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Editorials

Building a customer success organization for a new era of industrial automation

by Jean-Marc Naud, VP Customer Success
Vention

Building a customer success organization for a new era of industrial automation

Originally posted on vention.io 

For a long-time, companies developing robotics and industrial automation technologies relied on their distributors and integrators for customer support. In some cases, support resources (i.e., user manuals, maintenance manuals, and demo programs) were even gated on the OEM’s websites. These tactics, carried over from a more traditional era, made the post sales experience centered on the OEM, not the clients. The democratization of industrial automation technologies and the emergence of manufacturing automation platforms (MAP) are changing client expectations of customer service. As a result, some organizations within the automation industry are moving forward with a completely new approach.

Clients’ shifting expectations

A new type of user is entering the industrial automation space, and they have grown accustomed to the flexibility of modular solutions, simplicity of code-free programming, and convenience of e-commerce transactions. Beyond ease of use, these next-generation customers expect the same support from their enterprise vendor as they would from any direct-to-end user company. If not more. Success for this new generation of customers means designing and deploying industrial automation technologies on their own. They want to become experts with the emerging industrial technologies, and expect their vendors to be by their-side, not just to make the project successful today but also to ensure they acquire the skills to succeed tomorrow.

Customer success replacing technical support

These new customers force the traditional technical support organizations to expand their mission beyond service ticket management. Taking a holistic approach to the pre and post-sales user experience, customer success organizations ensure that clients can be successful with their automated equipment project and have a pleasant experience every step of the way.

This starts with intuitive and self-discoverable products that don't force the end-user to open-up the user manual. Because of their active role in post-sales support, customer success organizations tend to become a proxy for the voice-of-customer. They are aware of edge use-cases, complex user interfaces, and missing documentation, and consequently can provide invaluable feedback to the product team.

Customer success also has the mission of user education. From product tutorials, to how-to-guides, and the community forum, clients must have the confidence that support assets are readily available on their topic of interest. Creating and maintaining up-to-date support assets is no small task, but with a close relationship to the customer the organization can more effectively manage the clients support infrastructure.

Lastly, customer success must provide responsive and effective client support. From easily retrieving the client’s project data (when granted authorization by the client), to having the ability to remotely connect to the client’s equipment to diagnose issues or showcase software functionalities, to having an infrastructure that can reproduce the clients setup, the primary mission of the customer success organization is to ensure that equipment in the field is operating at its best.

Needless to say, the mandate for the customer success organization is broad (i.e., product, user education, and client support), but it is mission-focused: make every user successful from the beginning to the end of their project.

Customer success’s roadmap for the manufacturing automation platform

The manufacturing automation platform (MAP), bringing modular automation components into a cloud-based design software, enables a portfolio of next-generation assistive features along the design-to-deployment cycle. It’s no surprise that the customer success organization is the natural sponsor for several of these features.

At Vention, some features are tablestake like our resource library hosting guides, tutorials and webinars, or our community forum , empowering the Vention community to share best practises and power-user tips. Others are intended to provide a more human experience like complementary design review services directly accessible inside MachineBuilder. Lastly, tech-enabled product features like automatically generated assembly drawings and design validation checker take customer success one step further, not only providing a seamless experience, but also directly creating value for end-users by shrinking project time.

Vention’s manufacturing automation platform (MAP) lets users go from an idea to a deployed machine in a fraction of the time and cost it would traditionally take.

Here are some of the ways Vention supports customer success:

Vention’s customer success team works cross-functionally to integrate important performance metrics and customer feedback into product development. They are a driving force in creating products that empower the next generation of industrial automation users.

Curious how Vention’s customer success team can support your next industrial automation project? Have feedback on a recent experience? Reach out today at info@vention.io. 

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