Illumination

Insights and trends on augmented reality and advanced manufacturing technology
17June2019

Manufacturing AR: A New Approach to Customer Success

Our company has long been at the forefront of the augmented reality revolution, designing, developing and deploying innovative augmented reality systems since 2005.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, our products, our services, and our customers. Our early years were focused on fine-tuning our patented manufacturing AR technology to help organizations simplify the complex manual tasks that are part of a company’s assembly, sequencing and training operations. Now we’re at a unique point in our own operational journey and are able to move beyond product development and focus on expanding our approach to customer success.

Customer success has always been, and will always be, our top priority. We’re committed to helping our customers get the most of out of our technology, and I’m excited to share we’re on the path toward formalizing an enterprise model of customer service—a testament of our company’s operational maturity in an emerging industry wherein other solutions providers continue to toil with product development.

A legacy of expertise

This is a relatively new tech space, and there are plenty of players trying to break through with technology that is not yet fully mature. At a time when many tech companies are trying to enter the market by retrofitting tools to function on factory floors, our manufacturing-first approach is apparent in everything we do.

We designed and developed our suite of solutions based on manufacturing realities. In fact, many members of our leadership and development teams came from manufacturing backgrounds and have extensive firsthand experience in production environments.

Our experience in navigating the complexities of an array of systems, operators and workflows enables us to approach augmented reality design and development from a practical and personal perspective. It also means our new customer support and success program will benefit from that same deep well of experience.

Our own observations and insights—established over a decade of developing augmented reality technology—are enhanced by real-world client feedback. The ongoing process of making increasingly powerful, accessible and dynamic enterprise AR solutions has fueled an extremely tight feedback loop that informs virtually everything we do. Our customer success ideas were forged in the same cauldron of insight and improvement that comes directly from our customers themselves.

The path that got us to where we are now

The challenges of servicing a relatively new and expanding industry demand a customer success program that is equal parts flexible and robust. Customer needs change faster in the AR space than in most industries. We could fine-tune a system to your specifications and deploy it in your factory, but in today’s rapidly evolving manufacturing landscape, that’s simply not enough.

We realize things change: new mandates, new tech, new challenges and new opportunities. Obstacles and glitches inevitably arise.

One of our main goals throughout this process has been to find a way to make sure our customers are self-sufficient. It’s an outcome that benefits both us and them. Self-sufficient customers can quickly and painlessly make changes, implement system updates, change processes, add new hardware, and countless other tasks. This is why we view proactive and preventative training as one of the key ingredients for customer success.

In other words: this isn’t just about how we can better assist our customers who have questions, but how we can equip them to answer those questions—and be better prepared to tackle new opportunities and challenges as they arise.

If a customer does need our support—whether through a phone call, a remote-in session, or an on-site trip, that support should be both accessible and timely, to ensure that needs are promptly addressed and potential costly delays are avoided. We’ve found that the best trained and the most engaged customers experience the most success—and the best ROI—from our AR technology.

Our approach to customer success

While there are many traditional approaches to providing service and support for manufacturing systems, software, and off-the-shelf hardware, we felt we needed to figure out the right method for us: a customer success solution aligned with our services, products and value proposition to customers. It also had to be flexible enough to handle everything from straightforward questions and complex troubleshooting, to additional training requests.

The new system we’re rolling out improves the quality, flexibility and speed of our service, enabling us to help customers get the most from our AR tech (especially after the initial installation is complete).

Our program includes Customer Success packages with different levels of service agreements. These packages are now available to all of our new and existing customers. The different service levels make it easier than ever to receive support or service on your Light Guide System.

Going forward

From our perspective, one of the most exciting aspects about our new program is the way that it positions OPS and its clients for the future. As we continue to grow and support a larger customer base, these service and support demands are only going to become more relevant.

We’re deploying new systems every week—both through new customers and through existing customers expanding their technological capabilities. It’s a genuine thrill for us to see those customers recognize and realize the full ROI that our systems and services provide, and this is the perfect way to help our expanding customer base not only be successful today, but to stay successful for many years to come.

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Mike Holcomb

Mike Holcomb

Mike Holcomb is the Service Manager and an Integration Engineer for OPS Solutions. Before coming to OPS, Mike ran his own Mobile Marine Repair Business, where he gathered extensive experience in customer service and business operations. With over 3 years of experience as an Integration Engineer, Mike has extensive knowledge of our products including installation, programming, diagnostics, and post installation service. As the Service Manager, Mike is responsible for coordinating and managing all service inquires and Success Packages accounts, as well as being available to customers for their service needs via phone call or on-site support.
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