At A. O. Smith, innovation is part of our DNA. Whether pioneering new technologies with a focus on the future or reengineering products in our portfolio to address current needs, providing effective solutions to real-world issues is inherent in everything we do.
Last year, unprecedented disruptions to the supply chain wreaked havoc on industries across the globe. Despite these challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing customers with essential water heating products, reliable customer service and advanced technologies and training to help make our products even more relevant in today’s world.
With a focus on sustainability, efficiency and connectivity, our team continues to push the envelope on product innovation, incorporating new IoT technology to optimize overall performance and efficiency and extend product lifecycles.
Modernized virtual learning
Recent years have brought a tremendous change in training resources like A. O. Smith University. Thanks to connectivity software, A. O. Smith has been able to continue training through virtual classes, reaching more than 100,000 participants in the last year.
The A. O. Smith University class schedule is flexible month-to-month, and sessions are offered on a variety of topics, including residential, commercial, tankless and heat pump water heaters.
A. O. Smith has a state-of-the-art broadcast studio located in Ashland City, Tennessee that allows instructors to provide real-time, full-scope demonstrations on a range of A. O. Smith products.
For contractors and technicians who are unable to attend extended training sessions, A. O. Smith is also providing shorter-form resources, including its new monthly virtual live show, “In Our Element.” Each episode runs roughly 30 minutes and features a variety of guest stars and topics, including industry news, product launches, resources and more.
As part of our efforts to make our customers’ lives easier, we’re developing new customer service features utilizing QR code technology. Each product will feature a code that customers can scan, which will lead them to specific FAQs, product registration, videos and quick tips to self-service simple errors, and even help them locate the nearest qualified technician. By putting these tools and resources at their fingertips, we’re hoping this helps simplify the service process and give the user more control.
A full-service approach
As a result of fewer face-to-face interactions with customers throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to examine the best ways to support our customers virtually. Early in the pandemic, we identified a need for better technology in our call center to improve our interactions with customers. We introduced new technology that connects into our current phone system and analyzes our incoming calls. It assists A. O. Smith in improving the quality of our customer service calls as we’re able to learn how to better address our customers’ needs.
A. O. Smith has also implemented new training technology for our employees that teaches them the best way to go through the various steps of a customer service call. When a customer calls, they are sent directly to the customer service agent with the most experience in handling a specific issue. This process decreases call time and provides a more valuable customer service experience.
We’re also working on meeting the needs of our tech-savvy channel partners. To do that, A. O. Smith is implementing additional video and augmented reality (AR) customer service options. Troubleshooting videos are already available for those who would prefer to learn through a virtual format rather than calling our customer service number with questions.
Meanwhile, we’re working with AR technology that will allow a customer to connect with a customer service agent through video so the agent can get a full 360-degree view of the water heater, provide immediate troubleshooting, and potentially decrease the number of service calls needed.
Like the American Supply Association, A. O. Smith continues to evolve to meet and exceed ever-changing conditions through the thoughtful application of innovation, creativity and problem-solving to help provide customers with the products and service they’ve come to expect.