How Asset Data Helps Manufacturers Retain Customers

In today’s competitive landscape, combined with challenging customer expectations and workforce transition, the level of service continues to be pushed to the forefront for manufacturers. Customer service and satisfaction are critical in ensuring that manufacturers deliver strong outcomes.

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Patrick LethertPatrick Lethert

In today’s competitive landscape, combined with challenging customer expectations and workforce transition, the level of service continues to be pushed to the forefront for manufacturers. Customer service and satisfaction are critical in ensuring that manufacturers deliver strong outcomes. Servicing the installed base means ensuring each customer interaction is positive — technician arrived on time, problem fixed, questions answered, call returned, case closed.

To manage these interactions, most manufacturers invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software to collect and store basic contact and issue information about their customers, including how often they’ve called, what issues they’ve had and general details regarding resolution.

All of this information helps manufacturers understand the customer and gauge their level of satisfaction for each visit or interaction.

Why CRM Information and Asset Data Matters

Asset data can provide key insights to diagnose issues faster, improve prioritization of calls and better understand a customer’s prior service investments. Organizations can no longer rely on experience and gut feel to make the right decisions. The field team, dispatchers, and service leadership all need data in order to adapt to changing trends and service needs. Whether technicians are seasoned or new to the job, this data can help solve complex issues. Since customers frequently have options when it comes to service, organizations must equip their technicians with the tools and data insights necessary to solve complex problems efficiently and keep customer assets up, running and productive.

If companies really want to improve customer retention, they must not only ensure customer satisfaction with each interaction but also provide a great customer experience, which encompasses all service interactions in total. Happy customers renew service contracts, buy more service offerings and refer new business to the organization. In the high-stakes world of customer experience, one bad interaction can outweigh a long line of satisfactory ones.

To deliver a great customer experience and be able to differentiate from competitors, companies must manage their field service process using more than the basic information available in a CRM system. The key is to combine that information with deeper data mined from the installed base. 

Highly valuable information can be found at the asset level, such as:

  • Previous service details
  • Parts purchased by the customer
  • Previous technicians dispatched
  • Billing history

Insights from this information allow service teams, dispatchers, and technicians to improve the customer experience in a variety of ways:

Diagnose Issues Faster Using Big Data

Technicians can see previous service invoices, what problems have been encountered, and what parts were used. This information helps technicians determine what item may need attention on the next visit. If a customer has more than one of your products, it’s more valuable to know the history of the asset in question than to guess which repairs were completed on which item.

Resolve Issues in a Single Visit

Reviewing previous work orders allows service teams to better plan which parts they should have on hand. Service tickets that detail prior work allow a technician to begin with more relevant diagnosis activities and get the job done faster.

Improve Prioritization of Calls 

Asset history can be leveraged to determine the types of failures for customer assets. A customer that has experienced prolonged downtime or a recent high-priced repair may be worth a faster response. Likewise, a machine with multiple failures in a specific system may be a candidate for catastrophic failure if not repaired quickly.

Understand Customer’s Prior Service Investments 

A customer with multiple, high-priced jobs recently can present a special challenge. In some cases, it’s best to discuss the value of new equipment. However, if a renewal or other event is pending, it may make sense to perform service at (or below) cost and inform the customer that you’ve done so.

Depending on the industry, there are numerous applications in which asset history can be used to improve customer experience and outcomes. CRM applications are outstanding at handling contact information and opening and closing cases. However, to truly manage the health and performance of an asset, knowing that asset’s history can mean the difference between meeting the customer’s commitments and exceeding their expectations.

Patrick Lethert is Director of Product Marketing at Verisae.

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