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IoT/M2M: The Journey From Improved Customer Experience to Cost Savings

IoT/M2M: The Journey From Improved Customer Experience to Cost Savings

A major manufacturer of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) wanted to find a way to improve customer experience by being more proactive in anticipating and responding to equipment failures. The solution put in place by the service organization was to implement a remote monitoring solution with the intended benefit of reducing downtime for their bank customers. Many stakeholders within the manufacturer’s organization were concerned that the banks would not allow the manufacturer to connect to their internal systems for security purposes. On the other hand, market research revealed that while the banks’ operations people were actually very receptive to remote monitoring, the banks’ security personnel were not. However, it did not take long for the manufacturer’s IT Security experts to convince the banks’ security teams that they could provide a highly secure solution.

Remote Troubleshooting Instead of Tech Dispatching

After the manufacturer successfully rolled out its remote monitoring solution, it noticed something very interesting: dispatch rates were increasing rather than decreasing. This was because the monitoring capabilities lead to more frequent alerts regarding machine faults and errors. As a result, the service organization felt compelled to take action by sending out a technician. It soon became clear that the service organization had to do more than just monitor their equipment. They had to find a way to resolve issues remotely and avoid dispatching entirely. 

The solution that the service organization developed involved adding diagnostics functionality to their remote monitoring capabilities. Basically, the company implemented a remote desktop management application, which enabled the service organization to access their customers’ ATM onboard diagnostics. As a result, the service organization was able to resolve 30% of service requests/alerts remotely. This resulted in savings of approximately $10 million per year in unnecessary truck rolls.  Overtime, the manufacturer was able to enroll 50,000 ATMs in its “remote troubleshooting” service contract.

Bringing Everyone On Board

In order to successfully rollout this new offering, the service organization had to align with key stakeholders in the company. Despite the added value that remote troubleshooting offered customers, and the fact that the C-suite approved of this new offering, the service organization faced apathy from the sales force and marketing department. At issue was the fact that the marketing and sales organization did not quite understand how to promote or sell the solution. The problem was that the sales and marketing departments were very product oriented. Fortunately, the service organization stepped up to this challenge. Through consistent, ongoing internal education, it was able to build mindshare within the sales and marketing departments, which led to increased sales of the remote troubleshooting solution.

Lessons Learned 

There are many lessons that can be learned from this example. First, remote monitoring capabilities found within today’s IoT/M2M can enable FSOs to become more vigilant in anticipating and responding to failures. This strategy is great for improving the customer experience. However, increased vigilance can be very costly. Second, IoT/M2M solutions utilized in a service and support environment are only as good as the service organization’s ability to leverage machine data to achieve better outcomes. For example, diagnose and resolve calls remotely in order to avoid costly dispatch events. These remote support capabilities can be used by the service organization to ensure that when techs do need to be dispatched, they show up with the right skills and parts thus improving first-time fix rates. Third, in order to obtain cost avoidance improvements, field service organizations should consider integrating IoT/M2M solutions with knowledge management and/or diagnostic applications. Fourth, and most importantly, field service managers and executives not only have an obligation to improve customer experience and implement cost avoidance strategies, but they also may have to assume a leadership role within their organizations in getting these initiatives implemented.    

This guest blog post was written by Michael R. Blumberg, CMC and President of Blumberg Advisory Group, Inc. Michael is an independent consultant with over twenty years of experience in the Field Service Industry. He is an author and frequent speaker at industry events on issues ranging from sales and marketing to technology to strategy & leadership to operational excellence.


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