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How We’ve Accelerated Our Service Digital Transformation During the Pandemic

Learn about the key technologies and strategies used to improve the customer experience and bottom line during the global crisis

October 27, 2020

2020 has been wrought with challenges, especially for the field service industry. With the pandemic wreaking havoc on every industry, more pressure was put on essential industries like retail, grocery, supply chain and mail manufacturers. The use of remote support services has skyrocketed to ensure that these industries continue to provide essentials to their customers and keep the economy moving forward.

Being a service and support provider for several major essential industry players, when the pandemic hit, we shifted more focus on our service organization’s digital transformation. We recognized the value that beefing up our remote support service capabilities would bring to ensuring our customers’ organizations never falter when it matters most.

This digital transformation acceleration was also a major theme at the 2020 Field Service Virtual Summit & Expo, where cross-industry service and support leaders were brought together to share their successes, challenges, and experiences building world-class operations during this unprecedented year.

Bell and Howell’s own Vice President of Analytics & Data Science, Dr. Haroon Abbu, shared our digital transformation story as a keynote panelist for Key Technologies Field Service Organizations Should Be Investing in Today to Ensure Business Continuity and Growth in a Post-Pandemic Economy session.

Watch the one-hour panel session to learn about how we’re using technology to improve our remote support service. Enabling us to fix over 70% of service calls remotely and boast a 92% first-time-fix rate on connected machines.

Accelerating Digitalization to Help Essential Businesses

Coming from our own experience and from the panelist, one thing is certainly clear; companies are accelerating the shift towards the digitalization of their customer interactions. They’re fast-tracking this effort by connecting equipment, empowering their field service technicians with real-time diagnostic reports and insights on machine conditions, and even remotely assisting when needed. Customer expectations have not waned at all during the pandemic. In fact, they’ve risen, especially for essential businesses.

We began our digital transformation journey almost three years ago, which has put us ahead of the curve during the pandemic. Our Remote 360 platform, an IoT-enabled remote monitoring, diagnostic, and repair solution, monitors connected equipment 24/7, and provides alerts and work orders in real-time.

This platform also enables our network operations center (NOC) to perform remote diagnostics and repairs. Automated escalations are built-in for “roll the truck” on-site repair when required. This Remote360 technology has helped tremendously in servicing our essential business customers, especially in the retail, grocery click-and-collect, and production mail industries during the pandemic.

Optimizing Remote Support Service Performance During the Pandemic

We’ve continued to onboard more and more machines to our remote monitoring platform, even during the pandemic, which we think further validates our technology for deployment at scale. We have rolled out new and innovative visualizations and insights to identify fleet-level service issues and proactively respond to problematic machines.

We continue to assess the data we are collecting—whether it’s service data, engineering spec data, product performance data, or utilization data — and share the insights with our techs, engineers, and customers, even in real-time. This proactive exchange of real-time information enables a paradigm shift from a break-fix mindset to that of a continual proactive maintenance mindset.

Going Virtual for Training

The use of augmented reality and new methodologies for training is both an industry hot topic discussed during the same panel at thee 2020 Field Service Virtual Summit and something that we at Bell and Howell have also working on.

At the onset of the pandemic, we rapidly ramped up our remote learning capabilities. Within three weeks, we successfully migrated 95% of our in-person training to instructor-led virtual learning. Utilizing this training methodology, we can train our technicians on new original equipment manufactured (OEM) products faster and more efficiently. This has helped us climb the revenue curve faster than traditional training methods.

The New Normal

As businesses navigate through the pandemic and find ways to fortify and move their businesses forward, they must understand what their data is telling them, both in the industry and under their roof.

To learn more about Bell and Howell’s digital transformation and how we’ve leveraged data to become a next-generation service provider, check out Bell and Howell’s Case Study, Presented at the 2020 Field Service Virtual Summit & Expo by Dr. Haroon Abbu: Transforming Service Business through IoT and Analytics.


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