IT and business leaders have put tremendous effort into improving the customer experience and, more recently, the employee experience, using cloud-based tools and emerging technologies to gain insights into problems and improve collaboration.
But what about the service experience?
“Service has not followed a consumer-first model,” says Sajeel Hussain, CMO and Head of Strategic Alliances & Partnerships at CareAR. “It has been a reactive model with a focus on numbers: What is the mean time to resolution? How many tickets are open? How quickly can we send out a service truck?”
This outdated model is more reactive than proactive. It doesn’t account for the time customers spend reading online instructions in a vain attempt to solve problems themselves, calling for help only after they’ve given up. Trying unsuccessfully to decipher frustrating technical instructions, then waiting hours or days for a technician to arrive is anything but a good service experience.
Dispatching technicians for every problem is also tough on service suppliers, who must pay for the visits and, increasingly, lack enough employees to fill the demand, as experienced workers retire with no one to take their place. To make matters worse, technicians often can’t implement a fix on the first visit because they don’t know which tools or parts to bring, which degrades both the customer and technician experience.
The pandemic hammered home the need for service transformation, when sending out technicians suddenly was not an option. While on-site visits have returned to some degree, remote service is likely to sustain. In a recent survey by Field Service News, 87% of respondents said they now offer remote support.
A modern “experience” stack
Fortunately, a new model has emerged to bring customer and field service into the modern “experience” stack.
Service Experience Management (SXM) puts people – both customers and technicians – at the heart of the service experience. It is proactive rather than reactive, using augmented reality (AR) technology that literally shows customers or field workers, step-by-step, how to fix common problems or customize settings themselves.
“Service experience management ties the customer experience and the service employee experience together with immersive collaboration,” Hussain says. “It is rooted in the belief that the key to an amazing customer experience lies in providing an exceptional service and support experience that is easy, effective and emotionally engaging.”
AR technology used in this context lets customers and service technicians share an interactive, real-time visual display of customer equipment or other devices that need to be either installed or serviced. By virtually circling and annotating using augmented reality tools over live video, a remote expertcan guide a customer or a field technician to a solution in real time, eliminating the costly downtime they would experience waiting for on on-site service call. Customers may also simply point their camera to the device and get served up, step by step instructions in AR overlaid on the device, so they can easily follow along and not have to rely on product manuals. Service providers also save money, and technicians are freed up to respond to more complex cases.
We’re all in this together
Perhaps the best part of SXM is that the service interaction itself becomes a more cooperative, “we’re in this together” experience. Participating in the solution gives customers a feeling of accomplishment, and they will associate these positive feelings with the brand providing the service.
Of course, not every problem can be solved remotely. But by capturing AR customer interactions on recorded video, the technician knows which equipment to bring to a visit and which procedures to follow, solving problems quickly in one visit.
“Service Experience Management represents a new paradigm for managing field and customer service – one that works better for customers and service employees with return on investment results, sustainability benefits and ultimately brand differentiation,” Hussain says.
Given how customer expectations are changing, and the accelerated path to digital transformation that many businesses experienced during the pandemic, expect SXM to catch on quickly as service organizations look to transform their operating models to deliver exceptional service and support.
Learn more about reimagining the service experience.