This week we feature an article by Hugues Meyrath who says that by integrating machine learning and AI capabilities into your processes, you can optimize the performance of your facilities and staff to drive a positive customer experience. He shares some examples of how this technology can be a difference-maker. Across industries, the collection, analysis, […]
This week we feature an article by Hugues Meyrath who says that by integrating machine learning and AI capabilities into your processes, you can optimize the performance of your facilities and staff to drive a positive customer experience. He shares some examples of how this technology can be a difference-maker.
Across industries, the collection, analysis, and refinement of data is the battleground businesses are competing in to differentiate themselves to customers. At the heart of this is the need to create better customer experiences and deliver new services. Infusion of new technologies is critical, and this is where machine learning and AI prove their value. This is demonstrated by the fact that almost half of the business executives that McKinsey surveyed reported that their companies have embedded at least one AI capability in their business already – e.g. customer service.
In fact, the applicability of AI and its subset, machine learning, is relevant across all facets of the business, including facility management. By integrating machine learning and AI capabilities into your processes, you can optimize the performance of your facilities and staff to drive a positive customer experience. Below, I dive into some examples of how this technology can be a difference-maker.
Understand Your Facilities Through Data Collection
Facility data is complex – it spans every location, asset, work order, invoice and contractor you’ve ever worked with. Collecting this data in large quantities can present more of a burden than a solution if you lack the necessary resources for combing through and creating actionable insights that pinpoint inefficiencies in your operations.
Adopting automation technology with machine learning and AI capabilities will improve how you manage your facilities at a high level. Integrating machine learning with FM automation enables “smart” self-monitoring technology that alerts operations teams to underperforming equipment that may negatively impact the customer experience.
For example, an AI-enabled HVAC unit can automatically optimize your store temperature so it’s always comfortable for customers. Most importantly, this ensures customers have a great shopping experience any time they visit. It also helps reduce the amount (and cost) of energy used better than manual temperature adjustments.
“Smart” technology can also provide actionable recommendations for addressing issues, and even schedule repairs automatically if set to do so. By integrating AI, you can ensure customers will have a positive experience by reducing downtime and swiftly resolving problems. The insights that stem from this data will help make every interaction a positive one.
Keep Your Employees Focused on What Matters
Managing a facility requires you to oversee both large and small projects. An automated system with machine learning capabilities can take certain projects off your plate. Take proposal review as an example of this in action:
When an FM receives a proposal from a contractor, machine learning can take over by analyzing the scope of work, proposed pricing, and the contractor’s history of performance. Once the proposal has been reviewed, you’ll know if it’s the right cost, and if the work will be done at the quality level and timeframe you need. Ultimately, this takes stress off of your staff to deal with more serious or pressing concerns, instead of manually reviewing RFPs across a multi-location enterprise.
Let’s look at how this applies to luxury retail stores. Customers expect the same caliber of the shopping experience, regardless of if they enter a Louis Vuitton in Los Angeles or New York City. If the spring product line is about to launch in-store, all locations need to have the right product displays and décor at the same time. With machine learning integrated into your processes, the team can take a pre-vetted list and confidently choose the right contractors, across all your locations, without wasting time that should be spent with customers.
Using Data to Predict Future Problems
We have covered AI-enabled data collection and how those insights can directly improve the customer experience, but there’s more to it than that. Through machine learning and predictive analytics, historical data can be leveraged to create comprehensive maintenance plans.
With the right insights, especially historical patterns and trends, you can take a smarter approach to maintaining key equipment long term (such as heating and refrigeration units). This will help avoid any critical problems with your HVAC when you need it most – no customer wants to step into a sweltering store on a hot day.
Of course, sometimes equipment just needs to be repaired or replaced. With historical data and information about the unit at your fingertips, you can quickly diagnose the issue and submit a work order or, if needed, order a new unit.
Using the insights to better understand how your facility operates and applying them directly to your operational strategy will help you save money, but it will also limit downtime and keep your customers happy, thus improving their experience holistically.
Putting the Pieces Together with Data Analysis and Automation
I’m excited to see where machine learning and AI will take facility management. At this point, it’s proven to be demonstrably valuable for improving the customer experience.
Mundane tasks get taken off your plate, and you can once again focus on the big picture. Whether improvements manifest themselves through providing your staff with more time to solve problems, or with how customers experience your facility while on-site, machine learning and AI capabilities will have a direct impact the quality of your customer interactions.
Hugues Meyrath, chief product officer at ServiceChannel, is responsible for driving and executing on the company’s product strategy and roadmap with an emphasis on enhancing and simplifying the user experience throughout the ServiceChannel software portfolio. His charter also includes fostering and driving key technology partnerships as a way to accelerate product innovation.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Five Overlooked Customer Service Tips That Will Ensure Repeat Business
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