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?

Field Technologies Q&A: Transforming the way work gets done

Transform the Way Work Gets Done

Bo Wandell, President of AnswersAnywhere sat down with Field Technologies to discuss their Smart3D solution and how 3D Interactive Instructions can improve efficiency, make 3rd party technicians more effective and change the way organizations are addressing the skills gap across field operations. 

Click on the button below to go to Field Technologies Online and read the interview. 

Case Study: Laundry Innovator WASH Enhances Customer Experience


When laundry powerhouse WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems realized that a lack of access to accurate parts and technical information hindered efficiency and accuracy within their support organizations, they turned to AnswersAnywhere to create a mobile “single source of truth” for their field service technicians and customer support staff.

“The feedback from new hires, as well as their managers, has been tremendous. Some of our top users are new technicians. By finding the information they need fast and having that reassurance that the servicing documentation and parts information is WASH-approved, new technicians can complete more fixes on their own the first time.”

– Angie Alvarado, National Director of Operations Central Service, WASH

3D Instructions – The Bridge Over the Field Service Knowledge Gap

The field service knowledge gap is rearing its ugly head in just about every field service organization. According to the Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Q3 2021 survey, a whopping 69% of companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring – a 15-year high. Market dynamics are causing the knowledge gap to widen to the point where customer satisfaction is suffering, labor costs are increasing, and margins are under pressure.

The knowledge gap is aggravated by three irreversible employment trends that have combined into a “perfect storm” of challenges for field service executives. First, we are facing an unprecedented Silver Tsunami with baby boomer service technicians retiring in droves. Second, industrialized countries are experiencing tight labor markets where companies face more difficulty than ever attracting and retaining skilled workers. Third, products are getting more complex. Ten years ago, few would have predicted that coffee-making equipment or commercial washing machines would carry onboard CPUs, have software interfaces, and be connected to the Internet.

Technicians Need Better Knowledge

The difficulty hiring service staff and the growing complexity of equipment presents new challenges for field service managers. In the Service Council’s 2021 survey of 900 field service technicians, over 90% said they needed more knowledge to meet their job responsibilities. If younger field service technicians are expected to service increasingly complex products, they must have easier access to technical information unintentionally locked up in corporate silos or trapped in the heads of their baby boomer teammates.

The challenge facing field service executives is capturing and making available valuable installation and servicing knowledge. One innovative and cost-effective solution is repurposing CAD data produced by product design teams to develop 3D instructions that are delivered to the field service staff’s mobile devices.

It’s no secret that a field service organization’s success is dependent on the speed and quality of the service provided by its technicians. Long gone are the days when field service technicians could quickly flip through a service manual to find the information needed to install or repair a product.

Even the best examples of 2D installation and servicing instructions can still leave less-experienced field service technicians confused and frustrated as they struggle to interpret the steps to a successful installation or repair.

Today’s sophisticated equipment requires hundreds of pieces of information to install, service, and maintain – information that is not easily digestible from PDF manual. It’s no wonder technicians are frustrated by the lack of quality knowledge available while on-site with a customer.

3D Makes the Complex More Digestible

3D instructions deliver information more efficiently by providing the visual elements lacking in traditional 2D PDF-based installation and service documentation.

New software technologies have been introduced that allow CAD data to be repurposed to generate a digital twin of a product including realistic images and animations.

With 3D instructions, field service technicians can interact with a digital twin of the product being installed or serviced including looking at the product from all angles. The technical information in a well-designed 3D instruction is the same as a 2D PDF; however, the technician follows a series of animated steps that bring the product to life and visually instruct the technician on the installation or repair procedures. In most 3D instructions, only limited text is used which minimizes the need for language localization.

Imagine being asked to replace the ink toner cartridge on an industrial printer that you rarely service. Your only information resource is a 300-page service manual in PDF format downloaded to your mobile phone. Translating what you read in the tiny text into a series of steps to replace the toner cartridge is a frustrating scenario that will increase the technician’s time on site and decrease first-time fix averages. Most likely, the technician will telephone a teammate to find help tying up two staff members.

Now, imagine how confident and knowledgeable you would feel replacing the toner cartridge if step-by-step instructions using a digital twin of the printer were accessible on your mobile phone.

3D instructions deliver the information that “green” field service technicians need without utilizing the valuable time of a more experienced coworker. With the use of links, technicians are not confined to just linear, 2D instructions. They can jump back and forth to different steps or even to a completely different set of instructions or web page.

The Future is 3D

The source of 3D installation and servicing instructions are repurposed CAD files that your product team created when designing the original product. It won’t be long before 3D instructions are essential to every field service organization’s digital transformation roadmap. Reducing technicians’ time on site, the number of telephone calls to teammates, and the number of times those calls turn into repeat service calls is a huge competitive advantage that will result in happier customers and less harried, more effective technicians.

Ready to learn more about leveraging 3D instructions to transform service for your field service organization?

AnswersAnywhere Targets the Field Service Skills Gap with the Launch of Smart3D

AnswersAnywhere Targets the Field Service Skills Gap with the Launch of Smart3D

WA – October 5, 2021 – AnswersAnywhere, a leader in mobile knowledge delivery solutions for service organizations, today announced Smart3D, an outsourced technology and services solution focused on creating step-by-step 3D installation and servicing instructions for equipment manufacturers.

With Smart3D, equipment manufacturers can bridge the skills gap by delivering interactive 3D instructions to laptops, tablets, and mobile phones used by technical support representatives and field service technicians. AnswersAnywhere’s knowledge delivery experts repurpose manufacturers’ existing CAD data to design and mobilize realistic product visualizations and step-by-step guidance to install and service equipment. 

To read the entire press release at PRWeb, click the button below. 

Case Study: BUNN Arms On-Site Engineers with Off-line Interactive Technical Data

When beverage equipment company BUNN realized they needed to provide their field service engineers with direct access to information in order to increase field service efficiency, and strengthen their reputation of exceptional post-product support via BUNNserve, they turned to AnswersAnywhere to deliver a custom, mobile product knowledge base.


Is Your Knowledge Management Strategy Preparing You for Life After COVID-19?

COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating digital transformation for service organizations, and knowledge management is playing an enormous part. Companies will need to rely heavily on third-party contractors, and all engineers — both third-party and employees — will need to limit contact onsite by completing the fix the first time and as quickly as possible. In addition, the forecasted economic downturn brought on by the pandemic is creating intense pressure within service organizations to reduce costs and increase profitability.

In a guest blog for ServiceMax, AnswersAnywhere VP Bo Wandell discusses how companies can provide the digital training and deeper knowledge that engineers need onsite to improve accuracy and efficiency, while also reducing cost pressures.