Why Automation in Manufacturing Services Is Going Hyper
Optimize your end-to-end service delivery for faster, more cost-effective customer experiences.
Apr 27, 2023. 6 min read
Fifty percent of all businesses have been significantly impacted by inflation, geopolitical instability, or supply chain disruption. Meanwhile, business customers and channel partners are demanding the same type of service they experience in their consumer lives (83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when contacting a company).
In short, your manufacturing costs are rising right alongside customer expectations for fast, personalized, high-quality service. And, workers get bogged down with repetitive manual tasks and endless searches for customer information that are spread across too many applications. How can you deliver the level of service customers want (or even exceed it) while driving cost savings and employee efficiency? By implementing service automation in manufacturing.
It’s no surprise more than 90% of companies report a surge in automation — and why automation is fast becoming “hyperautomation.” What is hyperautomation? The textbook definition is, “a business-driven, disciplined approach to identifying, vetting, and automating as many processes as possible.”
If you feel like you’re behind, you’re not alone. Fixing slow handle times and frustrating agent experiences is daunting when you have teams and data spread out. It’s even more complicated when they have their own processes, applications, and priorities. And, once you connect your internal issues, you still need to make sure your customer experiences are secure and cohesive.
This requires the right tools, of which automation in manufacturing (and hyperautomation) are generally only a piece of a larger platform. The Salesforce Customer 360 platform brings all of your systems together to deliver a single, shared view of all customer data. And, Salesforce gives you a way to access your back-office data and partner systems without moving any data to the platform. The data is unified on a common engagement layer, helping to automate and streamline processes without investing in customizations or time-consuming data management.
The Impact of Automation in Manufacturing
Gone are the days when customers had the patience to wait on a solution to their problem through the frustration of call operator transfers or for an email reply that seemed to take hours or days. The expectations held by customers and the number of channels involved have evolved radically. Customers now expect self-service portals, help sites, live agent chats, and more. And they expect whoever is helping them on any channel to know their unique situation and history. That means every interaction needs to be connected so that they can pick up where they left off, even as they jump from channel to channel.
But, one wrong turn at any point along the customer journey and your customers could take a detour to another brand. And for most enterprises, holding the line against that threat demands the integration of scores of siloed systems. (The average enterprise is weighed down by 1,000+ individual applications.) Service teams need to simplify and modernize their systems to deliver a differentiated customer experience. That’s where Salesforce comes in — transforming your entire company to work on one connected platform, united by a single, shared view of your customer data.
Automation elevates that capability dramatically. It takes over many redundant tasks freeing your team up to manage the more nuanced activities that multiply as the landscape changes. Deloitte estimates a whopping 20% of full-time equivalent capacity could be provided by bots, on average. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to automate proactive services including service subscription and warranty renewal notices and maintenance notifications before a part breaks. And, it can enhance upsell and cross-sell successes — recommending the right opportunities to position the right set of products or services to drive additional revenue and bolster customer satisfaction scores (CSAT).
In other words, properly-deployed automation can increase productivity, lower the costs of getting things done, and empower your teams to wow customers.
Shift to Scale Service Hyperautomation
- High-touch interactions, like in-person service in the field, could become virtual/video support whenever possible. This reduces truck rolls and saves fuel costs and maintenance.
- Low-touch interactions, like contact center engagement, could move those conversations to chatbots or self-service information on your website. This allows agents to focus on more complex issues.
- No-touch interactions can continuously improve to make the experiences better for your customers. Using real-time data and AI to make those interactions more personalized and proactive will improve customer satisfaction.
- An easy, digital product registration process provides the information and context to fuel meaningful, relationship-building engagement.
- A guided claim submission process can provide fast, automatic approvals in minutes instead of days or weeks.
- Self-serve troubleshooting can deliver step-by-step instructions for customers to address product issues, dynamically shaping instructions based on the outcomes of prior steps. This helps them get machines back up faster for minor issues.
- Consolidated, real-time order data can virtually eliminate “swivel-chairing” (searching through disparate systems for information) to resolve issues faster.
- Real-time inventory data can provide more accurate assessments of available parts, enabling agents to provide more accurate shipping estimates & drive better CSAT.
- Automated pre-work estimates can help boost your service technicians’ productivity, reduce the need for multiple visits, and drive customer satisfaction. Service technicians can add additional parts and labor they need to finish the job, accurately estimate the cost, generate draft orders, and send emails to the customer to obtain real-time approval to do the repair.
- Connecting the dots for back-office agents, instantly surfacing customer context so they can dynamically troubleshoot problems remotely, or engage the right technician for an onsite visit.
- Providing real-time updates across all systems to increase first-time fix rates and decrease truck rolls.
- Offering a unified view of all your assets for a more accurate picture of SLAs and warranties, increasing contract adherence and decreasing warranty leakage.
- AI-powered insights help lead to successful upselling/cross-selling by recommending personalized next-best actions and offers.
- Automated processes can give assessors a head start on warranty adjudication by accessing and utilizing entitlement data in external systems.
- Process automation tools can auto-create warranty claims when a work order is executed to eliminate hours of error-prone, manual data entry.
The Future of Hyperautomation in Manufacturing
With the unified view of data — including data from products as they become more connected — and hyperautomation, you can set up a path toward service-based offerings, such as preventative, predictive, and servitization subscription models. Driving proactive revenue will transform your service team from a cost center to a profit center.
Overall, hyperautomation can help manufacturers drive more efficiency, productivity, and customer experience by automating manual and repetitive tasks, optimizing service processes, and leveraging data-driven insights to make better decisions. This can help manufacturers stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace and meet the changing needs and expectations of customers.
Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is purpose-built to unify your systems and enable hyperautomation capabilities. Watch how it can get you there by driving next-level customer satisfaction and cost efficiency.