Friday Service Recap: JetBlue, Facial Recognition, Right to Repair, Self-Service and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting customer service and customer effort minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the seventeenth installment, and week 21 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Is Customer-First Just a Smokescreen?
Source: The Low Down / Motherboard: http://www.thelowdownblog.com/2017/05/apple-verizon-caterpillar-and-consumer.html

Commentary: Right to Repair laws are being proposed and contested all across the country. Recently, New Jersey announced (link) that it was considering the pursuit of repair laws similar to those considered in New York and 10 other states. Similar laws have been shot down in Minnesota and Nebraska. This battle by manufacturers and service organizations against open repair policies is extremely interesting and points to the large market opportunity in the service and repair space. On the other hand, we see a great deal of manufacturers looking to open up more self-service resources for their customers as they look to provide better access to information to customers. Yet, this self-service information primarily pertains to account management and other requests that are costly to field in the support center or via field service dispatch. When it comes to profitable part sales or repairs, manufacturers want to limit the options and choice available to the customer for a variety of reasons (profitability, quality, reliability, and more). While one would normally assume that choice of repair options is what’s best for the customer, this might not always be the case.

I’d be extremely interested to get your thoughts as service leaders and as consumers…..Do respond with your opinions on the right to repair.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: JetBlue and Facial Recognition Boarding Process
Source: CNet (https://www.cnet.com/news/your-next-jetblue-boarding-pass-might-be-your-face/)

Commentary: Airlines have been in the news a lot lately. But, thankfully, this isn’t another airline gone wrong story. The article above actually looked at an airline being proactive in an attempt to solve a customer experience frustration – the boarding process for a flight. JetBlue is piloting a program with US Customs and Border Protection to leverage facial recognition and biometric data to get you on your flight without a physical boarding pass (either printed or mobile). I commend Jet Blue on their attempt to use available technology and data to speed up a process which rivals the example of a customer service call where you must re-enter information multiple times when you know the customer support agent already has your information stored in their knowledgebase. By the time you get to your gate, you would have already checked in online with your confirmation number, gone through security checkpoints with valid identification, and been seated in front the gate probably accessing wi-fi through your mobile device.

I don’t know if speeding up the boarding process by a few minutes will really improve my experience with the airline as there are so many other points to drop the ball along this journey (i.e., lost baggage, delayed flight, a seat back tv which doesn’t work), but at least JetBlue is trying. And, I have to commend them for attempting to ease customer effort.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Brands unclear who should take responsibility for customer experience (Marketing Week, 6/1/17)
2- Swedish bank SEB is using a ‘cognitive agent’ for customer service (DIGIDAY, 6/2/17)
3- Restaurants, bars adding technology to enhance customer experience (ABC7 News Chicago, 6/1/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events. We have also released our event calendar for the rest of 2017, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/future-events-2017-sys to see what’s on the calendar and how you can participate.

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Aribnb, Partner Apps, Video, VR, AR and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting customer service minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the sixteenth installment, and week 21 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: App Partnerships Focus on the Customer Experience
Source: Fast Company http://bit.ly/2qkG9Sh

Commentary: Third party applications and partnerships might just be the future for service organizations. Just think Apple. They allow third-party developers to create innovative applications and provide them a showcase on their platform. This frees Apple up to focus on future products, services, and their particular strategic advantages. In this article, Airbnb sees an opportunity to expand the value of their service to customers without the risk of new app development. This model will have an impact on the service industry as the consumer world continues to provide it with ideas and innovations. Why recreate the wheel when you can just partner? As barriers to innovation such as the move from on-premise to cloud infrastructures and mobility become more prevalent, service leaders will begin to look outside of their four walls or IT department for the next great service app. Obviously, industries like A&D or healthcare may be a bit slower to adopt this model, but I think we will see partnerships like the one Airbnb has embarked on enter the service world in the future.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: The Mother of All Demos
Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

Commentary: This is not necessarily a customer service story. This week at PTC’s LiveWorx, I was listening to any and all sessions that covered the topic of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality. On one of these sessions, I was introduced to the Mother of all Demos, a name given to Douglas Engelbart’s demonstration in December 1968 where he showcased some of the basics of modern computers several years before they became the norm. What blew me away was the success of the video conferencing piece of the demo. We still struggle with video conferencing and video-based collaboration, but it seems like video will be a growing trend when it comes to collaboration within members of the service organization and between the service organization and its customers.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Starbucks Alienates Baristas in Its Effort to Improve Customer Service (Inc., 5/23/17)
2- Customer service secret to Weber Motor Company’s longevity (Victoria Advocate, 5/21/17)
3- Citizens Expect a Consumer-Quality Customer Experience (Govtech Works, 5/24/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events. We have also released our event calendar for the rest of 2017, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/future-events-2017-sys to see what’s on the calendar and how you can participate.

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Succession Planning, Future Service Leaders, Alexa, Credit Cards and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting customer service minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the fifteenth installment, and week 20 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Succession Planning at the Leadership Level
Source: WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/succession-planning-in-a-family-business-1494381780

Commentary: On a recent conversation with one of our Advisory Board Members, we touched upon the topic of talent. We’ve had many discussions around talent and workforce management, particularly tied to the aging workforce. But this conversation focused on talent and succession planning at the service leadership level. The Advisory Board Member was interested in understanding what service companies were doing to build the next crop of service leaders. We brought this topic up on our regularly scheduled Research Advisory Board meeting held on May 18 and got some interesting feedback on how prepared service leaders felt about the next crop of business leaders. The conversation featured 3 major takeaways:
– Succession planning is not an event (as per the article). It must take place at all times and at all levels of the business
– Future leaders must be prepared for the role that will be vs. the role that is.
– Governance and process are central to ensuring that future leaders are consistently being evaluated

We’ll be hitting on the topic of succession planning in our 2017 service workforce and talent survey. If interested in participating in that project, please join our workforce and talent research group (http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group).

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Alexa and Paying Your Credit Card Bill
Source: Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/12/amazon-alexa-american-express/

Commentary: What is the cost of cool technology? Sometimes the sticker shock associated with the purchase of something such as a set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, a Viking grill, or Amazon Echo may give you pause. But the value of these products, beyond their stated goals for quality and heightened experience, comes down to your perceived ROI. This article details how American Express will soon provide Amazon Echo customers the ability to monitor credit card activity, pay bills, and check a balance. As a recent buyer of an Echo, I am now constantly in search of more applications to that will further integrate Echo into my normal life. Maximizing my investment is a way to validate the purchase. And if this validation fulfills a need like paying a bill, my purchase in this product transforms from a luxury-only item to a more practical product. As seen in recent research on Service Success in 2017 trends (http://info.servicecouncil.com/report-2017-service-success-reg), service organizations will excel this year if they empower their customers with the right data and capabilities to improve their own experiences. This TSC report highlighted how a key initiative for service organizations will be to improve ease of use and reduce the effort for the customer. My Amazon example also highlights the impact of the service network, manufacturers and partners have a symbiotic relationship which demands shared goals and value creation. American Express can enhance their customer’s experiences by creating an integration with Amazon and vice versa.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Dish Offers Customer Service App in Spanish for Smartphones and Tablets (CED, 5/19/17)
2- Nordstrom Customer Experience Influenced by Multiple Touch Points (Loyalty 360, 5/18/17)
3- Systems upgrade causes shipping delays for L.L. Bean (Portland Press Herald, 4/24/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events. We have also released our event calendar for the rest of 2017, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/future-events-2017-sys to see what’s on the calendar and how you can participate.

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Perception, Bad Press, Customer Experience, Airlines and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the fourteenth installment, and week 19 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Perception Will Remain Reality When It Comes to Customer Service
Source: USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/05/10/jd-power-despite-recent-news-airlines-doing-great-customer-service/101498980/

Commentary: This article highlights the impact that bad press and the ability to go viral can have on your customer service brand. Despite showing improvements across a number of key metrics, just a few (really) bad experiences which have been captured on video have created a perception that the airlines don’t really value creating a good experience for customers. Perceived value matters and service organizations across industries must re-evaluate their service brand impressions. Just think about how many times you fly every year. Now, how many truly bad experiences have you had? The problem is, even if that number is one, you see all experiences on all airlines through that lens. This is what it means by thinking customer-first. Instead of thinking about our own operational efficiencies or the way we perceive all the good we do most of the time, we as service leaders need to think about each service interaction and make sure we deliver quality each time. And almost as importantly, each service employee needs to be engaged and invested in delivering great service experiences even when the policy may say something different or they happen to be having a bad day. One poor experience can ruin a brand for a long time. Too often service organizations think they are immune because they have reached a point where only one out of 100,000 errors occur. Let’s just hope that one isn’t the one influencer who can put a dent in your margins.

Sumair’s pick:

Sumair will take another week off, but he will be back with a vengeance next Friday.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Innovation, customer experience and the ‘yuck factor’ (McKnight’s Senior Living, 5/8/17)
2- Customer service and the 4 keys of the Japanese tea ceremony (Asia Times, 5/12/17)
3- Customer Service in Healthcare: The Paradox of Patient Satisfaction and Patient Experience (Forbes, 5/11/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Customer Value, Amazon, a Mountain of Boxes, New Opportunities, and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the thirteenth installment, and week 18 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Sumair will be taking this week off from posting. He will be back with his thoughts on customer service next week.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Amazon, a Mountain of Boxes, & Hidden Consequences or Opportunities
Source: CNET: https://www.cnet.com/news/ups-will-save-you-from-that-mountain-of-empty-amazon-boxes/

Commentary: Recently my family and I moved into a new home. The amount of work mirrored that of our day jobs, both in stress and detailed tasks to be executed. One thing, in particular, floored me – the amount of boxes we needed in order to pack up our entire life. On one sleepless night, I had somewhat of an epiphany, instead of buying new boxes why not just move up some of my Amazon purchases so I could fulfill my need for shipping boxes with recycled ones. Now this dual purpose isn’t for everyone, and Amazon is beginning to attempt to address the overwhelming volume of cardboard entering the market. The ease at which most of us hit “confirm purchase” on a 2-day shipment has caused all sorts of issues in the supply chain. But as this article highlights, it provides an opportunity for Amazon and their partners to find innovative ways to not only make their processes more efficient but also to lessen the burden on the consumer. As seen in recent TSC research, most organizations see the customer experience as a differentiator for their businesses. This customer-first approach demands that organizations like Amazon continuously improve their internal efficiencies, while also ensuring they provide customer value. I needed the extra bulky boxes for my move, but not all customers are in my predicament. Savvy service organizations will continue to better understand their customer’s needs, focus on customer value, evolve the offerings they provide and do all of this profitably.

Our Three Other Articles:
1- Fisher & Paykel looks to AI for customer experience (ZDNet, 5/1/17)
2- Customer Experience Transformation: One CMO’s Powerful Story (Forbes.com, 5/3/17)
3- Meet LoweBot, a customer-service robot here to give you ‘superpowers’ (PRI, 5/4/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: The Bank Branch, Labor Issues, MRO, and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the twelfth installment, and week 17 of 2017:


Aly’s pick:

Topic: Customer Service Needs a Human Touch
Source: Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/metro-bank-pairs-bank-branches-with-customer-service-surprise-surprise-it-works-a7703206.html

Commentary: There are many articles and stories welcoming the end to the live, human customer service interaction. We have seen and heard of the looming threat of IoT, AR, VR, and machines which take over service interactions; mainly those that are repeatable and predictable. This emergence of automation and the cost efficiencies that it can bring has all but done away with the physical bank branch. This trend is prevalent across other industries too, just ask the retail industry. Consumers like convenience and the on-demand economy seem to require that service organizations work in an environment of 24/7/365. But something interesting is happening in the face of this type of change. Organizations like the Metro Bank of London have decided the best way to create better customer experiences is not to over-automate but instead provide human interactions in brick and mortar locations. As seen in recent TSC research, 57% of organizations state that customer management and experience initiatives are their top focus in 2017. And the customer wants better service and more value. Despite the higher costs associated with human employees and the overhead of the physical footprint, this bank is betting on the ability to differentiate through personalized engagements and interactions. I think we will continue to see organizations like the Metro Bank try to flip the prevailing paradigm to build loyalty through differentiated experiences. The race to the bottom of the cost structure may soon end, and organizations need to think of innovative ways to cement customer relationships.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Labor Issues in the MRO field
Source: MRO-Network: http://www.mro-network.com/maintenance-repair-overhaul/labor-technology-issues-could-hamper-mro-prosperity

Commentary: There are many parallels between the service management and MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) fields. The article above talks about some of the key trends in aircraft and aviation-related MRO and these trends are similar to what we see if field service management. In the research presented 78% of organizations indicated that it is becoming more difficult for them to find new talent and to compete with parallel industries for front-line technician talent. Organizations believe that the labor issue will come to an impasse in the next 5-7 years. We recently published similar results tied to the aging and retiring workforce in field service. 7 out of 10 companies that we speak to are concerned about the aging workforce in the next 5-10 years, an issue compounded by a greater complexity of service assets that need to be supported. You can access our recent report here.

On the MRO side, it’s also extremely interesting to see that 62% of organizations indicate that their IT infrastructures are ripe for transformation and that current investments in new technologies and data analytics are yet to have a material impact on their businesses. This too parallels what we see in field service management. There is a desire for organizations to revamp their IT infrastructure to support a more nimble and connected field service organization.

We encourage you to participate in our research groups around field service, service technology, and workforce and talent. In each of these groups, we will be conducting projects that focus on:

• Field Service: Mobility
• Service Technology: Build vs. Buy: The IT Stack for the Service Organization
• Workforce and Talent: The Future Service Workforce

Your alignment with a research group is tied to your area of expertise.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Comcast says customer service overhaul is showing results (The Oregonian, 4/23/17)
2- Insurers Increasingly Embrace Robots over Humans for Customer Service (Insurance Journal, 4/19/17)
3- How can they help you? By making a call to customer service painless (Boston Globe, 4/20/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

Friday Service Recap: Hulu, the Competition, Alarm Fatigue and IoT, and More Customer Service Stories for the Week

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.

For the eleventh installment, and week 16 of 2017:

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Considering a Solution to Alarm Fatigue with IoT
Source: WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/news/20170411/nurse-whats-taking-so-long

Commentary: As more companies consider investments in the Internet of Things to support their service businesses, there is a fear that organizations would be inundated with too much data and suffer from their own version of alarm fatigue. This was verified by a recent conversation I had with a data scientist at a large medical device manufacturing and servicing organization. Sensors allow for the creation of whole new set of alarms and organizations need to be able to identify which alarms are worth chasing. As per the research conducted in the article it’s extremely interesting to find that the personnel responding to alarms were able to diagnose and respond to the critical alarms while their response to non-critical events varied. Results seen here, as well as those identified in other case studies (here and here) on alarm fatigue, could provide valuable insight on how organizations might look to tackle the challenge of IoT-enabled data. The answer isn’t just to invest in predictive analytics or machine learning, but to truly understand which alarms are worth paying attention to. We’ve discussed some of our best practices tied to IoT strategy in a recent paper.

Aly’s pick:

Topic: Hulu Uses Customer Service to Beat Competition
Source: Tech Crunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/13/hulu-to-open-a-dedicated-customer-service-center-in-san-antonio-with-500-employees/

Commentary: With all the focus recently being placed on customer service and the lack thereof, it should come as no shock that organizations are rethinking their investments in service. However, what I think is interesting about the investments Hulu is planning on making is their desire to use the customer experience to beat their competition. They are thinking about customer service and the experiences they are able to create as “selling points” for their offering. This highlights how customer service can be a proactive value-add and not a response to a bad interaction or product. When we looked at focus areas for service in 2016, two of the top three were people development and customer-centric initiatives (as noted by 46% of respondents, respectively). People deliver the experiences your customers value, and in turn, you have the right to ask for their continued business. Engaged employees understand that dragging a customer off a plane is not good for anyone. Hulu has gotten the message that customer service should be a focus for the present and their future success.

Our Three Other Articles
1- Why Airlines Can Get Away With Bad Customer Service (the Atlantic, 4/15/17)
2- Improving Customer Service Can Make You More Money (The Huffington Post, 4/16/17)
3- Aeromexioco: First Advanced AI Customer Service Chatbot (eTurboNews, 4/19/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com
@pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com
@suma1r

A Few Thoughts from the Field Service Summit UK

By Aly Pinder | Perspective | No Comments

After another week of poor customer service examples (i.e., United Airlines), it was refreshing to hear about good customer service at Copperberg’s Field Service Summit at the University of Warwick in England. The event was a day-long series of discussions from service leaders, field service technology providers, and the research community highlighting how service can deliver value to customers which exceeds expectations.

At these events, I typically look for trends that are in alignment with the data captured in my day-to-day research. I also look for key learnings that challenge me to look at an aspect of service which previously not on my radar. This event provided several nuggets which made the trip across the ocean more than worthwhile. Here are the three items which most drew my attention:

The balance between employee perks and productivity
For many of us, our work days are blending into our personal lives. Our always-on lifestyles which afford us to work 24 hours a day via the computer in our pockets with the capabilities to get and respond to email any time, schedule a meeting, attend meetings via video chat, and sign an invoice while on the go, also provides us with the ability to waste away our ‘free’ time on Facebook, Instagram, or Pokemon Go. The convergence of work and personal applications is causing IT departments to weigh in on the debate over engagement vs. cost and productivity in field service. What is too much (personal) data usage and does this access to personal apps during the work day improve or distract the field team? As seen in recent TSC research, field service engineers in Europe often feel isolated from their peers, their managers, and the rest of the organization. Based on the discussions at the Field Service Summit, I think organizations need to provide the field team with the technology to do their job, but also the tools to stay connected to their peers for collaboration, interaction, and camaraderie. There are protocols that can be put in place to monitor and curtail abuse, but these small perks shouldn’t be taken away as you may end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Technicians and skilled field staff are too difficult to find, and thus service organizations must provide incentives to hold on to these members of the team even if your data plan gets pushed to the limit.

The paperless field visit is a myth
For years now there has been a perception that with added functionality of mobile devices we could reach a point where a technician would only need one device to do all their work and wouldn’t need paper forms at all. This perceived nirvana doesn’t seem to be getting any closer (if this was the desired nirvana at all). The worst part of the technician’s day is, in fact, paperwork and administrative tasks as well as looking for information, as found in TSC research.

FT Europe - Worst Part of Day

But paper isn’t going away. Several service leaders detailed a field environment where an engineer needed to go on to a customer site where device access was restricted. This instance makes the paperless field visit impossible, as a technician must do their work via paper forms or service manuals, and then once back in the truck complete the task. This example highlights that there isn’t one size fits all for field service. Organizations must be able to adapt to their customer’s environments and demands while enabling the technician with the information (no matter the form factor) to solve problems on a first visit.

Connectivity, connectivity, connectivity
The ability to connect is something we often take for granted in our personal lives. While traveling, I assume I will have Wi-Fi in airports, and my frustration rises whenever I get a prompt to pay for a daily pass when all I need is an hour of connectivity until my next flight. For me, this is just an inconvenience, but for a technician attempting to access up-to-date work information, this is much more of a bother. This lack of connectivity can be the difference between prompt resolution on a first visit and the need to call back to a remote expert or worse yet the potential use of outdated information to try a series of “fixes”. The need to resolve issues faster for customers who have increased expectations is putting a strain on service teams who conduct work in remote areas where connectivity is limited and mobile information is of little use. In my opinion, the future of ubiquitous connectivity is far off, and organizations need to assume technicians will have to complete work offline at times. Success depends on equipping technicians with the right information and knowledge to solve problems regardless of levels of connectivity because it is not always available. Your customers don’t care if you have a connection, they need you to resolve their issues and ensure downtime is minimized.

These are just a few of the themes and takeaways from this year’s Field Service Summit. I look forward to attending again next year. If you would like to continue discussions like these, you don’t have to wait until next year to join in the conversation. Please get involved in The Service Council research here and mark your calendar for this year’s sixth annual Smarter Services Symposium to be held in Chicago, IL September 11 – 13 where all of these topics and more will be discussed. I hope to see you in Chicago later this year or next year back in the UK (or places in between).

Aly Pinder Jr
Director of Member Research & Communities
The Service Council
ap@servicecouncil.com
818-590-5373
@pinderjr

Are Augmented Reality Applications Ready? Service Leaders Respond

By Sumair Dutta | Perspective | No Comments

Our current research project on Augmented Reality in service and support has yielded a treasure trove of data. The survey is still live and will be available for another week before we close and summarize results. To participate, please visit https://www.research.net/r/tsc2017ar

Only 12% of participating organizations (n=65) indicate that they are currently using AR in service and support (field service, customer support or training). However, interest in the technology is extremely high. Sixty-one percent of respondents are evaluating applications for use in the next 5 years. Of those evaluating, 40% are currently running live pilots.
Are AR Solutions Ready?

Based on what’s available, 30% of respondents believe that AR applications are ready for use in field service and customer support organizations. Another 28% believe that the applications aren’t ready yet, but they are close.

For those who believe that AR applications still need some work before they are ready for the service enterprise, the following are things that need to change.

  • Ease/speed with which AR content can be created
  • Integration of AR into current workflows
  • Ease of use
  • Integration of AR with existing applications

A number of these issues and challenges aren’t specific to the available applications, they’re more so a commentary on how companies need to transform or reconsider content to get the most out of AR. Organizations can currently insert basic video-related or AR capabilities for specific use cases in field service and customer support, but to get the most out of their investment, they have to consider their current service workflows and the role that AR-enabled connection and content can play in enriching those workflows.

As indicated, we’re still interested in opinions from other service and support organizations interested in the topic of AR. You don’t need a live project to participate. Results will only be shared in aggregate, and these results will be made available to all participants at the end of the month. To participate, please visit https://www.research.net/r/tsc2017ar.

We shared early results from our research on a recent webinar featuring TSC member Lee Company. Lee received a great deal of attention for their 2016 technology deployment, considered to be the largest rollout of wearable technology at that time. Listen in here.

Friday Service Recap: Jeff Bezos on Business Success, Artificial Intelligence, Generation Z

By Sumair Dutta | News | One Comment

Every week, Aly and I will post our most interesting service-minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 2-3 others for your review.

For the tenth installment, and week 15 of 2017:

Aly’s pick:

Aly was traversing the world this week and will send in his travel report next week.

Sumair’s pick:

Topic: Customer Obsession at Amazon
Source: recode: Link

Commentary: Jeff Bezos’s annual shareholder letter hasnt reached the acclaim of Warren Buffet’s but given all the accolades that Amazon receives, and for the fact that Bezos is now the 2nd richest person person in the world (besting Buffett), its worth a read. There are many interesting areas in this letter, but the one that stands out the most is his focus on customer obsession. I really enjoy this line:

“Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”

In our 2017 benchmark survey of service leaders (GET INVOLVED), nearly 6 out of 10 indicated that customer-centric initiatives were their primary area of focus for 2017. While not all of these leaders are looking to invent on their customers’ behalf, they are beginning to understand that success requires more than an obsession with operational efficiency or with product development.
2017 Objectives - TSC Data

Our Three Other Articles
1- Can United Recover (Knowledge at Wharton, 4/13/17)
2- How Companies Are Using AI (Harvard Business Review, 4/14/17)
3- Amazon will pay you to stay home, work customer service (RetailDive, 3/29/17)

If interested in viewing our latest data and insight, please visit: http://info.servicecouncil.com/recent-content-and-events

We would love to have you become part of our research panel. If you would like to, please visit http://info.servicecouncil.com/tsc-join-a-research-group and select the area(s) of alignment. (* Participation in research groups is reserved for practitioners only. Consultants and technology solution providers are not allowed to join and will be referred to other ways of getting involved.)

Till next week.

Aly Pinder
Director of Member Research & Communities
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

Sumair Dutta
Chief Customer Officer
sd@servicecouncil.com or @suma1r

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