Innovative customer service channel for the new age

Do you want to plan for a customer service channel that costs much less than others, has strong integration with the backend and works 24/7 without human intervention?

If yes, read on.

Challenges in creating the most effective customer service channel

Let’s break down the essential scope of the customer support function.

  1. Log complaints from customers
  2. Assign complaints to qualified technicians
  3. Track closure.

Of course, there are more in-depth roles. Things like managing spares, logging defects and repairs, sending estimates and invoicing and creating a knowledgebase of issues.

But, the 3 above I listed are the core functions.

2 and 3 above are largely internal processes- we are ourselves in control.

Step 1 – logging customer complaints and in fact in all communication stages with customers is where the challenge lies.

Let me explain.

Usual modes of customer reaching out to you:

Innovative customer service channel for the new age 1

1. Live chat

2. Phone

3. Email

4. Social media

5. Chatbot

Livechat, phone and email give you unstructured information, costs a lot in terms of infrastructure and yet most customers prefer them.

Each of them require live agents- especially for phone and livechat who need to be available to handle customer queries, log complaints and update status. Worse, they require huge investment in backend infrastructure.

Additional challenges in Europe/ Asia/ India and in Africa and Latin America

In multi-linguistic environments, the problem is huge, as you can immediately see. Not only do you need live agents, but you need them able to speak multiple langauges. Which immediately increases the cost of your customer service channel if dependendent on phone, chat or email.

Innovation in Customer Service Channel design

Many of our service CRM customers are passionate about customer service- but, simply unable to afford the cost of setting up a live customer service channel. They are asking for a tool that can

  1. Work 24/7
  2. Is cheap/ low cost/ no cost
  3. Works with their CRM back-end so that accurate, structured customer request is logged immediately.
  4. Can be used for asynchromous communication for ticket status update.

Let me further elaborate on the asynchronous communication bit.

Why asynchronous communication is actually better

While in a live chat or in a phone call, the customer gets real time update. But, that puts a lot of time burden on the agent as well as the customer. When did you ever finish a chat with customer service in 2 minutes?

In an asynchromous communication, the agent can respond at his or her own time- when she has more information or has something to ask.

Or, simply when the agent with the local language skill is available.

local language customer service channel

App-ify the customer service channel

We thought long and hard. Our target geogrqaphy is multi-lingual- our customers speak many languages- and sell and service to customers who are even more diverse.

Our customers can’t avoid the 24/7 availability yet can’t afford the cost of the presence.

We have a customer in Pune with customers across India who speak a minimum of 10 languages.

So, now you know why we introduced Simply C2 (earlier called Grahak Setu) in the PlayStore to work seamlessly with the Saleswah CRM backend.

Grahak Setu revolutionizes your customer service channel

To understand how Simply C2 can work for your customers, login to Simply C2 after downloading from the Google Playstore.

Search for the product that you want to repair- TV, Washing machine etc. If you find it, look for the list of manufacturers and select yours.

If you can’t find the product but know the manufacturer, then go to the list of manufactuers (ordered alphabetically) and once you have selected the manufacturer, select Others when it comes to the product selection.

They will still get the ticket! And will attend to you!

If you want to list your company and products on the Simply C2 platform, sign up for our inaugural offer.

Set up Simply C2 in 3 simple steps

Simply C2 is a simple concept with far reaching plans.

We want everyone of our customers to be able to allow their clients- that is you- the flexibility of logging complaints 24/7/365. Without the cost of setting up a call center or sharing mobile numbers of customer service.

Simply C2 is an app for you. When you look for manufacturers and log a complaint- it creates a ticket with the manufacturer and sends them an alert. And the ticket lies there till it’s closed.

So, nothing falls through the cracks.

If you have been wondering how to set up Simply C2 in 2 minutes and log your first complaint, read on.

First step- to set up Simply C2

Sign in/ Sign-up

Sign-in or Sign up for the first time- the process is same for both- using either SMS or WhatsApp based Login.

2nd step

Update your profile.

As you can see, a lot of the fields are filled up already.

Fill up the rest. Especially your email address and name. Verify your postal address, because the service technicians – if they need to reach you, will need this.

This will help you when you want to log a complaint.

Set up Simply C2 in 3 simple steps 2

3rd Step

Log a complaint

If it is your first time, you probably have no default service provider- no one already selected.

So, look for the product category that you want to complain about. Search.

Then select the manufacturer, you want to complain to.

Want to directly select the manufacturer? Go to the list of manufacturers and click on the first letter of their name.

Once you have selected the manufacturer, just type/ select your model and serial number. Also write some details of your issue.

Take a picture!

Once you click the submit button, congratulations! You have just logged your first complaint in Simply C2.

Fixed and variable maintenance scheduling for remote assets

Pros and cons of different approaches for fixed and variable maintenance scheduling

Let’s first outline the context.

  • What do we mean by remote assets?
  • Why would you want to monitor them? How often?
  • Why is scheduled maintenance needed? How often?
  • What is IOT and it’s role in the context of remote asset monitoring for customer service?

Okay, we gave a hint. The goal and the theme is customer service of assets (mostly capital goods located in remote locations).

Remote assets

Examples of such remote assets are: Telecom towers, Diesel Gensets, Solar panels, ATMs, Chiller plants, PSA Oxygen plants. These are expensive capital goods, cause service disruption when non-functional and require varying degrees of monitoring to check functioning at optimal levels.

Types of asset health monitoring and variable maintenance scheduling

Scheduled monitoring can take two forms: fixed interval or varying interval. Let me explain this with couple of examples.

Fixed maintenance scheduling

Let’s say you maintain inverters with batteries. The led acid batteries need to be physically checked once in 3 months (let us say)- for water level, corrosion of the terminals and so on. So, your service CRM will need to create a fixed schedule of visits of the service technicians. And, of course, assign the visits to the appropriate resources in your team.

Variable maintenance scheduling

On the other hand, let us take your car. Let’s say the annual maintenance schedule is (duh) 12 months OR (and here’s the catch) 10,000 KM of running, whichever is earlier. So, if you are just using the car to commute 20 KM per day just to go to office and back, it is unlikely that you will need to get the car serviced before the year is over. However, this won’t be the case if your commute per day is 100 KM or more. Then, within six months or less, your car will require to be serviced.

I guess you get the difference between fixed and variable maintenance scheduling.

Practical challenge in fixed and variable maintenance scheduling

Let me now outline a practical challenge for an unmonitored fixed asset which needs to be maintained at an interval which can vary with usage- like that of the car. The car is monitored- the owner can check the odometer any time, but for many equipment, installed in remote locations, it is not possible to monitor usage.

Chiller plant needs variable maintenance scheduling

Which are those? It is safe to say any equipment with moving parts- gears, pulleys, pistons etc – in them, are those that require servicing at varying intervals like the car. So, if any such equipment is installed in a remote location, we face challenges in scheduling maintenance. Because, we do not have up to date data on “run-hour” or mileage.

Enter IOT

IOT for variable maintenenance scheduling

To solve the problem of gathering run hour data from remote assets, various approaches have been tried. IOT (Internet Of Things) is gaining in popularity. This is basically a remote device- fixed to the asset being monitored- which communicates the parameters of the asset over the telecom network to a central computer. This can be monitored centrally and maintenance can be scheduled when the target run hour is approaching.

The problem with IOT is of course that it is expensive- though the cost will hopefully come down. It depends on the cost of the asset being maintained and the cost of a visit to check status. If the asset is expensive and the manpower required to maintain it is expensive as well, it makes sense to implement a IOT based monitoring strategy.

Algorithmic fixed and variable maintenance scheduling

As discussed, IOT based variable maintenance scheduling can be expensive. But, fortunately, we can use algorithmic scheduling which can substitute for IOT based scheduling with a good amount of accuracy at no cost.

Algorithm for fixed and variable maintenance scheduling
Our actual algorithm is actually a lot simpler!!

We use moving averages and past run rates to extrapolate in to the future. Basically, we capture run hours on every visit to the site, calculate the run rate and project when the next maintenance should be due.

Check out Saleswah service CRM free trial today. You will find it easy to set up requiring no coding to get started.

Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks Online Sync just got stronger

Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks Online Sync just got stronger 5

The most tightly integrated CRM with QuickBooks Online

It was almost a year ago that we released the Actions Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks on the Intuit Appstore.

There is a huge difference between how we approach CRM with QuickBooks integration and how some others do.

Simply put, we build the functionalities in Saleswah CRM and let QuickBooks do what it does best- which is accounting and book-keeping.

And, then we link them.

This helps in ensuring that QuickBooks and Saleswah CRM are both on the same page. But, they do not get in each other’s way.

The fundamental premise behind CRM for QuickBooks Online

Our thinking when we set out to do the integration was to ask: “who will use which software within the organization”?

And, our answer was pretty straightforward. We were clear that accounting folks will use QuickBooks- for accounting: booking, billing, collections and reporting. But, not the sales guys or the customer support guys. They will use Saleswah CRM for running Sales and Service operations.

So, Saleswah CRM for QuickBooks integration will need to cater to primarily 2 constituencies.

In order of priorities, they are:

  1. Sales and support personnel who are the primary users of Saleswah CRM for managing customer facing activities:
    • Sending quotations (sales)/ repair estimates (support)
    • Invoicing and receipt of payments
  2. Accounting people, who are the primary users of QuickBooks will continue to use QuickBooks for their usual work. They can still use QuickBooks for raising invoices, sending quotations or creating the master list of products and services.
  3. Plus, of course, for reconciliation of accounts, financial reporting and so on.

Clear priorities for CRM with QuickBooks integration

So, Saleswah CRM is not an afterthought CRM. It focuses on the primary constituency – sales and support personnel who are the primary users. We don’t think accountants will see much value in using a CRM. So, there is not much for them in Saleswah. Nor will Sales people or support team find much to do in an accounting software.

But, raising an estimate and an invoice is a task that sales and service people do. And often.

So, we figured that we should have a CRM that allows the sales people and the customer service people to create estimates- with or without QuickBooks connectivity. The purpose of the CRM with QuickBooks integration will be to

  1. Allow maintaining the product list (with prices) in a central place- under tight control (admin user access only).
  2. Push the invoices generated in Saleswah CRM to QuickBooks. This is to facilitate book keeping and financial reporting.
  3. Pull the Contact Lists from QuickBooks to Saleswah CRM
  4. Pull the unpaid invoices generated by the accounting department into Saleswah. The purpose is to have the sales people chase them for payments.
Connecting Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks Online

The Saleswah CRM for QuickBooks integration logic

Once you link your QuickBooks account with Saleswah, relevant data from Saleswah will be updated in QuickBooks silently. You can also push contacts, products/ spares and invoices from Saleswah to QuickBooks.

How to link Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks Online?

  1. If you are an admin (for your company) of QuickBooks Online- and do not yet have Saleswah CRM, then go to the appstore and click on Actions Saleswah CRM.
  2. If you are a Saleswah CRM admin and wish to link your QuickBooks Online account with Saleswah, then go to the Saleswah CRM admin, and click on Connect to QuickBooks Online.

Saleswah CRM with QuickBooks data exchange logic

Products and spares: you can fetch your products (or spares)/ price list from QuickBooks into Saleswah. Simply click the Connect button. Spares/ Products: if item category in QuickBooks is spares, it will go to Spares; if not it will go to Products list in Saleswah
(Warning: please ensure that your spares parts are categorized as Spares in QuickBooks so that they can be brought to the spares list in Saleswah.)

Remember, any changes that you make in Saleswah to any of these products and spares, will be updated in QuickBooks. We don’t delete products automatically- so, you need to remove products from the list on both the platforms. Any new products or spares you add in Saleswah, will get automatically added to QuickBooks.

Right now, all products and spares are being inserted from Saleswah to QuickBooks as “Non-inventory”.

Invoices Fetch the list of your unpaid invoices from QuickBooks so your sales team can follow up for payments. Any invoice you generate in Saleswah will automatically get inserted in QuickBooks.

Contacts You can pull your business contacts in QuickBooks to Saleswah. They will be marked as billing contacts in Saleswah. Also, any contact you mark as a billing contact (by ticking the checkbox in the Contact details pane)- will get sent to QuickBooks.

4 uses of location tracking application in field service

Today we see many uses for GPS tracking mobile app around us. Location tracking applications are widely used in field service. GPS-enabled field service management software allows you to effectively track and direct your technicians. Saleswah Service CRM is a GPS tracking mobile app that helps streamline operations and improve efficiency.

gps tracking mobile app

What is a location tracking application?

In field service, it is important to keep track of your service personnel who are out in the field attending to customers. This is done using a mobile app that depends on GPS coordinates and Google Maps.
A location tracking application is a functionality built into field sales or field service apps- to let the user and others in the organization know his whereabouts.

4 uses of phone location tracking app

  • Tracking movement of field people in field service
  • Helping navigation for field service poeple
  • Allocating work to nearby resource in field service
  • Accurately locating the customer location and area.

While there are other uses- most notably in the area of vehicle tracking and asset management, let’s limit our scope here to field technician tracking using a GPS tracking mobile app.

How does a GPS tracking mobile app work?

A location tracking app is on your mobile phone using GPS navigation and Google maps to help you find your way, know where you are, and let others know your location.

how does gps work

What is GPS?

GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) systems are basically using a global system of satellites in space to uniquely determine your position on earth accurately to a few meters. They constantly send signals so that we know where they are. All modern smartphones have hardware that listens to these signals coming in. After calculating the distance between four or more GPS satellites, the receiver can figure out where you are.

Latitudes and longitudes

We all know that in order to locate any place on earth, we use a system of horizontal (latitudes) and vertical lines that criss-cross the globe. The intersection of any of these vertical and horizontal lines gives the unique position of the place on earth. So, every person, every postal address, every object on earth can be given an address: which is defined by the number pair called latitude-longitude (or lat-long for short). When you move from one place to another, your lat-long constantly change.

Saleswah CRM for field service: the phone location tracking app

Field service management software systems integrated with GPS technology allow employees to track the location of technicians and also help the technicians in navigation while on the job. By tracking the location of technicians, GPS tracking mobile app helps field service companies optimize the use of technician time and improve the customer experience.

Tangible benefits of phone location tracking app

In addition to providing technicians with customer data and monitoring available equipment, on-site management software can help technicians move and work throughout the day. Field service software increases technician time with customers, reduces the number of technicians traveling between site and office, and speeds up delivery and billing times.

Location tracking application in the hands of the technician

Any technician who shows up at a customer’s site will be carrying the GPS-enabled Saleswah CRM field service management app. Field technicians can access scheduled jobs from any mobile device, and GPS tracking mobile app provides accurate, real-time location data. With a phone location tracker app, field management software can both suggest nearby technicians and estimate the arrival time of a new technician, alerting the customer to any service delays.

Allocate job to nearby technician using the location tracking application

Location tracking applications can easily help locate the technician who is closest to the site of defective equipment. So, the task can be assigned to re-assigned to him.

This improves customer satisfaction by reducing the time it takes to complete a work order and prevents costly service delays. This achieves exceptional on-site service through workforce management, request tracking, and full visibility into the service delivery cycle.

gps tracking mobile app

Helping technician navigation

With the help of the GPS tracking mobile app, the technicians can navigate to the site faster and resolve issues quicker leading to better customer satisfaction.

All sites located and stored in Saleswah database using lat-long

Saleswah CRM gives the option to tag each installation site with its GPS coordinates. This helps locate them faster and reduces dependence on postal addresses, especially for remote sites.

Streamlining clerical processes both in the field and in the home office enables technicians to deliver fast and helpful services with minimal delays and greater customer satisfaction. This not only eliminates friction from the technician’s day, but also reduces costly truck trips, improves service efficiency, and increases first access, delivering double-digit improvements in customer satisfaction and profitability.

This allows companies to manage all data, scheduling, monitoring, updating, and scheduling in one place. Saleswah CRM tracks field inventory at selected locations and has modules for work order management, scheduling, tool tracking, and maintenance. Geolocation helps you quickly identify, plan, and track locations, and services.

Using location tracking application creatively: in customer self service

Your customers can use Grahak Setu to profile themselves. Their task is made easier by letting them use GPS and Google to fill in their postal address. This reduces errors in site location.

Please also see this post where a client creatively used GPS data to plan service centre locations.

A few other uses

Cloud-based field service software enables technicians and employees to intelligently plan and track moving parts, from end-to-end service teams to equipment and spare parts or “backbone inventory.” The software automates processes, reduces multitasking, and gives technicians access to the vital information they need about service dates, service history, and ownership records.

With the field service app, team leaders can ensure that technicians are the right fit for the job that matches their skills, that the team is making the most of their time moving between jobs, and that each team member follows safety and corporate protocols.

When you connect customers with their field service technicians on the day of service and provide the ability to view and track technician locations on a map, you can get a return on investment from a streamlined communication workflow. Improve customer service while tracking all issues that occur in the field. Labor costs are reduced as fewer field personnel are required to perform the same amount of work. Performance improvements may result in fewer help desk calls. GPS-enabled field service management software makes it easy to define job entry and exit times, both mitigating the problem of technicians forgetting to record hours worked and preventing fraudulent time-stamped schedules from being passed to the system.

Saleswah CRM innovations in using GPS tracking mobile app

We can track employees in the field, automatically timestamp, and track company properties. Using this mobile app, your team members can view their schedules, communicate with other team members and dispatchers, and send messages.

No location spoofing allowed

We have ensured the location reported by the app is the actual location the phone is rather than being corrupted by some other location spoofing app.

The Amazing Simply C2 app builds bridges with customers.

Why Simply C2

Imagine you are a customer with a piece of faulty equipment. You are trying to reach a company phone number. Here are several things you, in all probability, do not know.

  • What is the phone number you have to reach
  • How to get thru the IVR menu options
  • Where is the warranty card?

If you have been in that situation (I know I have been), and you want a better way, read on. This is about a creative way to solve the same problem, using a mobile app called Simply C2.

Repair and Maintenance

What is Simply C2?

Simply C2 is a mobile app meant for consumers to use with which they can connect to manufacturers like you. To log service complaints. And track service complaints. And receive itemized estimates, GST invoices, and even make payments online. More here.

So let us say, as a customer, you own a Microwave oven from Samsung, a TV from Sony, and a Washing Machine from Bosch. You can connect to each of these companies from the same profile in the same app. But of course, Samsung will only know that you own their Microwave oven. As Sony would only know about the TV.

Are you a manufacturer of equipment that requires after sales service?

Consider signing up for our inaugural offer and enable Simply C2 for your customers. Your customers will thank you. No more calling the call center. Go here to see what you get for the starting price of Rs 8000/- only for a year!

Like the Digilocker

Grahak Setu is like the Digilocker service – it stores your customers’ information and which he may share with you when he needs to.

Of course, Digilocker services are provided by the Govt of India. We are not the GOI. We are only using the Digilocker to illustrate a point. Like Digilocker, we also use mobile authentication and then link all transactions and profile information to your mobile number.

Like Digilocker services can be used to get authenticated with and get serviced from many Government departments, a customer can use his profile to connect to many service providers.

Who is Grahak Setu for

  • This is meant for those customers who are fed up with call centers.
  • This is meant for customers who will appreciate a single place to keep all their equipment details.
  • This is meant for those, yes, like me, who misplace their warranty cards.
  • And, this is FREE!

Why you should promote Simply C2 to your customers

Promote Grahak Setu

Features (as your customer sees it)

Keep list of equipment, under your care – household or office- in one place

Warranty documents in Grahak Setu

Simply C2 mobile app helps you to safely keep details of your household equipment or those in your office in one place. Details of products of various types from many vendors can be stored.

So, next time your equipment needs repair, you can simply locate the equipment in the list inside your app, and send in a service request in a couple of clicks.

Track warranty and AMC coverage

warranty coverage

When the customer logs a service ticket with the manufacturing company, it vets the serial number- either remotely or when the technician visits. He decides the warranty coverage and, updates in the system.

This process works even better when the service vendor/ product manufacturer is using the Saleswah CRM service management backend as the entire process is online, seamless, and leaves no scope for errors.

Ship products to service centers for repair

Ship equipment

There are some products which can only be repaired in a service center, like laptops, mobile phones, cars, water ATMs, etc. Simply C2 connected to a provider who is using Saleswah CRM can facilitate shipment to the repair center and track the entire repair flow there as well.

Get item wise repair estimate

Itemized repair estimate

Service technicians using Saleswah can inspect the equipment under repair and immediately generate an itemized estimate for repairs needed. What is more, he can then push the quotation to the mobile of the customer’s Simply C2 App. The customer can then pay online after approving the estimate.

When the customer pays online, the status of the ticket changes immediately to “Queued for repair” and the technician who was assigned the repair gets an alert. This saves a lot of time and effort on his part to have to check back with his accounts department.

Online payment and approval of repair estimate

The customer makes the payment from the mobile app using a highly secure payment gateway. He gets a confirmation in the app that the payment has been made. He also sees the status of the ticket has changed to “Queued for repair”. He also knows who the technician is who is handling his equipment and he can exchange messages for clarifications with him.

warranty coverage

Messaging between the customer and technician handling the repair is simple, direct, and fruitful. It does away with the need to have someone manage the phone lines.

Get intimation of repair done and shipped back

Once the repair is done, the technician hands it back to dispatch and the software prints out the GST invoice that accompany the shipment back to the customer- or simply hands it over to the customer and post the paid invoice in the app. The customer receives the repaired product back.

Why should you use the Saleswah CRM backend for service center management

As a manufacturer providing after-sales service, you can appreciate getting fast intimation from your clients for service-related issues. Which is what Simply C2 does. You will receive an email from the system every time there is a service request logged in your name.

Accurate information of customer location and vetted contact information in service leads

Email intimation from Grahak Setu platform
Email intimation from the Grahak Setu Platform

Every address and mobile number provided by the complainant is vetted carefully. So, you can be assured of genuine leads. Also, there is no time lag between the customer logging a complaint on our platform and this email reaching you.

Any email that comes to your inbox from a customer needs to be attended to. This is unfortunately a task requiring manual intervention. But it need not be so.

If you had a Saleswah CRM connected at the backend, the lead will get logged in the system and the customer will be sent an acknowledgment in the Simply C2 app within seconds.

Build up an installed base of equipment by site

Whether automatically – as in connected to Saleswah CRM- or manually, you will slowly build up an accurate database of equipment and the persons in charge and their location. If you did it in Saleswah, the process is automatic and over time, you can run cross-selling or upselling campaigns.

Provide the right level of support – warranty, AMC or paid

When you log service tickets and log them in the database, you will also start logging additional information like serial numbers, warranty expiry date, etc. This will help you estimate service requirements going forward and provide the right level of support as per requirements to the customer.

If you provide sales and provide support to other businesses, you can group these installations within the companies you support. And tag both the sites and contacts accordingly.

Manage spares part inventory and track usage

One massive advantage of using a service CRM like Saleswah is that you can create a spare parts list and tag each part with one or multiple pieces of equipment. Then, while repairing, you can also track the usage and send quotations and invoices for the parts used in the repair.

Saleswah keeps a track of all spares used and unused and also lets you manage the spares inventory.

You can assign managers with approval roles for spares usage.

Assign to technician

When a ticket is logged in Saleswah, the first thing we need to do is to find a technician who covers that area and assign it to him.

The technician will visit and help fix the problem. Of course, if you provide support only in your service centers, then your technician will let the customer know what the correct usage is-on phone or chat. If he is unable to fix the problem on the phone, he can have the customer bring the product over (or ship it) to the service center.

Generate repair estimate

Get paid online and ticket status changes

Once the technician inspects the equipment, he knows

Alerts and notifications

Your service team gets an alert at every change in status of the ticket- and so does the customer through the mobile app.

This ensures no surprise. Everyone knows the correct status and in case of urgency, you can always send a chat message.

Receive and ship equipment back to the customer.

Once the repair is done, a GST invoice is generated from the system and emailed to the customer – also pushed to the Grahak Setu app for him to download at any time.

Benefits of Simply C2 and Saleswah together to you

Call centers are expensive- smaller companies can’t afford

Having a call center working for even 12 hours a day is a luxury only really large companies can afford. Simply C2 allows you to provide a 24/7 service call logging facility to your clients at zero cost. Even if you did not use the more advanced functionality of the Saleswah CRM, this single benefit is enough for most people to consider moving to Simply C2.

Create installed base for upselling and cross-selling

When you use Saleswah CRM service automation software at the backend, you will not only have an accurate installed base of equipment but will have rich transactions data- repairs made, maintenance done, spare parts used, and so on. This is very useful; for later on cross-selling and up-selling.

Get authenticated data for customers

Address verified by GPS

The first experience of the customer is extremely easy and takes less than a minute. Punch in your mobile number, get an OTP and you are in. Once in, you need to fill in your profile data; which includes the address – the address is prefilled by location data by using GPS coordinates. So, the customer does not have to do much.

But, you get very authentic data which later on will help your service technicians in locating the place the customer is in or your service center in shipping the repaired items back to.

Saleswah helps navigate
Navigating to the customer site using GPS data

Customer authenticated installed base data

Since the customer is filling up the installed base data and later authenticated by your service team, this adds hugely to the accuracy of the installed base information.

Think. You currently need your customers to fill up a warranty card and mail it back. How many do, honestly? By letting your customers fill up their information by themselves, you will easily double your installed base data, at no cost.

Understand technician load and efficiency over time

Is there someone in your team who is carrying the load of the entire team? Is there someone, who needs a push? Can we find out which equipment needs a lot of repairs? Can we check if some technician’s repairs need a lot of rework?

Understand equipment failure rate over time

We have seen that within six months of starting to use the CRM, you can start building a “service profile” based on data

Spares usage stats

Spares usage is one of the key functions of a service operation that needs tracking.

Right spares availability at the right time leads to effective repairs, faster call closures, and customer delight. Spares are also a large part of expenses of the service operations and thus, Saleswah CRM devotes a lot of effort to ensure

  • Inventory management of spare parts
  • Easy indenting and approval of parts.
  • Easy tagging spares with equipment so that technicians find it easy to use the right parts to repair the right equipment
  • Track usage of parts while repairing and make it easy to tally inventory.

All updates come thru the app.

Whenever your technician and the customer need to communicate, they can simply message each other -the technician using Saleswah and the customer using the Simply C2 app can still communicate through messaging. This is on top of all system-generated updates that are sent to the customer with the Simply C2 app.

Why customers love Simply C2

Reduce dependence on the call centre

Now customers do not need to wait for a call center agent to come online, nor worry about miscommunication. Logging service calls have never been easier.

Maintain all equipment data in one place, systematically

Simply C2 will eventually do away with the need to have paper records of your purchases, the warranty cards, and need to have reminders about when the AMC will be due.

Transparent itemized estimate and ease of payment

The technician in Saleswah creates an itemized repair estimate. The quote goes to the mobile app inbox where it is seen by the customer.

He approves and makes payment from the app itself using a secure payment gateway. On the other side, the Saleswah user immediately knows that the payment is realized as the app changes the ticket status, automatically and pushes it into the rep[air workflow.

GST invoices generated from the system- no need to chase

Repair invoice ready to download from Grahak Setu

The customer does not need to chase up his invoice. For that matter, even you don’t have to take any special efforts to create an invoice- the moment a ticket is closed, the Saleswah system generates a GST tax compliant invoice which is immediately made available in the Simply C2 app for download.


You only see your own customer data

  1. You get to see only the data of the customers that have signed up and agreed to share their data with you. You can also restrict the privilege of the customer – his ability to

2. You get to see your equipment – supplied by you- in his installed base. Other suppliers see their equipment. None of you get to see each others’ equipment.

3. Secure payment gateway to ensure risk-free payments.

There are three mobile apps in the Playstore that are closely related to Grahak Setu; both were built by us.

  • Initiative Grahak Setu– this is a customized version of the Simply C2 App; for the exclusive use of Initiative Water, Pune: a pioneer in water treatment equipment like Manual Multiport Valve, Automatic Multiport Valve, Water ATM, Dosing Pumps etc.
  • Saleswah CRM – That’s us; on the playstore. This app works for field sales and field support people- changing interface with the changing roles of the user: sales or service.

Urban Clap (Urban Company): how Grahak Setu is different

Why are we not trying to be another Urban Company?

For answers, you should simply look at the reviews of the app on the Playstore or on this Quora page. Just random viewing, no agenda, no filtering.

The comments highlight an issue with the model.

What did Urban Company set out to do

Urban Clap- now Urban Company– brought together all the neighborhood handymen- plumbers, electricians, hairdressers, and the like on one platform. They were trained in using the service provider app, given some coaching in upselling and cross-selling (my guess), probably personal grooming as well and that became a marketplace cum directory service. Urban Company would take a cut of all the transactions.

Urban Clap (the original name) rebranded itself as Urban Company in 2020 to focus on beauty, spa, grooming, repairs, cleaning, painting, fitness, and yoga.

The business model of Urban Company

Like Uber or Ola take a cut off cab drivers’ earnings. Though you could argue this is more like Oyo model- like Oyo takes a certain part of your monthly “inventory”, Urban Clap takes a part of your daily working hours- it gets you bookings.

This works for generic services. Like plumbing, electrician, even personal grooming (haircuts, etc). Well enough that they have grown fast and big and hardly anyone of us would have not used their services.

The services are not cheap. But, in an urban milieu, with double income families the norm, the relative security of letting someone in your home who has been vetted by a service- has worked in their favour.

Things that are problematic with the Urban Company model

  1. Quality assurance on a grand scale- as the size of the operations increase, it has not been easy to find quality service- providers.
  2. Also, when you repair products, access to genuine spares is required. So, you would find, in many cases, the Urban Company technician would throw up his hands and advise you to contact the manufacturer.

In a nutshell, when it involves repair of an expensive piece of equipment- be it a washing machine, TV, Fridge, Diesel Genset, Security System etc, you need to contact the manufacturer of the equipment.

That’s is what Simply C2 helps you do.

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.

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 retire call center and improve customer satisfaction. 7The 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 retire call center and improve customer satisfaction. 8

  • 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 retire call center and improve customer satisfaction. 9

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 Simply C2

Enter the details of your home appliances or office equipment in the Simply C2 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

Revealed: easy way to perform algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance 10
David Revoy,, 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.

Easily create maintenance equipment checklist for your field team

checklist for preventive maintenance

Checklist for preventive maintenance on the fly

Every field service technician is familiar with maintenance equipment checklists. Let’s see why.

Every equipment under your care has a different maintenance plan. Not just schedule. Let’s take a battery, for instance.

An industrial battery requires preventative maintenance at periodic intervals. If in heavy use, then as frequently as every month. Preventive maintenance (PM) is done to ensure one does not need to come back for ad hoc maintenance/ repair for damaged batteries- basically the same principle behind PM that is followed for all equipment.

Now, every equipment that needs maintenance requires a checklist for preventive maintenance for the technicians to follow. Be it an automobile or a fuel pump or a battery. This is common sense as well as common practice. These maintenance equipment checklists can run to 5/ 6 items for simpler items like a battery vs hundred or more for an automobile.

As an example, take a look at the maintenance equipment checklist published by Alpine Power Systems.

maintenance equipment checklist for battery
Representational: maintenance equipment checklist for battery

Till recently the technicians went around with printed maintenance equipment checklists and noted their finding there.

The problem with maintenance equipment checklist so far

Committing your checklist for preventive maintenance to a paper based strategy has obviously 2 problems.

  1. Paper is tough to track, and audit. End of the day, someone needs to (or should) sit down with the sheaf of papers documenting all the PM activities that have happened that day and check if the right procedure was followed. Were the right observations made, corrective actions taken and customer feedback monitored?

In comes software. Mobile and web based. For capturing records for every maintenance activity performed. And being able to draw appropriate lessons from the past activities. So, obviously, maintenance equipment checklist should be the first to be computerized.

2. And, keeping history, maintaining records and learning from experience is near impossible unless you have a process for transcribing (error free) all the filled up maintenance equipment checklists. Regularly. And, have a software for analysing the historical records for trends to be wary about.

Challenge with computerizing maintenance equipment checklist

Then comes the challenge: do you have to have different software for maintaining, say a laptop than for maintaining a washing machine? Or for a diesel generator set? Because the preventive maintenance checklist to be used for capturing the details regarding each type of equipment is very different, as you can understand.

Or, should you custom develop- with the help of your software vendor, a checklist for preventive maintenance for the equipment that you maintain? And, look for him again when the firm needs even a minor tweak?

Not easy huh?

That’s where Saleswah CRM comes in.

Checklist for preventive maintenance: Mobile app driven totally customizable

We provide you the ability to custom design, not one, but scores of product category maintenance equipment checklist – one for each type of products you have under maintenance. Not just that; you can create custom forms for visits – as well. These checklist for preventive maintenance are available instantly to all users once designed by the admin.

But, hold on. When you have scores of forms with you on your mobile app, that’s just the same as carrying around multiple paper forms for different product types, right? Ah, no. Saleswah CRM is smarter than that. When you are attending to a an equipment under maintenance, the software will show ONLY the relevant form to you. Without your intervention. In fact, you can’t pull up a wrong form even if you tried.

All this works- without a single line of code, any need for “implementation consultants” getting involved and any spend on time and money.

If you would like to have a demo of how to create maintenance equipment checklists – contact us for a demo.