What telephone booths have to do with service organization?

Customer Success | min. reading time

18th of August 2021

Martin Plutz Blog oculavis
Gebhardt Produktion Telefonzelle Service
Open exchange sessions between the participants of the ARxelerator program currently take place every Friday. Success factors and hurdles in the technical and organizational implementation of remote support or step-by-step instructions in customer service are discussed here and answers are found. A particularly unconventional and innovative idea on how to organize customer service in mechanical and plant engineering was recently presented here by the GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group. All participants were astonished when suddenly there was a discussion about a telephone booth in the production floor. The conversation was about available capacities in the service helpdesk of the company. If not enough employees are available there, remote support services cannot be rolled out as quickly as one might wish due to a lack of capacity. But this is not the case at GEBHARDT. If the helpdesk is busy or the technical expertise of the production staff is needed quickly in the event of a fault at the end customer, the colleagues on the production floor are simply integrated into the service process.

Marco Gebhardt SmartGlass
Every GEBHARDT employee is committed to personal responsibility for the best possible service to the customer. This sentence from our company philosophy served as a model for our approach of also directly involving employees from production in customer support. Because that's where they know the machines best.”, says Marco Gebhardt, CEO, about the motivation.

A telephone booth set up as a fully-fledged office workstation is the simple answer to the question of how to achieve this without exposing the end customer to loud background noise from manufacturing. And long distances from production to an office would also be inefficient. Another important aspect is the visibility of the solution and the associated proximity to the customer. In essence, it is about the responsibility of all employees for the quality of the machines supplied, customer service, and ultimately customer satisfaction.

Change management when augmented realtiy solutions are implemented

An inspiring, fresh, yet simple innovation that almost any company can adapt in a similar way when implementing remote support services. After all, implementing innovative technologies like augmented reality in service always triggers a need for change in the processes where the innovation is to be introduced. This usually means questioning and changing processes or adapting the allocation of resources in the process to the new technological possibilities. In practical terms, this can mean, for example:

  • Incentivize the use of remote support and tie it to metrics, such as remote fix rate
  • Establish usage agreements with end customers and integrate them into service contracts
  • Empower internal users, which can mean training and process documentation
  • Provide end customers with entry points into the new service process, e.g., through external presentation of remote service offerings in marketing or placing QR codes on machines, equipment, or components to create a physical service contact point
  • Or just think around the corner and set up telephone booths on the production floor to be successful

In any case, it is a matter of redesigning processes and mentally and substantively involving the people who work in them so that the change succeeds. Those who take these points into account from proof of concept (PoC) to rollout have the best chance of permanently leveraging the added value of augmented reality and remote support and benefiting from advantages such as faster response times in service or savings on travel costs.

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