10 point framework for flawless service CRM implementation

service CRM implementation

Service CRM implementation check-list

A service CRM implementation is hard to do. Based on our experience, we put together this checklist. Hopefully this helps in your service CRM implementation.

No matter if you are designing a service CRM from the ground up or simply interested in an existing service CRM implementation, follow the framework below.

Type of service and deliverables

What are the types of repair/ maintenance activities that are performed?

– Repair

– Preventive/ scheduled maintenance

– Installation

Any other?

It’s absolutely necessary to have a clear understanding of all the reasons your customers need your service for. And, it is important to document your process for each of them for a successful service CRM implementation.

Service Venue

Where do you provide the service? Is it at the customer location or at your own service center?

Important question. While your own service center might provide a much more controlled environment, in most products, there is no option but to go to the customer location and provide service.

The challenges are different.

Company policy regarding after sales support

This differs widely from one company to the other. It’s important to know what your policy is.

Do you service only equipment which is under service contract/ warranty? Or you service equipment on an ad hoc basis (chargeable)?

Your service CRM implmentation needs that input for design.

What is your repair process?

Repair and Maintenance

In service CRM implementation, think long and hard about your repair process. Starting with logging a service ticket to the closure of the ticket. Break it up into smaller steps and document how you:

– log a service ticket, assign the ticket to someone, track the ticket to closure.

Logging a service ticket starts the process. Start my defining who can log a ticket- your reception/ dedicated call center/ any one in service function. Or, do you want to allow self service for logging service complaints: on your website or through an app?

You should also know what information about the repair do you want to capture- fault, repairs, spares used, physical condition of the equipment etc. Do you need to notify someone regarding the closure of the ticket? In what format and when?

How do you perform preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is extremely important in many service scenarios, especially with equipment with mechanical parts. It ensures that the need for ad-hoc repairing is reduced.

How do you schedule preventive maintenance? Is it at fixed intervals? Or does the maintenance interval vary based on how much is the wear and tear based on observed/ projected run hour? 

After scheduling, does the customer need to be informed and his approval required? Does a manager from your side approve the visit?

Installation:

installation service ticket management
Installation

Does your product need installation at customer premises? Installation can be simple- like that for most home appliances or complex- like for large, complex industrial or engineering products.

As with the other types of tickets, document:

– who logs an installation ticket? With what information? How the ticket is assigned/ re-assigned to someone? How the ticket is tracked to close?

Sometimes sale and subsequent delivery can itself trigger an installation note. If that is part of your business process, make sure you document that as part of your service CRM implementation.

Warranty/ AMC:

Do you have a process for tracking warranty and annual maintenance contract (AMC) on serial numbers of equipment?

Do you have a process for chasing after renewals of AMC or converting warranty expiry into AMC?

Is your warranty or AMC driven by case to case basis depending on business requirements or is it the same warranty terms for each product type for all cases?

These questions are important for it is clearly needed for the service CRM implementation.

List of products under service and spares

– products you are currently selling

– products that you have stopped selling but will still service

Also, while some spare parts are used across all equipment, there are others that may be usable only with specific equipment. Careful mapping of spare parts with the appropriate equipment is of enormous help to your service personnel and is crucial to an effective service CRM implementation.

Defects/ suggested repairs

Do you have a list of defects and repairs for each of your products/ product categories? It really helps to map common defects and suggested repairs to products so that your field service people get prompted/ guided correctly.

Repair estimates/ Invoices 

If you get a service ticket from a customer whose equipment was not under warranty/ AMC- do you charge him for repair or simply refuse?

If you charge him, then, what is the process for- raising a repair estimate and getting it approved?

The above outlines a basic framework for service CRM implementation. After implementing this, you can think of advanced features like SLA management, flexible scheduling, mobile app for location tracking and so on.

Need a good reason to implement service CRM? Take 4

I interviewed a recent customer about why he wanted to implement service CRM in his company.

What does he use Saleswah CRM for? They run a large number of service centers around the country which repair water treatment equipment of their own manufacture – dosing pumps etc. Their customers are spread all over India. They sell through a large network of distributors and retailers.

Here are his 4 top reasons to implement service CRM. In the order he narrated to me.

  1. Create a system for logging and prioritizing service calls- crying baby gets the most milk. Should NOT.
  2. Post facto analysis- Monitor targets/ efficiency. Compare across equipment, service centres, technicians
  3. Restore confidence in fairness of the spares usage/ requirement- not change them arbitrarily and ensure the genuinely required parts are used. Also ensure only genuine spares are used.
  4. Cut down on the time spent in communicating with customers regarding the stages of the service

Let’s dive in, im some detail.

First reason to implement service CRM: prioritize service tickets

He wanted some method – to restore order and a sense of calm. Too often, his service technicians would simply attend to those customers who were shouting at them across the counter or the phone line.
Frequently tickets logged weeks ago were pending. No one followed a system.

implement service crm to prioritize tickets
This is how his repairs looked like on his service notice board

“This was my top-most reason to implement service CRM- I did not want my technicians making these decisions under pressure”.

Now, after he has implemented, the CRM gives him alerts when a ticket is delayed beyond justification.

Second reason to implement service CRM: post-facto analysis

“I had no actionable data”- he says of his second reason to implement service CRM.

He wanted to monitor targets- and track if his team is meeting them.

How many repairs per day? Per week/ month?

getting insights is a top reason to implement service crn
Implement service CRM to get all sorts of data about your customer service

Now cut the data by service centre, by product type. You get all that now at your fingertips. Which equipment is failing more often? Is this a problem with certain batches of production?

Which spares are being used most often?

Now, he gets reports on all the above- which helps him identify areas for improvement. He has already identified that he needs a service center in a city he did not have one in.

Third reason why implement service CRM: spares management

“Using non-genuine spares is a sure way to kill my brand and goodwill”- says he.

He wants to be fair- why charge for spares when you don’t need to? But, if spare parts are used, they must be genuine and customers must have confidence in the repair process.

“The only way to ensure fair usage of spares and charge the customers in a transparent way was to implement service CRM. I track spares from my central warehouse to all my service centers – to the ultimate repairs done.”

He has already reduced his spares outgo over last year- even though he is servicing more equipment than last year.

Fourth reason to implement service CRM: streamline customer communication

Before they implemented Saleswah service CRM, his team spent a lot of time on the phone. Communicating or responding to customers.

Have you received it?

Have you started working on it? How much will it cost? What’s wrong with it?

Can you do it faster?

Or, it could be his team chasing the customer.

Please approve the repair estimate so we can start working. It’s repaired – come pick it up. Or, we have sent it- here’s the details.

Phone and whatsapp. It was all ad-hoc.

Now, those days are truly in the past.

implement service crm with grahak setu

He wants to specially thank Grahak Setu– the companion app- which we implemented for his customers.

All transaction communication is now automated. The moment the equipment reaches the service center- there is a ticket acknowledgement which is sent to the customer.

Customer gets the status update through the Grahak Setu app, for ALL repair stages. Not just that – he can approve estimates and make payments through the app. And, download invoices.

Do you want to know how Saleswah service CRM and Grahak Setu can work together to transform your service operations? Call us or register for a free trial.

Revealed: easy way to perform algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance

Revealed: easy way to perform algorithmic scheduling preventive maintenance 1
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.

Prevalent frauds in field service management -1

I will write a few stories – based on personal and professional experience- where I see how fraudulent practices impact the companies providing services and/ or the consumer.

All cases are real and from my first hand experience. Today is the first, the case of the air-purifier field service management.

A few days back we wanted our room air purifiers serviced. It is one of the most well known white goods companies. We called their call center, a service ticket was logged and the technician was assigned to our case.

He landed up at about the appointed hour, did a thorough job with both ( we have two) and then asked for payment.

I paid in cash- he charged me for 2 services, got me to sign off on the “FSR” – which also doubled up as the receipt, and when he was tearing off the top page I saw what was odd.

Except for my signature and date, there was no other impression on the “self-carbon” copy- meant for submission back at his office.

See the possibilities.

He can fudge my rating; in this case, there was no need to, because I had rated him well; but, it is always a possibility.

He can misreport the time of arrival and departure.

Prevalent frauds in field service management -1 2

He can claim that he serviced only one air purifier rather than 2. And pocket the charges of 1 service.

He can claim that he used some consumables- non-chargeable to the consumer, but obviously costing his company something.

Prevalent but preventable

Now, shameless plug for Saleswah Service CRM- field service management software.

If this company was using Saleswah CRM mobile enabled field service management software, this would not have happened.

  1. I would sign on the mobile screen, after I rate him- also on the phone. So, no chance of a fudged rating. Oh, and if your company policy demands that he takes a picture of the client, or the equipment, he can- and the pictures will be sent along with location tags, address etc to your database.
  2. The mobile app will record the start and end time and location of the service call/ visit. And the location.
  3. The receipt can be generated right from the app; configured by the type and quantity of the service availed. No more revenue loss for the company.
  4. You can specify in your service policy that all spares or consumables being used must be entered in the mobile app and and have that implemented/ enforced.

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