For the past two years, smartphones have been highly effective in enhancing productivity, boosting efficiencies and improving customer service at Bytes Document Solutions’ Xerox division. The business has garnered greater communication accuracy, efficiencies, improved productivity, general field service task efficiency improvements, reduced costs and better stock control.
More than 180 field service engineers carry HTC smartphones with specialised software that integrates and communicates directly with the control centre in Johannesburg.
“The fact that the engineers can now use the smartphones to receive data-based information, as opposed to voice calls, has resulted in a number of benefits,” says Kenny Jarosz, national technical support manager at Bytes Document Solutions, distributor of Xerox to 26 African countries.
The required information now comes through as digital data. “They receive correct addresses, correct part numbers and correct customer contact details so there are no problems. They also know exactly what the fault is and whether they have the stock on hand to resolve the problem for the customer so the response is far more rapid and effective.
“Because the field service engineers don’t have to make telephone contact with the control centre anymore, and the control centre staff are more available to tend to our customers’ needs.”
Above and beyond this, field service engineers can use their own resources to report to the control centre.
In addition, with tracking capabilities, the control centre is notified via the data link immediately as an engineer accepts a job, when he departs to attend the issue, when he arrives, when the problem is resolved and when he is available for the next job ticket. All of that information is then also available to customers for immediate query resolution.
“Prior to the use of the HTC smartphones there could be an extended gap between engineers communicating via landline to accept  a job and communicating that the job was then complete,” says Jarosz. “The immediacy of the smartphone-based system feeding information directly into the control centre is reassuring to customers.”
The smartphone-based system also manages engineer stock levels and automatically orders replenishment of mobile stock as parts are used in the field, which enhances supply chain efficiencies.
“An important component of our business is the billing tied into the machine metres on customer premises,” says Jarosz.
“Prior to the implementation of this system, any discrepancies would arise only after the billing was done, which led to a number of drawbacks. It upset customers and it impacted our revenue streams. Now discrepancies become immediately evident and rectification occurs right away while the engineer is still in the field, at the device, and the customers are now happier and the billing stream is uninterrupted.
“This system has been proven over the past two years and our customers have enjoyed better service as a result, which is the ultimate goal of any technology. The great benefit of mobile technology like this is that it is relatively low-cost because it is widely used, and it has for some time benefited our business,” concludes Jarosz.