Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared on Field Technologies Online and is adapted here with permission. Here, Sarah Nicastro speaks with Udaya Devineni, SVP of U.S. Services at Schneider Electric, about how new technologies, and ever-evolving customer expectations, are altering service — and how Schneider aims to keep pace.

At a recent conference, Schneider Electric‘s Udaya Devineni spoke about the disruption that is taking place in the service industry. It’s an interesting topic that should command your attention because field service is changing — and you need to understand what’s causing that change in order to keep up. Below, Udaya shares his perspective on service disruption and how Schneider is tackling this challenge.

How would you define ‘service disruption’?

Udaya Devineni

Udaya Devineni

Devineni: Let’s start with an example: A basic daily household piece of equipment, such as a washing machine, refrigerator, security, or HVAC system, goes out of service in a blink. You call the manufacturer’s customer care center, but the troubleshooting goes nowhere. You are told a technician visit needs to be scheduled to diagnose the problem, and the next available slot would be in two weeks.

These types of scenarios are a dime a dozen in today’s world. And when consumers’ expectations for uninterrupted service or immediate equipment replacement are being missed, they have no qualms about shopping around for a competing brand that may better meet their service expectations. This scenario is no different with customers and equipment in the industrial world where safety, business continuity, and cost-effectiveness are paramount. To mitigate this exposure and avoid loss of customers, manufacturers are looking to disruptive services, which leverage a combination of digital technology, connected products, and business processes to empower customers and simplify the experience for the end user.

How do these experiences translate to higher customer expectations for their service providers?

Digital and mobile technology has increased the customer expectation for service. Consumers today want access to service at all times during the day, whether they are at home, in transit, at work, or in a social environment. The expectation is that services will never be interrupted.

To meet the growing customer expectations, we as service providers need to be flexible and scalable and provide proactive and preemptive services. We need to anticipate the needs of our customers before they express their desires or expectations.

The expectation is that services will never be interrupted.

In order to provide these new levels of service, traditional companies need to evolve and embrace disruptive services. Disruptive companies can outpace traditional competitors, providing the same amount of value or more, while avoiding typical business constraints, such as up-front capital investments. We should not be limited to our traditional ways of doing things, but be open to new business models for deploying resources, making strategic investments, and challenging traditional market dynamics.

What steps is Schneider Electric taking to meet its customers’ expectations in this new era of service?

We see connectivity assisting us in four main imperatives of our business: safety, reliability and business continuity, compliance, and efficiency. We are leveraging digitization to collect and analyze data to inform strategic paths forward for our customers. Connected technology and disruptive services are allowing our company to optimize operational efficiencies, ensure legacy systems are compliant, and above all, enable our workers to provide services in the safest possible ways. Our objective is to provide operations intelligence and actions that assure 100 percent uptime and 100 percent peace of mind to our customers.

Read the full story at Field Technologies Online