify compliance risks, and more. The AI-powered technology is also helping to erase the talent shortage by providing the entire workforce access to information that was previously siloed in databases or held in the minds of long-tenured technicians.

Leading market researchers like Gartner Research have noted the unfulfilled need to leverage service intelligence throughout the industry, citing the powerful potential of machine learning and data mining to increase field service efficiency.

Aquant’s proprietary service intelligence platform harnesses Artificial Intelligence to ingest unstructured data, tribal knowledge, and industry insights. This combination gives service leaders meaningful insights into the state of their organization, enabling them to make data-driven decisions. It also empowers service technicians to be at the right place with the right knowledge and the right parts at the right time to solve technical problems immediately. Making every Aquant-powered customer experience a magical service interaction.

“Aquant is revolutionizing service intelligence and is well-positioned to lead this large market given their domain expertise and data savviness. Their technology enables companies to focus on what they’re good at, alleviating one of the most serious business challenges today,” said Sivan Shamri Dahan, managing partner at Qumra Capital. “We’re very excited to partner with them as they continue their rapid growth in order to significantly improve service experiences.”

Service intelligence solves an increasingly problematic talent shortage in the field service industry, providing new hires access to decades of technical knowledge, account data and service history at their fingertips. As Baby Boomers continue to retire from technician roles and younger Millennial and Generation Z employees fill their positions, sharing knowledge and employing data effectively will be increasingly important.

“Customers trust Aquant’s AI-enabled offering, as unlike generic AI solutions, it is tailored to the service vertical’s needs and delivers clear ROI from day one,” said Idit Muallem-Yedid, partner at Pitango Growth, who’s joining Aquant’s Board. “Aquant’s insights shed light on areas traditionally perceived as blind spots in service operations and experience. I am excited to be part of Aquant’s journey, as it continues to bring value to all stakeholders of the service experience and roll out additional solutions highly anticipated by its customers.”

“We look forward to working with our new investors as we enter an important growth phase,” said Assaf Melochna, president and co-founder of Aquant. “The service industry is on the cusp of once-in-a-lifetime advancements, and helping these companies transform service by providing critical business insights is built into Aquant’s DNA.”

The company works across a number of industries, including medical device manufacturers, food equipment manufacturers, capital equipment manufacturers, industrial automation and appliances. Its clients include Siemens Healthineers, The Home Depot, 3D Systems, and Sysmex, among others.

About Aquant:

Aquant’s service intelligence platform gives service leaders, reps and teams the most vital information they need for every situation. Aquant understands service data in context, automatically transforms unstructured data into structured data, and then predicts the best solution for every service challenge. So service goes from simply solving problems to creating entirely new business opportunities, and from putting out fires, to lighting up customers’ smiles and igniting lasting loyalty. Now, service leaders completely eliminate escalations, technicians solve every service problem and together make service feel like magic. Visit www.aquant.io to learn more.

Media Contact:

Lauren Meckstroth
[email protected]
702.499.7388

Aquant Announces Intelligent Warranty Audit to Accelerate Service Transformation

Warranty claims is a $50 billion industry that organizations have overlooked during the digital transformation process. With little insight into how much money is wasted, two to four percent of a company’s revenues vanish into a black hole of fraud or discrepancies. Today, these expenditures are considered the cost of doing business for product manufacturers, but they don’t have to be.

To reign in unnecessary costs while also bringing data-driven processes to warranty claims (and beyond), Aquant created Intelligent Warranty Audit. The AI-driven product enables organizations to leverage large amounts of warranty data, reducing service costs through faster, more accurate claims processing.

Aquant’s AI-driven platform categorizes and prioritizes disparate data, helping warranty managers quickly process or reject high-risk claims. In addition, Aquant’s technology bridges the data gap that exists between the warranty management process and other departments across the organization. With this new digital thread, organizations can fill in a missing part of the transformation puzzle to bolster positive service outcomes and drive innovation in product engineering, sales, and marketing.

With Intelligent Warranty Audit, organizations will:

  • Reduce warranty waste and processing times
  • Encourage service best practices among their network of providers to deliver exceptional customer experiences
  • Drive a closed loop of innovation to feed intelligence back into the rest of the organization

 

“It’s time to liberate warranty departments from the inefficiencies of manual processes and bring them into the 21st century as a key component of digital transformations,” said Assaf Melochna, President and co-founder of Aquant. “Today, leaders accept a wide range of inconsistencies because it hasn’t been cost-effective for claims managers to scale the process. Intelligent Warranty Audit adds ROI by guiding claims managers through the cases that have the biggest impact on the bottom line while providing a clear framework on why a claim falls outside normal parameters.”

Intelligent Warranty Audit infuses teams with accuracy and speed thanks to AI and natural language processing. The technology analyzes data from multiple sources to quickly identify and alert warranty managers to high-risk claims for review by analyzing:

  • Asset service history
  • Service provider performance
  • Customer behavioral trends
  • Anomalies in cost, service, or other criteria

 

“Enhanced digital tools such as AI are critical beyond simply improving day-to-day operations for warranty departments. Manufacturers and service organizations should view the warranty management process as another opportunity to deliver value to customers,” notes Aly Pinder, program director Service Innovation and Connected Products IDC. “When warranty management departments are included in larger transformation projects, that data becomes another key change agent in the move to deliver exceptional service in the new experience economy.”

Learn More: Join guest speaker Aly Pinder, program director Service Innovation and Connected Products IDC, and Aquant for the August 19 webinar Warranty + AI: The Next Frontier in Service Transformation Webinar.

Pinder will lead the interactive discussion, sharing insights and trends on how leading organizations are re-thinking warranty processes and leveraging new technology, including artificial intelligence as a way to enhance the customer experience, improve efficiencies, and find new paths to revenue creation.