How Volvo puts the Apple Watch at the center of its service vision

Volvo made a huge improvement in customer satisfaction after equipping its 1,500 service engineers with an Apple Watch for them to use during the day. On the face of it, what seems like a small change reflects a far-reaching cultural shift across the company, which is actively engaged in digital transformation across its entire business.

What can Apple Watch do for car maintenance?

Volvo has equipped its engineers (Personal Service Technicians) with an Apple Watch and an iPhone (running the Volvo Service app) to help them be more productive than before. The company’s main focus is on improving customer service, as the company recognizes that technicians are a customer’s primary point of contact throughout the lifecycle of the Volvo they drive.

So, how can an Apple Watch in the garage improve customer service?

  • When using, the engineer will receive an Alert when the customer arrives at the garage with their vehicle.
  • The meter will display the customer’s name, related notes and vehicle details.
  • During the repair process, engineers can access the information – and when the repair is complete, they can call the customer directly to notify them.
  • They can also schedule and make follow-up calls at a later time.

The benefit is that with all this information made available through the Watch (and the accompanying iPhone app), engineers don’t need to use printed logs or access a PC to stay up to date. Not only is that time-consuming, but learning how to use these systems also takes time. The company told me it took up to 6 months to train new recruits in 15 different IT systems Volvo had previously used.

Now, thanks to intelligent analysis and intelligent integration of legacy systems, what technicians need to know is always with them.

“With the Apple Watch, I have everything I need for my work right on my wrist,” said Johnnie Andersson, personal service technician at Volvo. It’s also way easier to train a new technician on Apple Watch and iPhone than on our desktop system.”

The result is that paperwork doesn’t go away, technicians/engineers can stay focused, essential customer contact records aren’t lost, and engineers stay purposeful and clear.

It all sounds very simple. It sounds simple. But it’s not that simple.

The app reflects the cultural shift within Volvo itself.

Simplicity by design

“Sometimes you try to do things in the easiest way, you get innovation out of it,” says Sanna Lindström, head of digital transformation at Volvo Car Sweden.

But making something simple out of something complex requires humble understanding. It does not mean endless committee meetings, but requires the company to move beyond traditional, decentralized management methods and engage with the real needs of the people at the customer point of contact. .

Some may reflect that the development of Volvo’s Apple Watch Service app began when the company introduced it Volvo Cars app for customersAllows the driver to open the doors, set the climate and start the vehicle.

To understand the importance of the transition, consider how the company performed on the project. It’s an approach that should form part of a blueprint for any company looking to digitize its own business.

The creation of the Volvo Service application

Volvo’s digital team is relatively small. I spoke with Lindström, Director of Digitalisation Markus Lundström, and Erik Bylund, head of technology and architecture to explore how they approached the project.

The first thing to understand is that the team worked in a scrum style. While they had some ideas regarding what they thought they were going to build, they also recognized the need to take the lead from the people doing the work.

While the aim is to strengthen customer relationships by helping technicians spend more time with customers than with PCs, the company understands that the people at the back end understand better than anyone what’s going on. request. “It’s important to address the problems they actually have, not the problems we think they have,” they said.

Volvo teams understand that relevance and context are essential for a successful digital practice.

To build a solution that technicians would use, the teams tracked what everyone actually did during the day, instead of serving the tasks they think or imagine technicians should do.

This is the correct approach. Everyone who’s ever started a digital transformation realizes that new digital processes that add complexity are not only counterproductive – they are also unused. “We chose to focus on the essentials,” explains Volvo.

‘Focus on real needs’

The team found that engineers wanted and needed contextual information. They don’t need to interrupt what they’re doing to access PCs, make prints, find customer contact details, or anything else.

In fact, the old way of doing things has really gotten in the way. Research shows that to do their jobs well, technicians need to be mobile 40% of the day, moving around in the workshop, talking to customers or visiting warehouses to buy parts. Return to PC for information about interrupted workflow.

Another temptation the team avoids is over-specification. It’s easy to imagine how useful an app could be if it had all the information it could, but even the act of going through too much information gets in the way.

That’s what Volvo found. It shows that engineers don’t want to be hampered by too much information – their working lives are busy enough already – they simply want access to what they need when they ask for it.

They need to know the car, the problem, and the customer. They need to know about how well the project got done, which client needs a follow-up call, and the vehicle they did belongs to the client. If they want more data, they can get it, but the essentials will become more useful over time.

Once they understood these needs, the team saw how the Apple Watch would provide a useful aid to the iPhone app, especially for people who use their hands for work. They found that the watch could provide technicians with the necessary information about context when needed.

In an age defined by portability, why should engineers scroll through their PCs to find the information they need? Why use paper when you can use the screen? Volvo has chosen Apple solutions for their advanced secure and stable application development environment.

The move to revamp 15 legacy systems with an accessible user interface also reflects the value of good digital change management. No company can expect good results if their system is unstable, slow, or difficult to use.

In the digital age, where we live like Jetsons at home and (in some cases) Flintstones at work, workflows that rely on multiple services and incompatible apps add to the difficulty, produces errors and rarely gives the results you need.

The User interface needs to be fit for purpose. Volvo’s team has found a way to make its application seamlessly integrate with multiple back-end IT systems. “Employees don’t have to suffer from latency. The Volvo Service app integrates seamlessly with our backend systems, to give our technicians the data they need in real time,” said Bylund.

The project brings many benefits

The project has been producing positive results. The company told me that 80% of technicians using the app increased their total customer satisfaction score. Volvo also cites a 30% increase in after-service follow-up calls and emails to customers, thanks to technology that pushes complex processes out of the way.

Digitalization director Markus Lundström said: “With the Volvo Service app, we are connecting people through technology. At one workshop, customers reported a 37% improvement in their access to a Personal Service Technician. ”

The company also reported a 40% drop in print sales. Volvo is also seeing technicians use their new kit to complete other tasks. “Some of our groups use Walkie-Talkie they say.

But the result is Volvo’s main goal: “The Volvo Services app is generating huge interest in Volvo Cars globally. With Apple Watch, our Personal Service Technicians are able to create stronger, closer relationships with customers. ”

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc. How Volvo puts the Apple Watch at the center of its service vision

Fry Electronics Team

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