The introduction and proliferation of smart products has completely transformed the traditional services industry. What customers used to tolerate in terms of getting their home appliances or consumer electronics repaired just doesn’t cut it anymore. For consumers, it’s now an entirely different journey.Just 10 to 20 years ago, if a consumer’s refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, washer or dryer stopped working, they called their product seller, requested service on the unit, and were told they would have to wait a week or more for a service technician to come to the home to assess the problem. Then, once the technician arrived onsite, he would advise the consumer that they would need to order a part, and reschedule the call once the part comes in. This whole episode would typically take a few weeks or more before the unit was back up and running again.
Fast forward to today and, for these same types of appliances – many of which are now smart – the entire services cycle can conceivably be collapsed from as long as a few weeks, to just a few hours. The advent of smart appliances now allows the services provider to diagnose the problem remotely, determine the appropriate fix, and execute that fix – remotely, if possible – sometimes before the consumer even knows there had been a problem.
When parts are needed, this activity can now easily be performed online directly by the services provider or, in some cases, by the consumer itself. If an onsite service call is still required, the overall cycle time from when the problem was first reported, until the service technician arrives onsite, could also be shortened significantly – again, from weeks to days.
In today’s world, the customer no longer needs to do all the talking. It is quickly turning into a world where the appliances or devices now make the call themselves – remotely through sensor-based telematics, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), and communicated over the Web.
But this scenario only works if the services provider is, itself, empowered through the right mix of Field Service Management (FSM) tools, functionalities, resources and capabilities.
The product/services lifecycle is a powerful entity, almost taking on a life of its own in the customer’s mind. Having access to the tools and resources necessary to manage this lifecycle is a must for those services organizations that attempt to take on the global powerhouses by positioning themselves as the consumer’s go-to provider of service and support throughout the entire Customer Journey. As such, it is critical to establish your services organization as the primary go-to provider of service and support for its entire customer base. Otherwise it may find itself constantly trying to keep pace with its traditional competition, while the industry giants, such as Amazon and Google, make further forays into the services marketplace.