Throughout the Service Council’s 2022 Smarter Services™ Executive Symposium, held this past September in Chicago, one topic kept coming up: Artificial Intelligence (AI). As service leaders turn their attention to 2023, and the challenges that will come with it, implementing AI and service intelligence to modernize their organization is high on their agenda.
In the 2022 Service Leader’s Agenda survey, when asked which technologies service leaders would be investing in that year, AI rose from #9 in 2021 to number #3. Additionally, early returns from the 2023 State of the Market: Digital Transformation & Service Technology survey found that 95% of respondents reported that artificial intelligence was very important in helping to run a high-performance service organization. Recently, Service Council CEO John Carroll sat down with Dave Hartley, VP of Customer Care at Translogic, a division of Swisslog Healthcare, and Andrea Berg, Sales Director at Neuron7, to discuss Swisslog’s journey to AI and how they’ve leveraged the technology to build a resolution system of record.
A Global Leader Focused on Efficiency
Swisslog Healthcare is a global industry leader for medication management solutions. Dave Hartley oversees the Customer Care team for TransLogic, a division of Swisslog Healthcare, which has approximately 100 field service technicians throughout the U.S. and Canada that average 50 maintenance visits a week and 20 to 40 break/fix and on-demand calls per week. The length of resolution times adds strain to the team, something Hartley attributes to inefficiencies within the organization, namely due to lack of access to information. As Hartley puts it, “our techs put in a lot of overtime.”
This is a broad industry challenge that Swisslog shares with many other organizations. In the 2022 Voice of the Field Service Engineer survey, frontline agents said the time they spent looking for information was the second least favorite part of their day-to-day job, right behind paperwork and administrative tasks.
The Journey to AI
For Swisslog, the pressure to deliver efficient service while also staying abreast of the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare technology was another key challenge. Pockets of innovation throughout the country made it difficult for technicians to share knowledge. Says Hartley, “For example, what might have been a cutting-edge system in Florida five years ago could just now be reaching hospitals in Boston. This means that the technicians who had installed those systems in Florida half a decade ago hadn’t necessarily retained the knowledge to share with their Boston counterparts years later.” In order to address these inefficiencies and empower their technicians with better access to knowledge, Hartley and his team decided to explore the implementation of artificial intelligence. Enter, Neuron7.
Neuron7 is an AI-powered resolution intelligence platform that works with existing customer service systems and data to help service organizations diagnose and resolve issues faster and more profitably. According to Berg, one of the features that sets Neuron7 apart from other AI solutions on the market is its ability to help resolve issues at any stage of the customer service journey. By leveraging the data and expertise that organizations already have, Neuron7 provides resolution intelligence wherever it is needed, whether this is in a customer self-service capacity, in call centers or out in the field.
Regarding the challenges that Swisslog is facing, Berg says that these are common trends she is seeing in the industry. “If I could aggregate all of the conversations we’re having with service organizations, the top three pain points we hear about are frontline agents not being able to find the information they need easily, missed opportunities for self-service/call deflection, and lack of expert knowledge capture.”
Transforming Data Siloes into Knowledge Gold
According to Hartley, one of the biggest values that Neuron7 can deliver is the ability to take unstructured data and build a single source of truth. “We’re a hundred-year-old company. We have data coming out of our ears, but none of it is searchable.” With Neuron7, Swisslog can take information from multiple sources and provide it to the technician working on that piece of equipment. Says Hartley, “Instead of spending 3 hours researching and troubleshooting, the tech has their answer in 3 seconds.”
Neuron7 also provides step-by-step troubleshooting, allowing technicians to complete a more thorough triage and diagnosis, resulting in fewer parts replacements, lower warranty costs and less downtime for the customer. An additional benefit for Swisslog is accelerated training. As with many organizations, the need for new hires to be field-ready is high. Says Hartley, “As we bring on new technicians, we need them out in the field being productive as fast as possible.”
With Neuron7’s intelligence, less experienced techs can easily find the answers they need without needing to call more experienced colleagues. The added advantage, says Hartley, is an improvement in both customer and technician confidence. Not only do new technicians feel more empowered because they have the answers at hand, but customers have confidence that the technician is knowledgeable about the product.
The Future of Intelligent Resolution
The nature of field service makes it nearly impossible to avoid siloed data. As organizations’ installed base grows and new, more complex products are released, the knowledge needed to service these products increases. This knowledge is often spread throughout the organization in the form of knowledge articles, case files, SharePoint folders and pdfs. When you add the challenge of capturing the knowledge that resides in the heads of more experienced technicians, the problem can seem overwhelming.
This, says Berg, is where the true power of Neuron7 lies. “It doesn’t matter if the data is structured or unstructured. There is so much richness hiding in the data that already exists within organizations. We’re able to tie that all together, plus layer it with expert input from experienced engineers and deliver a highly accurate, real-time, scalable, resolution system of record.”
With Neuron7, Hartley is excited to see what the future holds. “I really can’t say enough about how powerful this tool is. As any service leader knows, there’s what an engineer writes in a manual, and then there’s what the technician does in the field, and they don’t always line up. Neuron7 allows us to tap into that knowledge and create a record of it so future technicians have access to that knowledge. It’s eliminating entire siloes of information and giving our techs a one-stop shop for the answers they need.”