For more than 80 years, A. O. Smith has been a leading global innovator of water heating solutions.
Our commitment to our customers is at the heart of every product innovation. Over the last few years, we have focused our investments on resources and technology that equip professionals to be comfortable and confident when they’re installing and servicing our products. As we consider our greatest assets, we’re finding ways to simplify and transform on-the-job support to increase accuracy and efficiency. Our product QR codes, virtual customer service options and in-the-field resources are some of the most recent ways we’re prioritizing support so our wholesale partners can better provide for their customers.
SOLUTIONS AT THE SOURCE
A. O. Smith recently launched a new digital service and support program for all its products to provide a more seamless, centralized customer experience. A QR code, placed on the rating plate of every unit coming off the production line, is designed to streamline and improve the customer service experience. When a contractor scans the code on the unit they’re servicing, they have immediate access to the user manual, warranty information and relevant support materials for that specific unit. We currently have millions of units installed in the field that have this QR code functionality already available.
Should they need help beyond the immediate resources available, the contractor can answer some preliminary questions through the digital service that is automatically logged into a new customer service case specific to the unit. They can then call A. O. Smith customer service and provide a representative with their existing case number, streamlining the service call and decreasing call time.
This initiative was introduced as part of an ongoing effort to provide best-in-class customer service – before, during and after the sale. We know that time is a valuable resource for professionals, and we want to respect that by creating a more efficient service experience for our wholesalers’ customers.
FACE-TO-FACE CUSTOMER SERVICE, EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T BE
We’re also focused on finding ways to overcome common challenges such as troubleshooting over the phone, especially when it may be more challenging for the customer service agent who can’t see the issue. Enter the Virtual Remote Assistant or VRA.
Now, when a contractor calls A. O. Smith customer service, the representative can text the professional a link for a virtual call. The link allows access to the contractor’s smart phone camera so the representative can visually troubleshoot in real time with the professional. This solution speeds up the communication process as the customer service tech is able to see what’s happening on site. So far, VRA is being used for A. O. Smith’s more technologically sophisticated products, including commercial, gas tankless and some residential, but will eventually be implemented across our full portfolio.
This service simultaneously promotes call efficiency and accuracy. Calls are recorded and put into the contractor’s case file, so if they call back about the same issues and another customer service representative answers, the contractor’s case history will be on hand for easy reference.
A. O. Smith also is focused on providing an improved, centralized hub of information on our website —www.hotwater.com — so much so that we’ve recently overhauled our site. The new site prioritizes customer needs and easy access to information on the go through improved navigation and a mobile-friendly site.
It features a user experience-focused design built to connect each visitor with the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. For example, when a wholesaler visits the site and clicks through to the wholesaler landing page, the information presented will be organized in order of importance. The same will be true for builders, contractors, engineers and other professional audiences.
We also continue to invest in support for our customers to make data more consistent and accurate. When data is changed or updated, the website will automatically update that information everywhere it’s found on the site — ensuring users have the most current information available across the platform.
The relationships A. O. Smith has built with the plumbing industry over the past 80 years, including our long-standing partnership with the American Supply Association, are integral to our success as a company. Products and resources continue to evolve over time, but our commitment to providing a best-in-class customer experience remains steadfast.
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