CEO Insights: Daniel Cran
Monday, 16 January, 2017
What new technologies are you seeing gain traction in Australian industry?
Australia presents a unique challenge for businesses in field services. The country’s dispersed population outside of metropolitan areas means that technicians are often required to travel long distances to reach their customers, especially in the resources sector. Compounded by high labour costs, the industry is turning to new technologies that deliver high return on investment in cost, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Though often overlooked, remote support tools are a powerful option to deliver profitability, productivity and customer retention wins across all industry sectors. It is enabling field services personnel to access customer environments and troubleshoot issues so they are better informed and equipped before heading on-site. In many cases, remote support tools can mean that issues are resolved without having to send technicians into the field, delivering an immediate bottom line benefit.
Some of our clients are now looking to interactive video support tools to not only enable remote technical assistance but drive proactive and predictive support. With the use of its existing remote support tool, Rescue, one customer has seen a significant reduction in costs and man-hours associated with sending field teams to troubleshoot minor issues. Most importantly, it has helped boost customer satisfaction and offered them a clear competitive difference.
But cost efficiencies alone don’t guarantee your bottom line. As organisations begin turning their attention to the security practices of suppliers, field service providers are increasingly being evaluated on their ability to secure data. This is being intensified by high-profile security incidents such as Target’s 2013 breach that came down to the stolen credentials of the US retailer’s HVAC contractor.
In today’s digital environment even the most contained security breach can bring a business to a standstill — damaging customer relationships, compromising industry reputation and ultimately affecting a company’s ability to do business.
While password management may sound like a simple solution, in reality they are the first and often only line of defence a business has against a cyberattack. Humans will always be the weakest link and password management applications such as LastPass will emerge as the tool of choice to mitigate risk and preserve the integrity of a customer’s environment.
How is the IoT impacting you and your clients?
For the field service industry, the increasing prevalence of the connected customer is helping organisations more effectively service client needs by allowing their support teams to proactively provide assistance — often times before the customer even knows there is an issue. Connected machines and products can alert the business to when a customer is offline or experiencing other problems so that these devices can be reset or otherwise managed before the customer is even aware there was a problem.
In the case of reactive support, connected devices can help technicians instantaneously spot an issue and provide quicker time to resolutions. For instance, for a customer experiencing issues with their connected lighting system the IoT allows a technician to remotely access, reconfigure and fix the network — saving the customer hours if not days of frustration and saving the business the man-hours required for on-site visits.
One of our clients was facing the common challenges of a global organisation employing a mix of direct and outsourced sales and service teams. The service teams had limited visibility of how their products were being used and when they had issues, and they relied heavily on human touch points to address issues.
The company developed hundreds of functions to track and monitor in real time, among them being usage, errors and whether certain accessories were enabled. They also connected both its customers and field service agents with custom apps that enabled users to remotely control and monitor their machinery, then store that data in its CRM.
But the power of the IoT extends beyond just issues resolution. The information provided by the device can be a true business enabler. By better understanding when and how people use a machine or product, companies can develop the features their customers want — making the product more desirable, capitalise on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and create recurring revenue through replenishables or service contracts. Using the IoT, a business can develop a customer experience that sets them apart from the competition — one that delivers a level of customer engagement and support most companies never thought possible.
Daniel Cran is APAC Managing Director at LogMeIn. In his role, Daniel is responsible for managing LogMeIn’s local and international teams, building strategic partnerships and networking throughout the region.
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