The company has drawn a futuristic roadmap which primarily leverages technologies such as IoT, Analytics, Cloud and Mobility in elevating the customer experience to a game-changing level
Blue Star designs, manufactures, sells, commissions and services room air conditioners, chillers, ducted units, water purifiers/coolers, air purifiers and refrigeration equipment. The service team comprises engineers located in various parts of the country augmented by dealers which are located across India. Customer service is a crucial USP and differentiator of the company where both the residential and commercial segments have grown rapidly. In this context, a futuristic roadmap has been created which primarily leverages technologies such as IoT, Analytics, Cloud and Mobility in elevating the entire operation to a completely new game-changing level.
In order to provide a superlative customer service experience and also enhance service levels, Blue Star decided that the field service operation had to be transitioned into a technology-equipped field by using mobile devices in day-to-day operations. This would enable the field service team to be agile, better equipped, project a high-tech image to the customer, be in touch with the customer through the process, and ensure electronic capture of all required information which would then facilitate the usage of analytics.
The primary aim of the project was to design and deliver a scalable mobile-based service management platform that enables the company’s field service personnel to manage, assign, track and respond to service requests/ complaints through a mobile app and ensure authentic execution of all technical support services including installation, service requests and customer calls across a wide range of products. Service technicians, dealer technicians, dealers and employees associated with the field service operation were provided an Android-based mobile app and were transitioned from a paper-based operation to an electronic one. The complexity of the service operation was primarily in the number of product types that were installed in the field. Many of these products were over 10 years old and there was a dependency on the technician’s knowledge for ensuring proper service of such products. The app was designed such that this dependency would be eliminated via the incorporation of product specific checklists.
Location based tracking for quickly responding to customer queries
The Android-based app called Blue Star’s ServIT mobile app equips authorised technicians of Blue Star’s Customer Service operation to track, respond and service customer requests/ complaints. The app enables the technicians to be up to date on their call requests and respond to customers in quick time.
The app captures the “location co-ordinates” i.e. latitude and longitude of the service technician when he/she closes the call at the customer’s premises. This feature was added to verify that the complaint or the service request was rightfully addressed at the time that it was closed. Thus, the app eliminates incorrect or forged call closures, if any.
The app is equipped with a bar code scanner that logs the customer’s machine serial number among other important product-related information. This is the unique number by which the product’s service history is tracked.
Customer reviews and ratings are among the most important parameters with which one can measure the quality of after sales service. The app ensures that the data thus captured is not foraged by having the customer enter a unique One Time Password (OTP) which unlocks the feedback mechanism on the app along with a placeholder to have the customer’s signature.
For the dealer, additional functionality related to assigning calls to technicians, doing follow-ups and rejecting calls is provided. This enables dealers to react to any situation immediately via his mobile and ensure that the calls are executed as per defined SLAs. The data collected can now be churned in real-time to spot trends or insights right down to the product line level or the
The app enabled the services team to cater to a 25% increase in call volumes (from 14.5 lakhs to 18 lakhs) with only a small addition of field technicians. This had a direct impact on the costs incurred. Preventive Maintenance tickets closure improved from 48% per month to 95%. Near 100% capture of field service and preventive maintenance reports. Customer Satisfaction Index improved by 6 percent post this transformation.
For corporate customers, the maintenance reports for each installed product serviced in locations pan-India had to be submitted along with the invoice. The earlier process was time consuming as the reports were filled manually on forms and scanned and uploaded into the portal. This resulted in delayed invoice submission and payments. With the mobile app, the submission of report was instantaneous resulting in accelerated revenue realization.
The legacy system involved a long paper trail starting from assigning the call ticket to the technician followed by having the data entered on a portal. With the new solution, the accuracy of data improved many-fold. The new system ensured that the turnaround time of every service provider can be measured accurately to translate into better customer service.
The new paperless approach ensures that the schedule from call allocation to closure is monitored with an electronic trail which in turn translates to better service at the customer’s site. The app also enables real-time communication via emails and an SMS at the customer’s premises after any call or service request is attended and closed.
Note: Blue Star was honored with the Intelligent Enterprise Award for this project at Technology Senate 2018 in Pune.