How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions

And, why Sales and Service CRM on the same platform make so much sense

This is a real story. On how a service location tracking map helped a customer do better resource planning.

Our customer runs an all-India sales and service network for machine components. And we help them run that using Saleswah CRM.

Till 2 years back, he had many service centers, all over India. Then they dwindled in numbers- as business took a hit. It’s roaring back, thankfully and they are adding them back. With one difference.

Earlier it was gut-feel. Now he can use data. Here’s what we did.

A brief background: how our location tracking mobile app works

Field service operations let their technicians use a location tracking mobile app. That is not new. Saleswah CRM mobile app has been using location tracking for the better part of the past decade. The Saleswah CRM location tracking mobile app has been used to help technicians navigate, comply with client requirements of proof of physical presence, and so on.

Schedule new appointment

A year back, we introduced what was quite unique.

Grahak Setu: location tracking mobile app that lets your customer have control

We introduced Grahak Setu (Grahak- customer; Setu- bridge)- which was an app for the customers to log and track their repair requests (and do many other things, besides – read more, here). Grahak Setu works with a Saleswah CRM engine at the back.

This means that the user of Grahak Setu is a customer who needs service. And the users of Saleswah are companies and their employees who are providing post-sales service. The user of Grahak Setu does not know, about Saleswah.

Path-breaking innovations:

  1. A simplied but secure mobile based registration and logging experience for the customers.
  2. We allowed the customer to take control of his data- he could register, login, create his profile, add his equipment under his care to the “installed base”.
  3. While creating his profile, using the location tracking mobile app- we made it easier for him to create his profile by querying Google Maps using his GPS co-ordinates. And, when he shared his profile with the service provider (the relevant one using a Saleswah CRM account), he shared his location- GPS co-ordinates and postal address with the company as well.
  4. This made it easy for the service provider company to
    • send technicians to his site to attend to complaints
    • ship equipment back to him after repairs- if the repair was done at the service centre.

Over the last many months, a tremendous amount of data has come into the system, rich customer data: his installed base of equipment, warranty vs out of warranty status of his installed base. And, we have now extremely authentic service location tracking map data.

Location tracking map

The customer ran a report with the “live cases”- the open tickets and the sites.

Downloaded the .csv file which had columns like Customer Account Name, Site name, GPS location, postal address, Ticket nos, aging, and so on. Pushed the data to Google Sheets and then onto Google Maps. This is what he found.

It is clear where the installed base clusters are. So, he has important pointers about where to locate his service centers. And, since in his business installed sites are a good proxy for sales as well, he can decide on where to re-double his sales efforts.

The above is just an example of the decision-making that is going on the basis of location data. Great data, simple querying but very rich analysis, and tremendous actionable insights.

location tracking map
Clusters of sites of open service tickets

Sales and service on the same platform

This is another instance where having the Sales and Service CRM being part of the same tool is useful.

The new Saleswah: CRM for sales and service automation

CRM for Sales and Service

Saleswah CRM for Sales and Service Automation is not a new product. It has been around for a decade. For the first 3 quarters of the decade, it was a pure-play sales CRM aimed at B2B sales processes. Then onwards, it has added a very large post-sales service management functionality. We are able to configure it easily for one of three flavors: sales CRM, sales and service CRM, or service CRM.

The new SalesWah CRM for sales and service

At its heart, Saleswah is a web-based, comprehensive CRM for sales and service that allows sales, marketing, and customer support to share data and collaborate. The Saleswah of past focused on the sales process tracking and monitoring. The customer support side of Saleswah is a comprehensive field service management software as well as software for running a service (repair) center operation.

Schedule preventive maintenance
Service CRM Dashboard

User-configurable CRM for sales and service management

Both the field service and service center software are totally user-configurable—no coding required. Both can handle any type or types of product, with a large geographical spread, hundreds of users, or a multiplicity of service centers.

And, Saleswah CRM for sales and service is where they are joined at the hip. By sharing the same database, service truly starts where sales hand over.

Saleswah CRM for sales and service has one of the most powerful mobile apps for field sales and servicepeople. Location tracking, photo upload from the field, and custom forms for data from the field.

Recent enhancements in Saleswah

Mobile app sales dashboard
Sales CRM mobile app dashboard

Over the last 2 years, we have added significantly to the CRM for sales and service. Among the more important things we have done are:
Implement the entire flow from delivery to installation to warranty management, preventive maintenance, repairs, and progressing to annual maintenance contracts.
We implemented a “what next?” flow in sales, where after every activity closed (task, sending a quote, creating a deal, and so on), the salesman gets a prompt to select the next logical activity.
elaborate notifications and alerts—browser-based, app-based.
spares: indenting, usage tracking, and stock tracking.

And, we are mobile first and web first.

The significance of the changes

1. From a pure-play B2B sales and marketing automation product, we have now become a marketing, sales, and service CRM. Earlier, it was more of a profile, event logging, and process tracking tool. Saleswah does much more. It adds significant downstream processes that are post-sales but does it in a seamless manner.

2. It adds process triggers, significantly enhances the reporting capabilities, and adds some really useful dashboards.

So, it is not just an improved product—it is, in many ways, a different product.

The Grahak Setu companion app to Saleswah.

Grahak Setu bridge to Saleswah customer service CRM

The existing problems in customer service

As we have described elsewhere, call centers tend to be expensive to operate for the service provider (that is you). They also create a lot of problems for customers. Customers wait in a queue, face a language barrier in a country like India, and the process is not smooth.

After the logging of the complaint, the customers do not get updated and frequently need to call and talk to the service center.

How Grahak Setu solves them

Grahak Setu solves it. All service complaints can be logged from the app. The exact current status is updated in the app directly from the Saleswah backend. What’s more, detailed itemized repair estimates can be “pushed” from Saleswah to the customer using Grahak Setu, and he can approve and pay for the repairs directly from the app.

The Grahak Setu is a free service for your customers. Please log into your admin dashboard and enable access for them. Ask them to download the latest version of Grahak Setu from the playstore.

How to retire call center and improve customer satisfaction.

We are all customers. Whether or not we sell or service products, we buy products and frequently need service.

How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions 2The most go-to method of asking for service for your home appliances, office equipment, or even machinery is to pick up the phone and speak to the company call center. Unfortunately, this does not work most of the time.

Call centers will take your call “Monday to Friday/ Saturday” and will inform you that “working hours are from 8 AM to 5 pm” if you happen to call even a minute outside the working hours. And, if you did manage to get through, deal with the IVR settings that change every month, unfamiliar accents, and worse a different language than what you are used to.

When you get thru to an agent who knows his job, the work is usually done. The agent notes down your details inputs them into his service CRM, and you soon get an SMS confirmation.

No one is happy- the service provider or the customer

The troubles with this are many. As I said earlier, this suffers from several problems:

How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions 3

  • Timing limitations: if your appliance or equipment becomes faulty late evening, you have to wait till next morning- amid the rush for getting ready for work, sending kids to school.
  • Communication issues: language, managing the IVR system. Potential for mis-understanding.
  • No visibility- as someone logging the complaint, you have no visibility to the repair process- who your assigned repairman is, what defects were found and later rectified.

If you are the company that has set up the call center and is paying for the telecom infrastructure and the salaries of the call center agents, you must know that it is expensive. and for a service that does not even work 24/7.

Warranty tracking nightmare

I don’t know about you, but keeping track of the warranty of purchased goods and services is difficult. You need to keep all the purchase papers and invoices safe. Then, keep track of when the washing machine warranty ends, or if your microwave oven’s annual maintenance contract should be renewed for one more year, and when.

“What are you changing?”

I send the laptop to the service center- and then I wait. An hour later, someone emerges and tells you- all that is wrong. And gives you an estimate of charges. You have no idea if he is right. No idea if what he is asking for is justified. So, you pay up.

And, the service providers (manufacturers) are working in the dark. Especially when the products have been sold and resold. They do not know the size of the active installed base of equipment, so are unable to plan for spares, trained personnel, and geographical needs for support.

The crux of the problem: how to improve customer satisfaction

So, you, as a service provider, are spending good money on providing a service that does not make your customers happy. What if you want to provide world-class support to your customers but can’t afford to spend money like the MNCs or the large corporates can?

How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions 4

We have good news if you are a service provider

Get your customers the Grahak Setu experience.

The Grahak Setu app provides

  • Anytime, anywhere access to log service requests for your customers. What’s more, you don’t need any one manning the call center. This is the ultimate self – service app for your customers. They authenticate with their mobile number, add their own equipment, log service requests, get upto the minute status of the equipment under repair and can even chat with the service executive assigned to their case.
  • Everything is a matter of record- and everything is transparent. You as a service provider can send itemized repair estimates, get his approval and even payments.
  • Controlled access to the Saleswah CRM- You can configure the level of access your customers get to their data. From minimal access, where they can only check their repair status to being able to profile themselves, add equipment to the database.

If you are a customer, prepare to be happy

Store your equipment details in Grahak Setu

Enter the details of your home appliances or office equipment in the Grahak Setu app. Registration is simple. Login and add your details.

Search and connect to your service provider.

Have a complaint? Microwave not working? Select the manufacturer from the list, add your equipment details and submit.

Prepare to be served.

Revealed: easy way to perform algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance

How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions 5
David Revoy, www.davidrevoy.com, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scheduling preventive maintenance of equipment in regular intervals is required to ensure the trouble-free operation of equipment. This is especially applicable to mechanical equipment- even more so to those with an engine inside.

Moving parts means wear and tear. So, periodically one may need to replace worn-out parts, replace consumables, and so on. We all take our car to the garage for servicing at least once a year- and are familiar with the replacement of lube oil, air filters, fuel filter, and so on.

Of course, there is some equipment which needs maintenance even without there being a moving part in them. A lead-acid battery needs frequent topping up, sometimes once every 3 months.

There are 2 types of scheduling preventive maintenance of equipment- largely governed by the type of equipment.

Fixed interval scheduling preventive maintenance

this happens when the equipment is required to be maintained at a fixed interval of, say, a year or 3 months or some such interval. This typically is for equipment without moving parts or where an assumption regarding wear and tear is made over a timeframe.

Variable interval scheduling preventive maintenance 

This happens when the scheduling needs to happen at a variable interval. Here the scheduling accounts for the wear and tear that may happen. Basically, the principle is- if the machine is running daily for a long time, then the maintenance needs to happen sooner than if the machine was hardly being used. Think of the automobile again. Typically, we get our cars serviced once a year. But a rental car – which runs a thousand kilometers per week- will be due for service in a couple of months.

Why do we need to depend on computers?

Let’s say you are managing service operations for equipment spread over a large geography and they are not easily accessible or their readings can not be noted regularly. In that case, there is no option but to rely on past data to make predictions about the future. Let us say, a machine requires preventive maintenance after 1000 hours of running, and let’s say it has run 500 hours to date since the last service, we must look at the data and check how many hours it is running on an average every day and extrapolate it from there to schedule the next service due to date.

How do we decide the variable interval in scheduling preventive maintenance?

Luckily we don’t. Computers do. But we do write the algorithm. In algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance, the past is the determinant of the future.

Algorithmic scheduling of maintenance is an area of research. Some of the algorithmic scheduling is quite complex. Here’s a research paper that deals with modeling this activity at some length.

We have used a simple algorithm based on moving averages for scheduling preventive maintenance for equipment that are installed in remote locations.

algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance
Customer service CRM turns the focus on customer retention

How does algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance really work?

Step 1: we need to note the run hours the machine has logged since the last visit. This we do on every visit. And this gives us the average run hours. And we calculate this over the last three or five visits.

Step 2: Then we extrapolate. Let us say a machine is due for maintenance after running for 800 hours. Now let us say that we have found that a machine is running on an average for 10 hours a day (as calculated). We say that if the machine has been running on an average for 10 hours a day, and it was due for maintenance in 800 hours, then it is going to be due for maintenance in 80 days from the last maintenance. Makes sense, does it not?

Why this works

The beauty of this is, because we are working with moving averages, we are able to achieve very good results with scheduling preventive maintenance. This technique is used especially when we have equipment under maintenance which are in far flung areas and we are not able to access the actual run hours data on a daily basis.

For an example of where we have used this, read the DG set case study.