THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT :
VOH’S SWISS ARMY KNIFE

December 1, 2021

Out with the name “after-sales service” and in with a dedicated relationship with customers: the Customer Service Department. It aims to optimize the quality of VOH’s services by providing rapid, organized and efficient support to customers who require repairs, maintenance or training.
Set up in 2011 by Nathalie Mercier-Vaucher, now deputy director at VOH SA, the product returns management was a classic “after-sales service” intended for the repair and maintenance of products sold by VOH. As the company evolved, and more particularly as a result of its change of strategy, which now relies on its own production and its many innovations in order to stand out from the competition, the service was thoroughly restructured. It is now part of the Supply Chain department headed by Steve Ligier, the assembly and customer service sectors initially having been merged in order to achieve real synergies in the handling of product returns or customer training.

EFFICENTLY HANDLY THE RETURNS PROCESS

At present, Cristina Quiroga is in charge of receiving and administering customers’ service expectations. She is the first and most effective filter: one that allows a large part of VOH’s customers’ expectations to be met and considerably eases the workload of the technicians. “Often, these are questions that my technical training and experience allow me to answer adequately: whether it concerns software updates or device use cases,” she explains. In concrete terms, she is competent to guide users in the standard setting or use of the devices and to support the customer in most of the operations that he can perform himself; he will be guided by the know-how of our employee.

In addition, when a product is returned, Cristina may contact the customer to obtain useful information about the reasons for the return and she will follow up the administrative aspects of the intervention in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). If necessary, she assigns the various tasks to the customer support technicians: Vincent Nardella (technical manager of Customer Service and Assembly), Raphael Emery and Lionel Leblois (Assembly and Customer Service technicians). Depending on the workload of each, one of them analyzes the device and identifies the defect reported by its owner. Then, in a very traditional way, Cristina draws up and sends the estimate to the customer.

The challenge for the back-office employee is to plan and integrate the repairs into the classic production cycle. “For example, if the department is in a production cycle for forcemeters, we can integrate repairs for this range of devices. In fact, all the necessary tools are already out and ready,” she says. In addition, with experience, the Customer Service Department also has a strategic stock of recurring parts to reduce response times.

AN EXPANDED MISSION

When a new-generation device is returned, the Customer Service department works closely with the R&D department, headed by Bastien Paratte: “The customer may discover teething problems or bugs in the software,” explains Lionel Leblois. The engineers correct the problems, after which we take care of updating the product. Customer service and R&D also work closely together when it comes to adding specific features requested by the customer.

In the opinion of the entire team, thanks to the collaboration between the two departments, reinforced by the close proximity at VOH’s premises, the customer service employees acquire complementary skills that allow them greater autonomy when it comes to on-site interventions.

However, to reduce the missions of the Customer Service department to troubleshooting and maintenance would not do justice to the range of services offered by this department. In fact, Cristina Quiroga manages the schedule of technicians in order to send them to customers to carry out preventive maintenance or for training in the use of products and their maintenance.

Cristina Quiroga comes back to customer satisfaction: “In the act of ordering, the buyer is often not the user. That’s why we systematically offer a complete installation and demonstration of the device delivered. This creates a link, reassures the operator and answers any questions the VOH technician may have. Generally, contact is resumed with the user after two weeks to ensure that no questions remain unanswered.

A CUSTOMER-ORIENTED CORPORATE VALUE

The new structure has had a twofold effect: repair and downtime times have been significantly reduced and product traceability has been improved. “With our ERP, we have complete tracking of our equipment, from design to delivery, including all maintenance steps,” clarifies Lionel Leblois. “Even if it takes us some time, traceability is really an essential part of our strategy. It’ s through a complete understanding of customer feedback that two additional company values emerge: the continuous improvement of VOH product quality and the ongoing training of the company’s employees. “Everyone is liable for the device repaired and delivered to the customer. We are all aware of our responsibilities,” he adds.

Over the years, the Customer Service team has placed communication with customers at the top of the VOH value scale. “No matter how long a product is down, the most important thing is that the customer is regularly informed and that a solution is put in place if the period is too long,” explains Lionel Leblois. Cristina Quiroga confirms this statement, reminding us that in the event of a long wait, Customer Service has a range of products available for loan or rental. She adds: “Everything is organized to improve the efficiency of our services and to keep our customers as happy as possible.”

THE FUTUR IS ALL ABOUT REMOTE MAINTENANCE

With the launch of LINKiX, the smart production ecosystem developed by VOH, and the gradual integration of devices into this network, customer service interventions will take on a new dimension. On-board computing opens up new prospects, in particular with the possibility of developing remote troubleshooting and maintenance. Vincent Nardella: “Previously, the electronics were purely dedicated to our machines. From now on, our mission will expand with the possibility of intervening remotely on our products. Our department will acquire new skills, with the aim of achieving complete customer satisfaction. “