The following scenario is well-known to many mechanical engineers and plant manufacturers: when purchasing machinery, customers want customized products and framework conditions tailored to their individual needs. And despite regular servicing and maintenance, machines can still break down. While this is annoying for the customer, very often only a delayed service response puts a lasting strain on the customer relationship. The right set-up can help Customer Services to remedy these situations quickly, to the best interest of the customer.
SAP CX Service Cloud for Customer Experience
The SAP CX Service Cloud portfolio supports processes that benefit the customer experience. The basic idea: Every point of contact with the customer is examined and optimized in terms of the customer’s concerns, for example punctual deliveries or fast service.
In the manufacturing industry, the following activities and contact points are particularly critical:
- Customer and contact management
- Machine failure
- Machine identification
- Warranty claims
Customer and Contact Management
After a purchase, your experts from different departments maintain constant contact with the customer, for example to provide machine support services, respond to technical inquiries or handle warranty claims. Here, customers choose different communication channels, usually telephone, e-mail or chat.
All channels must be serviced by the service department and the results of each interaction must be equally documented as an information base for follow-up contacts. To handle inquiries, the process must be initiated in such a way that the customers’ needs are satisfied and their inquiries are answered in the best possible way.
The employee who receives the inquiries must ensure the proper coordination within the company. Coordination then takes place on a topic-specific basis. For example, requests for technical support are passed on to the appropriate department or to the required technician. A holistic process approach supports competent action by each employee in their customer contacts.
Short response times and meaningful answers are a critical factor in ensuring customer satisfaction. SAP CX Cloud supports sales and service departments with intelligent customer service: Service Cloud offers comprehensive omni-channel support via e-mail, telephone or with tickets that can be stored. Activities can be recorded in SAP CX Service Cloud and assigned and executed accordingly.
Machine Failure and Emergency Situation
Unfortunately, a machine failure can never be completely ruled out – so how the manufacturer acts in the event of an emergency is important. Production downtime due to a machine problem or even a complete machine failure is the worst thing that can happen in the manufacturing industry.
In this situation, action must be taken quickly. Manufacturers must immediately send the right service technician to the customer’s site, equipped with the appropriate expertise and tools. In the event of an emergency call-out, this means that deployment plans need to be restructured and scheduled appointments postponed. The postponement of appointments also requires specific and correct customer communication, especially since a machine may not be used during planned maintenance at the customer’s site.
Service processes that are intelligently supported with SAP CX Service Cloud help to identify a suitable expert or technician. For this purpose, the solution accesses information from the customer and the machines used by them. This gives service employees immediate access to the data, enabling them to find a suitable technical colleague and schedule them for the ad-hoc deployment. SAP Service Cloud also makes rescheduling at short notice easier, as it acts as a central system. In addition, automated service tickets can be created in the event of machine failure. All technician appointments are recorded and can therefore be better identified and adjusted.
To prevent machine failures, sensitive wearing parts can be serviced using maintenance packages. The maintenance packages define maintenance cycles. The maintenance cycles are handled differently depending on the component. For example, maintenance can be performed on different components after pre-defined cycles, e.g. after 1000 manufactured products or partial products. Which service technician is scheduled for the specific case is stored in the maintenance process. The maintenance packages define which parts are inspected and replaced. This means that the service technician is fully prepared when he goes to the customer to replace wearing parts.
You can store this information in the SAP CX Service Cloud. In addition, maintenance and customer visit cycles are defined. During the visits, maintenance on machines can be recorded optimally and carried out in a timely manner. Maintenance plans can be prepared from the customer’s point of view. This means that machines are specifically released for maintenance on a given day and not scheduled for production.
Mechanical engineers and plant manufacturers often operate large, heavy, permanently installed machinery. In the event of production downtime or an unexpected machine failure, a prompt solution must be found to get the customer’s production up and running again quickly. A major challenge is to know exactly which component failed. In the case of a large machine with multiple components, it is not always possible to clearly determine which component has failed and which spare part is required for it.
Using SAP CX Service Cloud, each machine is assigned a unique serial number or identification number. Machines are entered as products, and information about components and the like is stored via the product maintenance function. In the event of a failure, an ad-hoc repair with the correct spare parts is provided and the service employee goes to the customer fully equipped with spare parts and wearing parts.
Marketing to End Customers
When products are sold by manufacturers to end customers, comprehensive documentation is essential. SAP CX Service Cloud therefore also supports the recording of (end) customers. You can schedule activities for individual customers. Furthermore, the service requests or maintenance packages are created and followed up.
Each machine comprises many individual components, each of which has different warranties, warranty conditions and special guarantees. These must be clearly defined for each component/part. So if a customer reports a component that no longer works, warranties are granted or goodwill decisions are made. To keep decision-making paths simple, these must be logged and recorded.
In SAP CX Service Cloud, it can be recorded in the product master file how the product under warranty is to be handled. This brings transparency and uniformity. This information also is accessible to every employee and can optimize daily work in this regard.
SAP Service Cloud features an integrated knowledge base, which can be used to share information on problems and solutions. This facilitates operations and routine processes that can assign different customer inquiries / tickets. For example, you can use keywords to search for articles in the SAP CX Service Cloud search area and attach them to a direct response email to your customers. The advantage of the integrated knowledge base is that you process and send everything directly from within your SAP CX Service Cloud.
Expenses incurred on the basis of customer requests are often invoiced. In order to store a standardized expense invoice, contracts can be created in SAP Service Cloud as maintenance contracts. Different packages and goodwill settlements are possible. These include, for example:
- Travel times
- Setup times
- Waiting times
- Daily rates
By means of a standardized service agreement, expenses are recorded and processed into a specific and correct invoice. This also benefits the customer, who knows from the outset how the expenses will be invoiced.
Conclusion: SAP CX Service Cloud for 360 Degree View
Fast and uncomplicated action in the event of machine failures, well-planned maintenance cycles and transparent invoicing are important factors for ensuring customer satisfaction. SAP CX Service Cloud (more here) supports you in this. It makes no difference which channel the customer uses to contact your Service team, as the solution supports omni-channel support with e-mail, telephone or tickets. Ticket management automates everyday requests. In addition, your service technicians are well equipped and prepared for customer visits; you get a 360° view of service processes and on-site deployments.
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