1. Increased Reliance on Asset Data Equals Less Admin

With a continued focus on customer experience or effort as a leading metric for service, technology will continue to be leveraged to reduce the administrative burden on customers, employees, and expand mobility and virtual working. We will also see an increased reliance on asset data—either remotely collected through IoT or more traditionally gathered through instrument monitoring or customer portals—with a continuing shift toward predictive or prescriptive maintenance to increase asset availability and economic output.

2. Ease of Use and Low Effort Interactions

While Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and traditional customer satisfaction metrics have served the industry well over the past 40 or so years, the ability to accurately measure customer experience or effort will increase in importance. As with every other aspect of life from ordering food delivery to scheduling a rideshare becoming easier and requiring less effort, customers will no longer put up with antiquated services or paper-based processes.  If it isn’t easy and relatively effortless to utilize a company’s products or services, customers will migrate to where it is. Convenience and ease of use will supersede existing relationships as time to market and productivity become more important. Customers are willing to pay a premium for ease of use and low-effort interactions provided that the quality of the service remains excellent. And excellence will be expected regardless. Companies that invest in state-of-the-art customer interfaces will have a huge advantage in the marketplace.

3. Automation, Virtual Commerce & the Transition to Servitization

To improve customer effort scores, as well as attract and retain great employees, companies will continue to invest heavily in automated systems that not only reduce administrative burden, but also increase response time, allow for customer self-help, and provide for virtual working and interaction between customers and employees. The technologies that support remote work, automated process control, and digital commerce were instrumental in allowing organizations to survive the pandemic. Customers and employees will not accept any less moving on from it. We envision continued investment and innovation in virtual commerce technologies, from meetings to augmented reality, mobile, cloud, and the transition of most products to a more servitized model.  Customers will expect to be able to access their account information, asset data, schedule service calls, and look at asset maintenance history easily, online, without having to contact anyone.

4. Outcomes as a Service Model

Finally, we see the increased reliance on asset data. With the objective of reducing customer effort and increasing customer experience, equipment and asset service organizations will drive toward monitoring the condition of the asset in the field, understanding the overall health of the asset remotely, and prescribing maintenance as required, and predicting failures before they occur. This effort will lead to reduced customer effort, increased asset uptime, increased economic output, reduced labor costs, and will be essential to transition to managing assets to the “outcomes as a service” model. Ideally leveraging IoT and edge computing devices to gather asset data, companies will learn to listen to their assets and use that information to coordinate and deliver the right maintenance activity at the right time to optimize equipment output.

5. More Valuable Customer Experience Measurement

In this way, we see the advancement of transformational technologies enabling a shift towards improved operations, increased uptime, higher-value economic output, and the opportunity or possibility of outcomes as a service. Coupled with that is an increasing focus on making work easier for both the employee and the customer. A continuing development of remote working and improved customer communication and access to data, allowing the customers to do for themselves what previously was a non-value-add administrative burden for back-office staff in the past. We see these changes, and more, contributing to the transition away from traditional customer satisfaction metrics and NPS surveys to a more valuable customer experience or effort measurement.

ABOUT Joe Kenny

Avatar photoJoe Kenny is the vice president of global customer transformation & customer success at ServiceMax. His career spans over 30 years of leadership positions in Operations, Sales, Product Development, Product Marketing, and Field Service. Beginning his field service experience with the U.S. Naval Security Group Command (NSGC) as a mainframe computer technician, Joe subsequently lived and worked in Asia, the U.S., and Europe. Joe has focused on customer relationship management, using clearly defined and mutually agreed to measurements of success, and driving to continually exceed customer expectations, allowing for exponential business growth and client retention.