This is the second half of Ferret's face to face with Rockwell Automation's Andy Pearson to discuss the industry, his role, and the future of automation.
To read the first half of this industry Q&A, click here.
Ferret: Biggest daily challenge?
Andy Pearson: The biggest challenge is keeping up with the technological changes in the industry. We have new products and services being released on a regular basis and we need to ensure our support team is up to date with the new technology and we continually update our competency.
Another challenge is balancing resources to match customer contact volume so that we have the bandwidth to cope with the level of calls and enquiries we receive. Our Technical Support Centre is managed to a set industry standard of KPIs around service levels and customer satisfaction. Each interaction we have with a customer generates a feedback survey, which helps us to monitor and manage customer satisfaction.
Ferret: Biggest career challenge?
Andy Pearson: The biggest challenge in my career was during the period I moved into more of a commercial role. I had always been involved on the technical side of the business as a project engineer or manager. Then during my time in Malaysia I was asked to run the solution business and I had to pick up the required commercial skills very quickly. It was a significant change from what was purely a technical and operational role to a business / commercial position. That is when you really need a great mentor and I was lucky enough to have one.
Ferret: What is your biggest frustration in your job?
Andy Pearson: Customer service is a priority for our group and having detailed customer case knowledge is an important step towards achieving this. We have implemented processes and templates to allow for consistency and ease of information sharing between the group and the biggest frustration is getting people to adhere to the templates and processes.
Different people have different ways of doing things and I’ve found that the key to maintaining detailed and accurate documentation is by helping them to
understand that getting it right early saves time down the track.
Ferret: What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
Andy Pearson: Establishing the concept of paid for technical support in Asia’s emerging markets. The customer buys a contract that gives them the ability to access real-time technical support of products supplied by Rockwell Automation. That concept is well established in what might be considered more mature markets in the South Pacific, North America and Europe.
When a customer is in trouble, and there is potential to lose significant revenue in lost production, to have an experienced global team available at any hour of the day, that you can reach in real time, in your local language is of great value to our customers.
Ferret: Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
Andy Pearson: We are working to expand our Asia Pacific service to include an application support service. When a customer calls and says they have a problem or query with a product we will support them by helping to rectify the issue. However, if we also know how the product has been applied then we are able to offer the next level of support.
To get to that next level, we endeavor to gain a greater understanding of the customer’s manufacturing process and how they have developed their application. We will spend time with the customer to transfer that knowledge of their system to our team. We also set up a dedicated group of engineers for the customer so that when the customer calls they are talking to a person who has in-depth knowledge of their system. We will also review the system and any support events with the customer at scheduled review meetings.