3 Ways Unused Data is Harming Your CX

Customer expectations have shifted rapidly due to the pandemic. Combine this with the ongoing talent shortage, the wave of retiring baby boomers and the growing complexity of equipment, and customer satisfaction ratings can feel like a constantly moving target.

In a recent survey from the Service Council, service leaders reported that Customer Experience (CX) initiatives are the number one focus for their organization in 2021. Unfortunately, Forrester Research found that although the overwhelming majority of companies want to be Customer Experience (CX) leaders, only one in five actually deliver good or great CX.

The Solution Lies in Siloed Data

Many organizations are turning to digital solutions to improve the relationship between themselves and their customers. Too often, these solutions are costly investments that require long implementation times. While they certainly still have their place in the digital transformation strategy, organizations should also be looking closer to home.

Most companies are already sitting on a wealth of unused parts and technical data that can be easily repurposed to help alleviate industry challenges. Here are 3 ways that unused data negatively impacts an organization’s CX:

1.     Hindered Efficiency

Aberdeen Group reports that 61% of service executives say a technician failing to resolve an issue on the first visit is the top customer complaint. This highlights that, above all else, your customer wants an efficient fix. By leaving unused parts and servicing data locked up in silos and inaccessible to service technicians in the field, organizations are missing an enormous opportunity to improve fix rates.

In a recent study, Aberdeen Group found that nearly 20% of first-visit repairs are missed because the technician did not have access to the correct technical information. By making parts and technical information available to field service technicians on their mobile device, organizations can dramatically decrease time on site, increase first time fixes, improving the service experience for their customers.

2.     Less Effective Training

The increasing talent shortage is one of the most pressing issues facing field service companies today. According to Service Council research, almost 57% of field service organizations report challenges finding enough talented technicians. And once those organizations find the talent, they are then struggling to keep them. According to a survey by Society for Human Resource Management, one third of newly hired staff quit their jobs after the first six months, with the majority citing lack of skills one of the major reasons they leave.

It isn’t just new hires that require better training. In a 2021 survey by The Service Council, more than 90% of field service technicians say they require more knowledge than ever before to service products. The need for upskilling among all technicians has never been greater. Meeting this need will create more confident and capable technicians, positively impacting a customer’s experience.

Being able to reference critical information like parts catalogs, diagrams, and service manuals from their mobile device give less experienced technicians the support they need out in the field. Additionally, CAD data can be repurposed into interactive 3D instructions to create a powerful training tool that increases comprehension through near hands-on experience and applied learning.

3.     Unempowered Customers

Self-service is quickly becoming hardwired into customer behavior: 81% of customers across all industries attempt to take care of things themselves before reaching out to a company. Any organization wishing to improve CX must increase focus on providing more opportunities for customer self-service. According to Field Technologies, companies that offered some form of self-service had a whopping 71% increase in customer satisfaction rates.

Customers want to feel empowered, and knowledge is power. Transforming CAD data and servicing and installation information into a curated knowledge base or 3D instructions will help customers find the answers they need to common problems and simple fixes, freeing up technicians to work on the more complex issues.

A Simple Fix Leads to CX Gains

It’s clear that lack of access to knowledge can thwart a company’s CX goals. The good news is that organizations already have everything they need to empower technicians and customers quickly and effectively. By first focusing on breaking down information silos and repurposing their unused CAD, parts and technical data, companies can rapidly deliver efficiency gains, bridge the skills gap and create more opportunities for self-service. 

Want to learn more? AnswersAnywhere helps organizations repurpose existing data to deliver mobile, online/offline information solutions, including 3D instructions, parts catalogs and curated knowledge bases.


Is Your Organization Ready for the Next Customer Experience Megatrend?

Author and corporate consultant Kerry Bodine said, “Exceptional customer experiences are the only sustainable platform for competitive differentiation.” This statement has never been truer in field service, where customer experience has overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator for most organizations.

In a new survey from the Service Council, service leaders reported that Customer Experience (CX) initiatives is the number one focus for their organization in 2021. At the same time, Forrester Research found that although the overwhelming majority of companies want to be customer experience (CX) leaders, only one in five actually deliver good or great CX.

Self-Service is critical to CX success

While service leaders are ready and willing to embrace CX as a priority, the question arises: what does that look like and how can it be deployed to deliver the most improvement to customer satisfaction? More than ever, customers are demanding convenience, control and efficiency when interacting with service organizations. This trend has only been bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhancing the customer experience means an increasing focus on providing more opportunities for customer self-service. According to Field Technologies, companies that offered some form of self-service enjoyed a whopping 71% greater improvement on customer satisfaction rates compared to those that do not.

3 tips for turning customers into fixers

Self-service is not only the next megatrend in field service – it’s the way forward for any company that wants to remain competitive and profitable. Here are three suggestions for ensuring your self-service program is providing the most empowerment for your customers.

1. Don’t forget to visualize

According to Aberdeen Group, the most common form of self-service companies currently offer is Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). While these certainly have their place in any self-service offering, FAQs are usually text-based and offer little, if any, visual guidance. If the customer is trying fix a problem and avoid a call to the support center, reading through a bunch of text just won’t suffice.

Customers will be much more empowered if they have access to visual knowledge like how-to videos and tutorials. These are a much more effective way to walk customers through the steps of installing or troubleshooting a piece of equipment. It will also go further to ensuring customer satisfaction and self-service adoptions in the future. Remember that old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? When it comes to self-service, this is very true!

2. Keep the knowledge updated

You wouldn’t send your service technicians into the field with outdated, inaccurate information. The same applies for your customers. Nothing will sink a self-service program faster than giving them unhelpful information.

No matter what form it comes in, self-service offerings will never be a “set it and forget it” solution. Customers must be able to access helpful and relevant content and not material for an outdated product. Because of this, your self-service offering will never truly be a “finished” project. It needs to be updated and constantly improved upon.

3. When in doubt, let the professionals handle it

Which brings us to our final point – most companies don’t have the technology, manpower or know-how to design, build, deploy and continuously maintain a solid self-service offering. This is why so many programs fail to ever get off the ground.

Fortunately, outsourcing offers the perfect ingredients of people, process and technology to ensure your self-service initiative is a success for both you and your customers. As with any knowledge offering, it’s important that you work with a professional service provider, and not just a solution provider. As mentioned above, a good self-service program will never be finished. Finding a professional that will work with you to ensure information and technology is always up-to-date and optimized will guarantee your customers are as empowered as possible and your IT department isn’t overly burdened.

Helping customers help themselves

Customer experience is the key to any organization that wishes to remain afloat. More than ever, customer expectations are soaring, and patience is thinning. Customers want the opportunity to fix it themselves and organizations are going to have to deliver. However, it is critical that organizations don’t sacrifice either the customer experience or the efficiency of their internal staff by doing so.

To avoid this, provide your customers with visual knowledge, make sure that knowledge is up-to-date and optimized, and work with a professional service provider. When self-service support is done right, it is guaranteed to deliver results.

Interested in empowering your customers and field service technicians with AnswersAnywhere’s new 3DAnswers instructional videos?

What is the Missing Piece in the Salesforce Field Service Puzzle?

Managing field service operations in today’s world is challenging. Talent shortages and increasing equipment complexity are placing new pressures on organizations, while customer expectations grow more demanding.

Many companies have turned to Salesforce Field Service to help manage operations, increase productivity and improve customer experience. While there is no doubt that Salesforce Field Service is a capable solution for the job, it is not equipped for delivering the relevant servicing documentation, parts information or visual support technology that technicians need when they are working in a mobile environment. This can be problematic considering onsite is often when they are in most need of this information.

As a manager and Salesforce Field Service user recently lamented to me, “There are so many different places within my organization to find information. It can be challenging because of the number of sources the field service techs have to go look at or be familiar with to find the information they need to do their jobs.”

This is a common sentiment that many field service managers and technicians have echoed recently. A 2021 survey from the Service Council, over 90% of field service technicians said that more knowledge than ever is required to do their jobs. This is why it is so important that service technicians and customer support staff have the right tools at their disposal.

Field Service Show and Tell

If field service companies wish to thrive in the face of today’s challenges, they must not only increase information accessibility, but deliver it in a way that empowers technicians of all the skill levels and learning styles to perform effectively and efficiently. This is a term I like to refer to as “Show and Tell”.

The answer lies in integrating Salesforce Field Service with a solution that provides technicians with powerful visual 3D instructions while also delivering relevant parts and technical documentation, all from directly within the Salesforce Field Service work order.

3D Technology is Necessary to Tackle Increasing Product Complexity

The way your field service technicians learn, work and communicate is changing drastically. A recent study from Techsmith found that 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s visually communicated, while 58% say they remember visually communicated information longer than written information. This means that not providing your under 40 technicians with visual information in the field is hampering their productivity, efficiency and confidence.

Many organizations are addressing this need by repurposing existing CAD data to create interactive 3D instructions. Technicians can interact with and manipulate digital twins on their mobile device, while being guided through step-by-step installation, service and repair instructions.

These powerful visual renderings are designed to increase comprehension, so even the greenest of technicians has the necessary information to perform at the level of the most experienced one. 3D instructions relay information in a way your NextGen engineers are most receptive to, demonstrating processes in a clear, easy-to-understand way, so companies can upskill new hires faster and lessen the burden of training on more experienced staff.

Turning Corporate Silos into Corporate Treasure Chests

Providing field service technicians with access to technical and parts documentation is an important ingredient for efficiency field service. While most organizations recognize this on some level, many still struggle to provide this information in a way that sets their field service techs up for success, because so much valuable information remains locked up in corporate silos.

TSIA’s State of Knowledge Management report found that, on average, technicians visit 13 separate sources of information to solve a single customer issue. While Salesforce Knowledge does an excellent job when it comes to knowledge articles, it falls short in two areas.

First, it isn’t built to handle field service information. Specifically, the installation manuals, servicing documentation, parts lists, exploded diagrams, fault finding charts, how-to videos, and all the other critical information that technicians depend on to do their job. Second, technicians still need to leave the work order in Salesforce Field Service and search through multiple sources of information to find the answer they need.

Technicians not only need access to all the relevant technical and parts information directly from their work order, but this information should be transformed from unwieldy PDFs into smart, searchable documents and intelligent parts catalogs that can be made available online or offline.

Additionally, the responsibility to populate and keep Salesforce Knowledge updated still falls on the organization to do, a task that can quickly go from time-consuming to overwhelming. Therefore, working with a provider who will provide this service for your organization is critical to keep pressures off internal resources and make sure your knowledge base is updated and accurate.

Completing the Salesforce Field Service Puzzle

Salesforce Field Service is one of the most powerful tools available for organizations to effectively manage their field service operations. However, it does not provide a complete picture.

If service leaders truly wish to bridge knowledge gaps within their organization, ensure technicians are “field-ready” and meet customer demands, they must invest in an integrated solution that will provide technicians with the visual and documentational knowledge required for a fast and accurate fix.

Ready to supercharge Salesforce Field Service? Learn more here.

Does Your Field Service Organization Show and Tell?

The way your field service technicians learn, work and communicate is changing. A recent study from Techsmith found that millennials are more visually minded than previous generations:

  • 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually.
  • 58% say they remember information for longer if it has been communicated visually.
  • 54% say they remember more from visual content than from text alone.

This is a huge shift from previous generations, who generally prefer information that is communicated through traditional methods, like written instructions, or a combination of text and images.

Bottom line: not providing your under 40 technicians with visual information in the field is hampering their productivity, efficiency and confidence.

However, it isn’t just your Millennial technicians who are asking for better knowledge to do their job. A 2021 survey from the Service Council, over 90% of field service technicians said that more knowledge is required to service increasingly complex products.

It’s all about Field Service Show and Tell

How can an organization ensure their technicians have the knowledge they require to maintain an increasingly complex install-base while meeting generational needs?

The answer is “Show and Tell”.

If you want to arm your technicians with the right weapon to do battle with complex equipment and growing customer demands, you need to provide access to relevant parts and technical documentation while also delivering powerful visual instructions.

By delivering a robust knowledge solution that provides visual and documentational support, you can enable all the skill levels and learning styles of technicians to perform effectively and efficiently.

Of course, this doesn’t mean giving your techs a shared folder filled with PDFs and a handful of how-to videos. “Show and Tell” doesn’t work if the technician has to scroll through a 200-page installation guide on their phone or sit through an outdated Youtube video to find the answer they need.

Documentation Must be Intelligent and Mobile

Delivering technical documentation and accurate parts lists sounds like Field Service 101. However, too often this data is delivered in ways that are unreasonable and inefficient.

Today’s field service technicians rely heavily on their phones in all aspects of life, including in the field. Therefore, they need to be able to access critical knowledge on their phones as well. This means that technical and parts information not only needs to be optimized for a mobile device, but it must be available offline in case they’re working in an area with poor or no connectivity.

Additionally, the knowledge needs to connect the dots. TSIA’s State of Knowledge Management report found that, on average, technicians access 13 separate sources of information to solve customer issues. It isn’t enough to just provide access to the parts and technical documents. The documents need to include smart searching and intelligence that links relevant information. By doing so, companies can dramatically cut down on the time techs spend searching for answers.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the information techs are looking at is accurate and up to date. Working from an outdated parts list will do no favors to a company’s first time fix rates and will cause technicians to lose confidence in the knowledge base quickly. 

3D is the Key to Powerful Visuals

Of course, documentation is only half the puzzle. Companies must also make sure the visual support they are providing is equally valuable. While how-to videos have their place, they just don’t cut it in today’s digitally transformed world.

Innovations in 3D technology now enable manufacturers and field service organizations to repurpose existing CAD data to create digital twins of equipment. These 3D animations allow technicians to interact with and manipulate exact replicas on their mobile device, while being guided through step-by-step installation, service and repair instructions.

3D instructions have the power to increase comprehension of complex equipment and complicated tasks that 2D videos can’t deliver. Often, these solutions can also be created in a fraction of the time and overcome language barriers much easier than traditional videos.

It’s Not as Difficult – or Expensive – as You Think

A robust “Show and Tell” solution probably sounds like it requires a lot of time, resources and room in the budget. However, most companies already have everything they need to create a solution like this. The secret lies in an organization’s siloed CAD data, parts, and technical information.

Most organizations have a wealth of this data ready to be put to use. Working with a provider that has the expertise and experience to repurpose this information and deliver it via multiple channels will help organizations accelerate their digital transformation while keeping internal resources free.