The service industry does what it does best when in the field, repairing or maintaining equipment. But the medical community is urging us to #StayHome while we fight the pandemic. Service pros can’t unilaterally stay home, but there are ways to reduce the number of site visits needed, while still solving customer issues. And even as the pandemic declines, we are likely to see some social distancing remain, and a rollout of more rigorous health and safety policies that slow a full return to business as usual.
What’s the best way to manage a continuation of service amid challenging circumstances?
Service leaders are accelerating longer-term transformation plans that include self-service solutions, AI tools, more remote diagnostics, better data collection for predictive maintenance, and other changes that limit the number of visits technicians must make to work sites.
While some solutions can be deployed more quickly than others, there are ways for service organizations of all sizes to immediately resolve issues faster.
Problem Solving & Planning With AI
1. Increase First Contact Resolution
Resolve less complex issues on the first call. Al tools can enable customer support agents to triage problems during initial contact. To do so, empower agents with the assistance of a robust triage tool that understands every customer and their equipment, and is able to make intelligent service recommendations.
That smart system gives your customer support team the ability to walk through dynamically generated, intelligent checklists with customers. Unlike decision trees, these checklists are created by using smart algorithms that are validated and improved by expert employees and continue to learn and evolve over time.
The more information the agent can prompt the customer to provide, the more accurate the suggested solutions, and the shorter the job duration. For example, the more time spent on remote triage upfront, the better prepared a technician will be on arrival — bringing the appropriate parts or tools. In addition, it provides opportunities for customers to undertake simple solutions themselves when possible.
2. Offer Self-Service Solutions
In addition to providing customer-facing agents access to a diagnostic solution, consider adding a self-service tool to your website for customers to access directly. Direct customers to use the resource to diagnose, and in some cases resolve, simple issues remotely without the need to dispatch a field technician.
The most important aspect is that self-service tools are intuitive and
- Includes an easy-to-use UI
- Asks questions in plainly worded language
- Can understand customer intent regardless of word choice they use to describe a problem
- Recommends the most likely fix that’s possible to achieve remotely
The addition of self-service tools will immediately mitigate some of the travel problems associated with COVID-19, while also laying the foundation for a longer-term strategy that reduces the burden on an over-scheduled workforce.
3. Use the Right Parts the First Time
Most service organizations face two big parts problems.
- The first is a lack of parts or rather a lack of the right parts. If a technician goes into a job without enough context about the issue or is a more junior member of the workforce, there’s a good chance the first visit will simply be a diagnostic one, and then they’ll need to return at a later date with the correct part or parts to complete the job. No technician wants to make multiple visits right now.
- The second problem is often harder to detect. That’s the challenge that goes by many names including shotgunning, swap ‘til you drop, or troubleshooting with parts. It’s far more costly when field technicians cycle through more parts than required for a job. It’s also a drain on resources when inexperienced technicians, without the right guidance, struggle by swapping out parts until the issue is resolved.
Instead of trial and error, choose AI tools that tap into organizational data, analyze that data, and provide techs on-site with the most efficient path to resolution — decreasing the time it takes to complete a job while also lowering service costs.
4. Analyze Hidden Data to Transition to a More Predictive Service Model
We’ve talked to service leaders across the country, and a common thread is that they are preparing for the post-pandemic, new normal. Future-looking service organizations are driving towards more planned and predictive models which will allow for more strategic workforce planning, fewer site visits, and more steady streams of revenue.
And they know that to get there, they need better ways to wrangle historical data along with the ability to monitor and react to IoT and machine outputs effectively.
Start Planning for the Future
What’s next for your service organization? Learn how AI-powered Intelligent Triage reduces repeat visits, increases first contact resolution, and creates a better customer experience.