EMC’s aim: to optimize the customer experience. Now, as improved productivity and customer satisfaction confirm, they have raised the bar for service excellence yet again.
EMC Corporation has long been known for their high quality of customer service. Just ask the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA). They have recognized EMC with 23 STAR Awards, across all service disciplines, over the past 12 years. EMC and Cisco are the only technology companies to earn the TSIA’s prestigious Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award four times.
Yet the recognition for EMC’s service leadership hardly ends there. This US-based multinational company is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service (ITaaS). In enterprises ranging from small and medium-sized companies to the FORTUNE 500, IT departments utilize EMC’s technology and services to accelerate their journey to cloud computing and to store, manage, protect, and analyze their most valuable asset, information, all in a more agile, trusted, and cost- efficient way.
Fundamentally, EMC’s transformation solutions enable customers to stay ahead of the competition, so it is entirely fitting that EMC’s service teams are themselves now focused so intently on their own process transformation. They know it is essential to continue providing a customer experience that is second to none.
EMC’s “customer first” culture is at the core of their service difference, and is a vital component of the company’s growth strategy. “High quality of service is a primary reason customers prefer us,” says David Matson, Principal Offer Marketing Manager at EMC. “But we never want to get complacent. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to transform our service processes for the better."
EMC’s service transformation priority is to optimize the Total Customer Experience (TCE). The company strives to increase service productivity and improve customer satisfaction even as their operations spread to further reaches of the globe and their service activities grow.
"As our portfolio has expanded and customer needs have grown, it has become increasingly critical for us to optimize service delivery across many different customer segments and differentiated solutions.”
And EMC doesn’t simply talk the talk on TCE. Service metrics are tightly aligned with company objectives. Customers are consistently surveyed on service performance (often aided by third parties to assure objectivity) and EMC’s service people, from field level to the executive ranks, are evaluated and compensated based on TCE metrics.
EMC takes an agile approach toward their mission to transform service. The company’s overarching goal is to deliver the right service at the right time, to any customer, anywhere in the world, through the channels and delivery methods of their choice.
How EMC achieves this service agility is key to their success. The company utilizes strategically selected and carefully implemented best-in-class service lifecycle management (SLM) solutions. Zeroing in on SLM has helped EMC provide their customers with the utmost in service value, while giving the company a critical competitive advantage.
“Fifteen years ago, EMC was mainly known for one product: data storage,” says John Dodd, Director of Customer Service Operations at EMC. “But as our portfolio has expanded and our customers’ needs have grown increasingly complex, it has become critical for us to optimize our service delivery across many segments and solutions.”
"Dispatchers lacked information to get the right person with the right skills to the right place with right part. Field service often had to make return trips."
EMC kicked off the second round of their Global Services Transformation (GST) initiative in 2009. At the time, the company used largely manual service scheduling and dispatch processes. Parts ordering practices varied from one territory to the next, and were sometimes inefficient. Lack of centralized visibility into onsite parts inventory and the use of less cost-efficient shipping options pushed service delivery expenses needlessly high.
“At times,” says Dodd, “dispatchers lacked information they needed to be sure of getting the right person with the right skills to the right place with the right part. Field service often had to make numerous return trips. This only added to service costs that were already climbing as a percent of margin."
EMC’s service transformation vision called for global deployment of consistent field service management and service parts management systems across all geographies. Specifically they aimed to:
EMC could see that their legacy systems alone were not up to these service-centric demands.It would take solutions designed expressly for large-scale service operations, and EMC found just what they needed in PTC’s industry-leading SLM offerings.
“In late 2010,” says Dodd, “we put a Field Service Management and mobility pilot in place in our Northeast and Canada Field Service Areas. By late 2011, we had fully deployed the PTC platforms, fully enabling centralized dispatch and parts ordering."
EMC has melded the people and the processes – and, with PTC’s help, the technology – to increase service productivity. Per Dodd, “Scheduling and dispatch are now so tightly tied to mobile access and parts planning that we can truly optimize logistics. Skills-based routing gets the right resources with the right availability to the right locations."
"Scheduling and dispatch are now so tightly tied to mobile access and parts planning that we can truly optimize logistics."
The PTC solutions merge data from disparate systems. This gives EMC’s service managers and professionals a single source of truth for coordinating their activities.
The field service data coming from the mobility solution is highly granular,” says Dodd. “It gives very specific info on service parts and resource utilization, and it’s time-stamped for easier tracking of service tasks. We now have a rich source of service data consistently at our fingertips to mine for insights and improve our performance"
Centralized visibility into available resources and parts, combined with mobile access to SLM tools, has empowered EMC’s field technicians to take greater ownership of service responsibilities and outcomes. Dodd cites this example from parts administration:
“Debriefing on parts used to be much more complicated and time-consuming. After leaving the site of the service event, the technician would need to log into our case management system and enter serial numbers and parts usage information manually. Multiple parts debriefs were batched to remote resources for processing due to errors."
"Data is highly granular. It’s specific to service parts and resources, and it’s time-stamped for easy tracking of service tasks."
Dodd continues: “Now our field people can debrief parts data in real-time from their mobile devices at the same time they service our products. They enter information on parts used right at the point of service. Then it’s instantly relayed to corporate to enable improved failure analysis. This has not only simplified the debrief process, it has also improved the accuracy of data.”
By automating so much of EMC’s field service and parts management functions, SLM tools have freed the company’s service technicians from administrative overhead to make better use of their workdays.
“Before,” says Matson, “our service people were constantly getting interrupted on the job. They’d have to schedule the next service visit or place the next order for parts delivery. Now relieved of this, they can give all of their attention to the service tasks at hand.”
As for SLM’s payback in productivity gains, the success metrics have been eye-opening:
Cost savings are also impressive. Centralized planning and dispatch have made it easier to align the service window with part shipment and determine if necessary replacement parts are truly required on the same day. Since same-day shipping costs typically demand a 70% premium, this has saved EMC some $7 million annually.
Are EMC’s customers feeling the improvements as well? “Absolutely,” says Matson. "We’ve made a lot of progress toward this. Customer satisfaction, which had already reached 90%, has now increased to over 95%, and it continues to trend higher.”
"Now field people access parts data from anywhere they service our products. They enter information on parts failure right at the point of service."
Along the way to success, EMC’s service leaders have been gaining special insights into the whats, whys, and hows of service transformation. They advise other largescale service organizations to:
How can EMC’s customers expect to enjoy even better service in the future? Again, it’s the company’s “never rest” philosophy. EMC’s service transformation journey continues.
“Our top priority,” Dodd says, “is to deliver service proactively to our customers as effectively and efficiently as we deliver it reactively. We’re aiming to be able to optimize our planned preventative service with the same centralized and remote resources we use to optimize response to our customers’ immediate service needs every day.”
This, adds Dodd, will require technology supporting a blended workforce with more complex workflows, and that, he says, is why SLM technology’s role at EMC will only grow more relevant:
“We’ll rely on SLM to help pull detailed service transaction data and align our activities so our service managers and service technicians everywhere are working together for our customers as one.”