The pressure on OEMs and their service teams to be more responsive to end-users has risen considerably. Medical technology and industrial automation organizations aren’t used to seeing SLA response time as a pain point because many have grown accustomed to average SLA performance. More recently, however, we are seeing that the market has shifted amid new pressure to improve responsiveness for mission-critical applications, and OEMs have begun to view excellent SLA response as a strategic competitive advantage.
The pandemic has only exacerbated and shone light on response time challenges that have often translated into lower or declining customer satisfaction ratings that can ultimately mean customer defection. Over the past few months, we’ve seen that OEM field service teams face travel restrictions and delays, hindering their ability to go to end-user sites to do their work. In many cases, we’re also hearing of organizations’ average SLA response windows growing from 2-3 days to 5-7. As response times have grown longer, mission-critical service needs have taken precedence – which has resulted in a growing backlog of service projects. Some organizations may now be months behind on their end-users’ non-essential service work, including their contractually obligated preventative maintenance. Of course, that’s all work that must be made up, or other breakdowns and tickets will ensue. As the piles of broken equipment keep getting bigger, the resultant resource drain that traditional OEM service departments experience is causing customer satisfaction ratings to drop throughout the industry.