What to Expect From a Truly Effective Personal Service and Support Portal

By Dan Janka, President of Mazak Corp.

The goal of any online personal service and support portal is to enhance the customer experience and add value. Unfortunately, as many manufacturing equipment suppliers rush to jump on the me-too portal bandwagon, the results are often ill-equipped personal portals that, in the long run, fail to be truly useful.

When considering exactly what features, functions and capabilities a customer will find when they access a Mazak personal service and support portal, we took a page from Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and “began with the end in mind.” In doing so, we determined the answer was a complete machine maintenance database as well as functions that make for fast and accurate replacement parts ordering. It should also provide direct, real-time access to the OEM for a multitude of support benefits such as remote assistance and on-demand training options.

A machine maintenance database should include a complete list of all a shop’s machines with their individual serial numbers and complete service histories. This would include all service call information, such as the services that were performed, date of service and any parts that were replaced. Every request from a customer gets logged and contributes to building an ongoing historical database of all machines in the field.

When replacement parts are needed, shops should have the capability, through their personal portals, to display an image of the part along with its price, then easily place an order and have the part delivered the next day. This is especially true when a shop orders a replacement and they order the wrong one – and typically are unaware they’ve done so.

Thanks to a personal portal platform that allows a shop to pull up its specific machine model and serial number, an OEM like Mazak can cross reference the part number and ensure the correct replacement. Without a fully capable portal, shops can waste money as well as have a machine down for days or even weeks all due to misinformation.

When machine service is needed, an effective personal portal should allow shops to open a work order, receive an immediate response on time and availability of the next service technician or have tech support resolve the issue over the phone. Once an in-person service call is scheduled, shops must also have the ability to track and check on the status of an existing work order or when they should expect the arrival of a service technician.

For all these reasons and more, Mazak’s portal, which is coming soon, will serve as a perfect example of a truly effective personal service and support portal. In addition to those essentials, the portal will include features that help shops save even more time and money in terms of service and support. Two such features that will contribute to this are Remote Assist services/software and the Mazak Learning Management System.

With Remote Assist, shops can download a simple smartphone, tablet or web app that shortens the mean time to repair and reduces the costs associated with in-person field service calls. The app allows shops to literally show a service technician (located at one of Mazak’s Technology Centers, Technical Centers or at its Florence, Kentucky-based headquarters) exactly what the issue is with a machine. The technician can then interact with the shop’s connected devices to send specific work instructions and communicate with the shop, just like a face-to-face service call.

When machines need parts, customers can also use Remote Assist to identify the correct replacement so Mazak can ship it to a field service technician for direct installation. This process eliminates an in-person diagnostics visit before the parts order, saving an average of two days of downtime. In addition to combining diagnostics and part orders into a single virtual visit, Mazak's Remote Assist offers three-way connections that let service technicians collaborate on solutions with other experts.

To help customers thrive in competitive industries, Mazak's Learning Management System will enhance training and make essential courses accessible to shops at anytime, anywhere. The on-demand system will allow users to custom tailor training programs, select subject matter and schedule classes for times that suit their schedules, especially when in-person instruction becomes impossible or inconvenient.

The Mazak Learning Management System will offer online instruction and virtual experiences that provide all the engagement of in-person instruction with the same standards of results. It also enables Mazak to customize its course offerings and subject matter to meet customer requests and adapt classes to suit learning levels. This ensures that shops always have access to exactly the right classes that will empower their teams to do more.

The key to any good personal portal, one that can truly provide customer value, is that it enables seamless machine tool service and support. With Mazak, customers will get full functionality to save time and money, as opposed to just smoke and mirrors, as is often the case with other poorly equipped portals.

About Mazak Corporation

Mazak Corporation is a leader in the design and manufacture of productive machine tool solutions. Committed to being a partner to customers with innovative technology, its world-class facility in Florence, Kentucky produces over 70 models of turning centers, Multi-Tasking machines and vertical machining centers, including 5-axis models, Hybrid Additive processing machines and Swiss Turning Machines. Continuously investing in manufacturing technology allows the Mazak iSMART Factory™ to be the most advanced and efficient in the industry, providing high-quality and reliable products. Mazak maintains eight Technology Centers across North America to provide local hands-on applications, service and sales support to customers. For more information on Mazak's products and solutions, visit www.mazakusa.com or follow us on social media.