Often times when we speak to our customers, they tell us about their digital transformation journey. There are slides around how they are changing internal systems, processes, and people's responsibilities. But rarely do we hear companies talk about their digital transformations from the point of view of their end customers. How do vendors want to change how they service their customers? How do they change how to price their products and services?
As companies build highly sophisticated assets that provide visibility into the health and efficiency of their machines, their customers are looking for new types of service contracts that focus on outcomes and performance rather than flat-fee service schedules. To provide these new service models, service organizations are leveraging asset data to determine how best to service the equipment in a way that increases services revenue, reduces/eliminates downtime, and maintains the highest levels of customer satisfaction. This trend has been gaining steam, with Gartner estimating that by 2025, over 50% of equipment manufacturers will offer outcome-based service contracts that rely on access to digital twin data, up from less than 20% in 2019.
When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged at the beginning of this year, service leaders were forced to rethink priorities faster around how they would manage their external and internal relationships. In addition, many saw an opportunity to change parts of their business model, which would require having the right data and systems in place to make confident decisions.
To move toward these new business models during their digital transformation journeys, field service organizations must focus on collecting asset data, removing data and decision-making silos, and open data access to customers.
Collecting the right data
Any transformation journey begins with looking at where the assets have been and where they are going. Currently, data is spread across businesses with some data being managed by departments and other data being managed by centralized IT functions. To be successful in their transformation journeys, asset-centric service businesses must maintain an asset record that contains key attributes such as:
- As maintained bill of materials
- Warranty and entitlements
- IoT data
- Service history
By maintaining asset data in a central location, leaders are able to model the impacts of downtime on financial results for operator and vendor and determine service priority intelligently based on actual asset data.
Eliminating barriers between service and the rest of the business
An effect of bringing asset data into a single source of truth is that it also breaks down silos between teams within a business. Previously, a perspective or hypothesis from a parts manager may not have been shared with those running the depot or the finance team who is building forward-looking plans. But when data is collected into a single source of truth, the entire company can engage in fruitful and confident decisions.
With asset data tied to customers within your CRM platform, service leaders can track customer lifetime value and ensure high customer satisfaction scores and engineering and compliance teams have the data they need for success. In addition, when times call for a preventive maintenance on an asset or the swapping out of a recalled part, data is the first step to triage which customers need to be contacted so you can be both proactive and transparent.
Expanding data access to your customers
Once you have a firm understanding of your assets and internal teams work collaboratively to deliver the best service to customers, the next step is to enable your customers with the asset data. When a problem arises with a machine, automatically sending a technician doesn't have to be the first step. Remote assistance allows customers and vendors to engage in discussions around the issue and identify fixes before a truck roll is necessary. Providing customers with tools for remote diagnostics gives them better visibility into their assets and helps triage issues faster to reduce downtime.
By taking an asset-centric approach to service delivery, service organizations can improve the collaboration within their businesses by providing teams with accurate and complete data pictures. In addition, they are able to improve customer experience with better transparency and forward-looking business models that result in win-win situations for themselves and their customers.