26.05.2020

Reliable After Sales Service even in Times of Corona

After Sales Service despite Corona Crisis

The corona virus and the associated restrictions still influence our private and working life in many ways. Contact restrictions, distance regulations and travel bans also affect after sales customer service. Digital solutions have therefore become all the more important in recent weeks for successful remote maintenance.

Remain future-proof thanks to Remote Service

Especially in the investment and industrial goods sector, customer service is facing unprecedented challenges: After-sales customer service can no longer be provided on site as usual. Effective alternatives are required for repair, maintenance, improvement and expansion work on vehicles, plant and machinery.

Due to their versatile advantages, digital solution options have been enjoying increasing popularity for many years; in the context of the corona crisis they have become largely indispensable.

The restrictions of recent weeks have given their importance a particularly steep upswing. Since infection protection will most likely continue to play a major role in the long term, the expansion of Service 4.0 is already proving worthwhile for this purpose.

Companies that have not yet seen the need for corresponding changes should not underestimate the increasing competitive pressure: As the number of companies digitalizing their service offerings is growing rapidly, the corresponding demand and expectations of customers are also increasing.

Numerous well-known companies have already recognised the advantages of digitalised services: For example, the FRIMO Group especially appreciates the drastic reduction of error analysis times, MESSER Cutting Systems emphasizes the reduced downtimes and the especially fast service; EVONIK calls the digitized service options “entry technology for further innovations”, and LESER reports that thanks to the digitization measures no corona-related restrictions in the daily work routine were observed.

After sales service despite corona virus: Here’s how it works

Data glasses

The data glasses, also known as Smartglass, are an extremely helpful tool for fast, successful remote maintenance: they are glasses with an integrated computer. The glasses are equipped with a display. This enables the user to perceive his environment and digital images in front of his eyes at the same time. With the help of this so-called augmented reality, the customer receives visual information and instructions directly in his field of vision.

By switching to the customer’s glasses, a service employee can transfer the customer’s complete field of vision to his computer screen or other terminal device. This allows the service employee to assess the object from the customer’s direct view and to provide targeted, unambiguous assistance and (if necessary) immediate correction instructions. Markings, information and circuit diagrams entered into the display enable a considerably more efficient working method than looking up in a manual or file in parallel.

The Smartglass enables the customer to work hands-free under the reliable guidance of the expert who is called in: all his actions are carried out under a professional shoulder view.

Data glasses ADTANCE

Video live chat

The use of a live video chat is familiar to most customers and can be realized faster than the purchase of data glasses. It is therefore a worth mentioning alternative. Moreover, the conversation partners can see each other, which makes the conversation more open and personal: The result is an atmosphere of trust, similar to a face-to-face meeting. The customer feels particularly individually and less anonymously cared for, which increases customer loyalty.

The service employee can also use video chat to inspect the product, give the customer acoustic instructions and observe whether they are being carried out correctly. In some cases, Videochat is therefore already sufficient to help the customer find a quick solution

Digital customer service: pros and cons

Advantages and opportunities

The advantages of digital remote maintenance are far-reaching and make it an increasingly popular alternative to on-site service:

  • Protection against infection
  • Elimination of the tracks
  • Precise time planning
  • Spontaneous, location-independent help
  • Possibility of adding further experts

In the context of infection protection, the avoidance of direct interpersonal contact is of enormous importance. On-site assistance is either not possible at all or only possible if strict precautions are taken; and always associated with a residual risk. Remote maintenance represents an uncomplicated and completely harmless alternative.

By eliminating the need for roadways, you effectively save time and money: Not only the travel time itself, but also the effort for a previous route planning and the calculation of time buffers in case of adverse road or weather conditions are eliminated.

The further and more complicated the journey, the more difficult it is to plan an exact time schedule: especially if several customers are visited one after the other or the service employee is at the customer’s site for the first time. The digital remote maintenance enables the customer to be contacted to the minute. Different customers can be served in any order, completely independent of the location of their companies.

A spontaneous, location-independent assistance is always welcome: For most customers a quick solution to a problem has high priority. Especially the failure of a machine can be associated with increasing financial losses the longer the repair is delayed. Thanks to After Sales Service 4.0, the customer can be helped immediately in an emergency at any time, regardless of distance.

Furthermore, the remote service includes the great advantage of being able to call in additional experts spontaneously. In this way, it is possible to act quickly and effectively even in the event of unexpected difficulties without having to make a new appointment and plan a further journey. By actually calling in a second employee only when necessary, unnecessary costs are avoided.

Disadvantages and risks

In addition to the clear advantages of the digital service, there are of course also some negative aspects that should not remain unmentioned. These include:

Acquisition cost

  • Dependence on the Internet connection
  • Dependence on customer compliance
  • Purely visual and acoustic information exchange
  • Less proximity to customers

The acquisition costs for the necessary software and hardware cannot be dismissed. However, due to the far-reaching savings that the digitalization of customer service brings with it in everyday life, these costs will always pay off in the long run.

Communication stands and falls with the Internet connection. Disturbances can make the exchange of information difficult or impossible. However, since a functioning Internet connection can be considered standard nowadays, this problem is rather the exception.

A successful problem solution is also crucially dependent on the compliance of the customer: Explaining necessary actions to a layperson from a distance can take a comparatively long time. The lack of experience, expertise or manual skills results in corresponding delays. Possible language barriers also make communication more difficult.

The purely visual and acoustic exchange of information is usually completely sufficient. Nevertheless, it is a certain deficit that the service employee is not able to make an assessment by independently touching and moving the machine or system. In individual cases, smells can also provide valuable information.

A lack of personal contact can have a negative effect on customer proximity. Despite all the advantages of Customer Care 4.0, there are also some customers who still prefer personal contact.

Conclusion

The digitalisation of service offers was already on the advance before the Corona crisis; that there is no way around it in the long term has been clear at least since the introduction of contact restrictions and distance regulations. The need for digital alternatives in pandemic times, the changed expectations of customers and the increasing competitive pressure from companies that have already implemented extensive digitization measures are three compelling arguments.

ADTANCE is your reliable partner for all concerns regarding digitalisation. Contact us and get to know the versatile, individual possibilities with which we make your service competitive in the long term! We accompany beginners on their first steps into the world of Service 4.0 as well as advanced users and professionals who want to expand their existing remote service.