Posted by Javed Shaikh, Senior Consultant, Oracle Practice, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys
Some time or the other, we all have faced an issue with a product. Familiar reaction to such situation is that first we check the user manual, call the manufacturer's call center, and some enthusiast will jump to internet to search for a solution. The customer will find hundreds of pages thrown at him for the search he made. He might stumble upon the right page which might resolve his issue or he might not. In case of unsuccessful search, the customer will revert back to manufacturer for resolution.
Once issues start to crop up for a certain product line, the service\call centers are filled with complaints and the brand is affected with negative publicity. As a thumb rule, when products work as expected or satisfactorily, we do not see many positive reviews for the product, but a bad experience spreads like wildfire in the connected world. It's the manufacturer choice either to act reactively and resolve issues as and when raised or act proactively and let the customer know the issue and resolve the same.
Most of the times, there are minor issues which can be resolved with some change in settings or some workarounds. There are scenarios where manufacturer is aware of the issue and has resolution for the same. There are also cases where some end users find resolution or workaround to a common issues. One will find lot of independent forums where customer share their product experiences as well as resolutions to commonly occurring problems. The solution can exist anywhere on the World Wide Web other than the manufacturer's official website. Now as a manufacturer, it is of paramount importance to have these solutions collected for their products and pushed to customers when required on a real-time basis.
To achieve the same, the customer needs a web crawler to constantly monitor webpages which has any mention of its product and problems on the web. The manufacturer needs to identify and verify useful information regarding the product and update knowledge base. This information would form a library that it contains all possible errors the machine can face and all possible resolution to the same.
Going further in the interconnected world, when an error occurs on one of the customer's machines, the machines should be able to access this content using key words or machine inputs, follow the steps as per content to resolve the issue, which would be a case of Self-Service. This would mostly be applicable to software related issues or minor setting changes.
In case the machine decides as per prewritten algorithm in the content management tool that it is a simple issue, but needs human intervention, the machine should be able to communicate with the customer either through screen alert or voice alert. Once attended, the system should guide the user to perform tasks as per steps provided by the content management tool to resolve a problem, which would be a case of Assisted Self Service. This would be applicable to cases where a novice end user can follow simple instructions as presented by the machine and resolve the issues.
In third scenario, if as per the algorithm the issue is a bigger one and needs an expert for resolution, the machine directly communicated with the manufacturer's system and creates a service request. Service request resolution should follow a typical field service management life cycle. This would be applicable to scenario where an expert intervention is required and normal users would not be able to complete the required task.
For above to work, the content management would be of outmost important. The steps towards problem resolution would need to be appropriately aligned such that it should be able to nail down the exact problem area and resolution for the same. As discussed in the earlier blog, the intelligent machines should also need to provide correct inputs to the content management tool. The marriage between machines and the content should help the manufacturers to resolve a reasonable number of issues cost effectively, which should lead to high customer satisfaction and less load of service\call centers.