Many service organizations are trying to use technology to get on top of the crisis. Technology is important chiefly for two reasons: to help alleviate crisis-related human capacity constraints and obviate the need for travel and person-to person physical contact. Now the low-hanging fruit (collaboration tools, video-conferences) have been largely picked. What comes next is more difficult. 

Si2 Partners has been organizing mini Web-Conferences -we now call them virtual Experience Exchanges– to help Service Managers navigate the COVID-19 crisis. The first was general, the second focused on technology. The third will focus on service contracts -why they are important both now and when the crisis ends. It will be on 16/4 at 15:30 CET. Registration below.

Focus Technology

During the COVID-19 crisis, technology is important chiefly for two reasons: To alleviate potential capacity constraints (both time and field service resources) and to reduce the need for travel and person-to-person contact by enabling remote working and problem solving (diagnostics, troubleshooting). These are some highlights from the discussion:

  • Tools that enable remote collaboration whether video conferencing (Zoom, Goto Meeting, Skype…) or software such as Microsoft Teams have been quickly and broadly deployed and are heavily used. Employees have embraced these tools and have significantly evolved their perspectives on remote collaboration and working from home. Some managers think this will have a lasting effect on organizing and executing work. Higher levels of collaboration, including with remote colleagues, have brought greater flexibility, adaptability, even resilience. For example, making more use of ‘local’ engineers and supporting them with knowledge where there are capability or experience shortfalls.
  • At the same time, the perceptions of customers are also changing as they seek solutions to their service needs. Service providers are finding that customers have developed a much more positive attitude to collaborative problem solving and remote support. In fact, some service organisations are experiencing an increase in interest for service contracts as customers seek to mitigate risk and ensure that their needs are prioritized. Perceived cybersecurity risks by customers are perhaps less important right now. White papers prepared before the crisis have been invaluable in allaying customer concerns on this issue and have strengthened trust between customer and supplier.
  • Surprisingly, the use of Augmented Reality was not seen as a game-changer for most of the attendees, although some are using it where a ‘visual’ discussion between service engineer and customers’ engineering or maintenance staff can improve the efficiency of problem-solving. It may be to the detriment of AR that initial usage promoted by vendors prior to the crisis has been to help own engineers in the field rather than customers directly.
  • On the other hand, more companies are experimenting with the use of Machine Learning (AI) tools and advanced analytics to solve diagnostics, even troubleshooting problems. The main purpose is to free up time and capacity in their engineering and higher-level support groups -which may have been reduced by the COVID crisis and focus human expertise on more difficult problems. The customer interface here is an issue and learning curves must be steep.
  • The COVID-19 crisis is changing the mindset of organizations about technology and is highlighting the value of collaboration and effective and efficient knowledge management.

Other key points that were touched on included:

  • How to use technology to find and get knowledge to the right place/people fast
  • How to collect, analyze and understand fast-paced changes (data) in the health, economic and market environment and respond in almost real-time?
  • How to enable greater flexibility (multi-tasking, cross-training) and higher work intensity, without burning out employees?
  • How to leverage the greater interest in Service Contracts by customers and ensure their value is appreciated even when provided remotely (issue of pricing)

In the next “Virtual Experience Exchange”, we will explore the impact of the crisis on Service Contracts, including:

– delivering on contractual commitments and SLAs during the crisis

– how to price and sell remote support on value and risk reduction potential

The next Si2 Virtual Experience Exchange will be on 16 April 2020 at 15:30 CET and will focus on service contracts:

Why are service contracts important: Now during the crisis and immediately afterwards. A number of issues are key here:

– How to deliver on service contracts and SLAs during the crisis (capacity constraints, restrictions, technology)

– How to leverage service contracts to form tighter relationships with customers from the point of view of risk management

-How to price service contracts that are delivered remotely. How to sell technology-based services on value

You can register here: Registration Form

Find out more about the Si2 Virtual Experience Exchanges during the COVID-19 crisis here