The overriding goal for any fabricator or manufacturer is to have consistently high productivity on their shop floor. Achieving it involves quite a few variables, but no matter the size of the company or the industries it serves, good staffing tops the list.
Just as important as staffing, however, is the need for modern, effective equipment, and the service and support required to keep that equipment running and in good condition. When equipment is down, there’s not much that even the most dedicated, experienced staff can do.
Understanding this, Mazak Optonics Corp. developed its Orange Support app, which allows customers to submit and track their service requests, upload media and livestream support, access service history reports and machine warranty information, and view on-demand videos and other training resources.
To learn more, Shop Floor Lasers spoke with Luke Surratt, general manager of customer service at Mazak. During the conversation, he discussed the app’s origins, features and how it helps customers achieve their highproductivity goals.
First and foremost, we’d like to introduce you to our readers. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m the general manager of customer service, which means I’m responsible for managing all aspects of customer support, service and installations. To achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction, I focus on developing our customer service strategy and managing the overall performance of people and processes here at Mazak. I’ve been with the company since 2002, growing with it through many different roles, starting as a service engineer, progressing to the training supervisor, advancing to the installations manager and now, filling the role of general manager of customer service. It’s been a great experience.
Describe the Orange Support app and what inspired its development.
The Orange Support app was started by my predecessor as a tool for our service techs. Over the last two and a half years, I’ve worked with a team at Mazak to transition it into a customerfacing tool to achieve a better overall service and support to our customers.
In a nutshell, it’s a tool that simplifies and streamlines customer support. In addition to simplifying typical service needs, such as submitting a service request or even livestreaming a service call, users can also access machine info and specs, open and closed support tickets, as well as warranty info.
To get started, it’s incredibly easy to install and it’s very similar in use to most other common apps. It installs just like any other Android or Apple app, and the only thing we need is an additional registration that must be filled out to link the customer account with the individual registering the app.
And it’s free. There’s no cost for our customers to use it.
Submitting and tracking service requests via the app sounds pretty straightforward. Are there any hidden benefits to being able to track service requests?
One advantage that is more beneficial than expected is that the user has their historical service reports at their fingertips. We get multiple requests per day from our customers asking us to provide them with their past service history for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they misplaced their files or there was a shift in their workforce. Whatever the case, customers can now access all of that historical data through the app.
Can you provide an example of what “media” a customer would upload and how that would facilitate their service or support requests?
A majority of our customers upload the alarm messages they’re currently getting on the machine. Also, a lot of customers upload a photo of something that happened with their equipment, following it up with questions about the best way to recover. There are so many instances where we receive a picture that fully paints the story of what is happening or what previously happened on their shop floor. That’s when a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Without that option, it could take 30 min. or more for a customer to try to explain what they’re seeing or experiencing to our support team. And even then, it’s sometimes still questionable if we fully understand what they tried to explain to us. In so many cases, a simple picture eliminates that hurdle.
How does the ability to livestream a support call speed up the process of troubleshooting?
If a customer is asking general questions or wants to confirm a part number to order, we probably wouldn’t need to initiate a livestream session, but when there are issues and troubleshooting is required, livestreaming has become the norm. And, once a customer has livestreamed, it’s pretty typical for them to ask us to go to livestream the next time we communicate. It just makes the process of troubleshooting much easier for them. Our team prefers to livestream as much as possible. Understandably, it’s easier for all when we can see what the customer sees.
What type of training can customers access on the app?
Can they use those resources to troubleshoot or remedy an issue on their own without needing to request support from Mazak?
The media section has tons of helpful videos for some of the most common problems our customers contact us with. In many cases, the videos can help them answer their own questions or solve the problems they’re encountering without ever having to take the time to contact us. It’s so much more efficient for customers, and it’s still a great tool for Mazak internally – that’s what I consider a classic win-win.