Customer service in a post-pandemic world
More than 2 years on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed at Howden. In many ways, life has begun to return to the familiar pre-pandemic routines. With customer visits possible once again, and employees returning to offices. Yet there are some changes which are here to stay.
The way we work has been changed forever thanks to advances in remote working and telecommunication technologies. While video conferencing was once an unusual event, now there are few office workers who make it through the week without a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting. But for Howden, this digital transformation was not limited to our office-based colleagues – our field service teams have embraced the change too.
The initial launch of our remote assistance services was back in 2020, as the world struggled to cope with the sudden restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings. Through the rapid deployment and rollout of advanced Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, such as Vuforia Chalk and Dynamics 365, we were able to connect technicians with colleagues and customers across the world to keep our machines operational through difficult circumstances. These AR-enabled video calls allow clear, precise visual communication through live 3D annotations of the video stream. It’s simple to use, optimised for use in industrial environments, and automatically creates records of key points of interest during the call.
Now, we are able to travel again to most locations and meeting in person is much more frequent. And yet, this is not the end of remote assistance. Aside from the obvious benefits during the height of the pandemic, remote assistance also brings some key advantages even in “post-COVID” times:
It’s not just the end customer who benefits. According to the VoFSE 2020 report (Service Council, 2020), 92% of field service engineers report that solving problems and fixing things are their favourite part of the job. Remote assistance technologies can reduce technicians travel time and allow them to resolve issues and consult on more jobs in a shorter time. Letting them focus on the rewarding work they enjoy.
Howden plan to combine all the benefits of a digitally engaged workforce with our traditional service capabilities to offer the best possible experience to our customers and our colleagues.
With this in mind, we are pleased to announce the re-launch of our Remote Assistance services. Joining the suite of tools at our disposal, we now have our very own AR communication tool. Powered by Vuforia and designed specifically with the industrial environment in mind, Howden Virtual Expert will bring expert advice to the field no matter where we are in the world.
Remote Assistance is not a magic bullet, and physical site visits are here to stay - but we truly believe that these advanced technologies offer significant advantages which complement our traditional service packages and allow us to meet our customers’ needs better than ever. It’s all about connecting to the right person, at the right time, to get the job done.
Service Council. (2020). Latest Research: Voice of Field Service Engineer (VoFSE) . [ONLINE: https://servicecouncil.com/reports/2021-voice-of-the-field-service-engineer-vofse/].