Machines may never take the place of a in-person repair tech, but the next generation of smart appliances sure will make their job easier — and more impactful at the same time. The ability of Kenmore’s newest line of “talking” washers and dryers to speak directly to tech support representatives means fewer dispatches for service on issues that can easily be cleared up over the phone. The technology could reduce the company’s truck runs by up to half, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Here’s how it works – when a machine breaks down, the consumer calls the manufacturer’s tech support line, flips on the machine’s self-diagnosing button and holds the phone up to the machine. Through a series of beeps and signals, the machine transmits data which, in essence, tells customer support what’s wrong, explains Joy Reo at The Uptime Blog. Customer service reviews the data generated by the machine and diagnoses the issue. Often, the customer service tech can tell the customer how to repair the machine, but sometimes, the machine still requires the attention of a field service pro.

While the technology might result in fewer service calls for technicians, look on the bright side: By correctly diagnosing the problem and fixing it the first time, well-informed techs can bring more value to each call they make, even if those calls are less frequent. As Reo suggests, smart appliance are continually rolling out, and manufacturers can take customer support a step further by providing service staff with updated technical, repair and parts information.

Your customers may see less of you — but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for either side.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.