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One of the most important success factors to Smart Service is having your own organization understand and support the initiative.
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While working with market leading service organizations, the following  questions are most frequently asked.
Who should be thinking about Remote Services?

Any service organization that is responsible for keeping equipment, systems, and/or applications up and running for their customers.

Remote service should be explored if you are interested in increasing customer satisfaction, the level of intimacy you have with your customers, reducing service costs, and/or increasing service revenue.

Some things to think about are: Would the products we sell be better differentiated if remote service was a product feature? Would my customer see value in higher uptime? Do my customers spend a significant amount of money maintaining the systems themselves?

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What is the difference between remote support and remote service?

Remote support is about keeping the product running as advertized. It is a "tool" to supplant the break/fix model of supporting products in the field.

Remote service is about providing value-added services and being more solutions focused towards your customers. It goes beyond beyond break/fix and helps customers improve their operations - not just operating the equipment they purchased from you.

While implementing remote technologies is very similar for both remote support and remote service, implementing remote support programs versus remote service programs is the difference between a support tool and a value creation platform.

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What is the difference between remote service and Smart Service?

It is a level of maturity and depth of solution you are providing to your customers. You're "Smart" when you begin to leverage data from the installed base to drive decisions about your business. Your customers get "Smart" when they make decisions about their business based on the information and intelligence they receive from you.

Here is a brief example involving capacity planning. An equipment owner needs to make budget decisions on when to replace equipment, maintain it, and/or add more instances of it to keep up with demand. There have been cases where equipment was prematurely changed out to meet increasing demand (switching vendors mind you). Had the equipment and the environment where it was operating been properly optimized (goes beyond just running as advertized), the owner could have kept up with demand for at least a few more years with what he currently owned. Had the first vendor implemented a "Smart" capacity planning and optimization service - which is enable by remote monitoring technology - the customer would have been retained and the vendor would still be enjoying the annuity revenue stream from the service.

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What if our product is not equipped with remote service capability?

It is a common misconception that the equipment you are servicing must have remote service capability built in. This is far from the truth. There are remote service technology vendors that provide the means to remotely enable just about any intelligent product - and even dumb products.

Many companies we work with found this hard to believe. Their own product engineering group would say it is impossible and the service group would have their hands tied. That is, until it was demonstrated to them how remote technologies dropped right in and their product was now remote service enabled.

We can assess how "remote service ready" your product is and exactly what, if any, changes need to be made to meet your business goals. There are technologies on the market that make it much easier than you think. Keep an open mind until you properly assess your situation.

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How is remote service going to benefit my customers?

When done properly, remote service will provide your customers with:

  • Increased uptime and productivity of the products they purchased from you
  • Lower total cost of ownership of the products they purchased from you
  • Reduced operating costs through outsourcing a portion of their operations to you

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Who in our organization should own the Smart Services effort?

Many times, the service organization is the steward of remote services. However, in our experience, the most successful initiatives cross many departmental lines.

Marketing is vital to your remote service initiative because it requires a change in the way your customers view service. It also changes how your own organization thinks about your products and services. Product engineering plays a critical role to further extend necessary product capabilities. It is hard to have "Smart Services" without "Smart Products."

Therefore, when you bring it all together, many stakeholder groups are required to fully leverage the program. They are all equally important.

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What technologies are required for remote service?

A continuous, [near] real-time connection that your customers accept as secure and minimally burdensome is the starting point for Smart Service.

Once the communication pipeline is in place, you will need an event-driven management platform that can handle monitoring your customer population.

Depending on your specific initiative, you may need to integrate the event driven platform into your CRM system and/or your financial system. Therefore, the ability of that platform to conform to open integration standards is vital to automating your service initiative.

There may be an element of your service offering that gives your customer visibility into information that is derived from continuous monitoring. If this is the case, you will need a customer facing web portal that provides your customers a personalized view into this information.

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What are some examples of remote service and Smart Service offerings?

Here are some examples.

  • Remote monitoring and support
    • Proactive fault monitoring
    • Remote repair
    • Remote training
  • Productivity optimization services
    • Productivity monitoring and KPI dashboards
    • Quality control monitoring
    • Configuration and calibration services
  • Outsourcing services
    • Compliance management services
    • Vendor managed inventory of consumables
    • Condition based maintenance services

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Where should my organization start?

Determine where remote service sits on your priority list. To answer this question you should understand the opportunity Smart Service can provide your company as well as what others in your industry are doing with Smart Services. This is something we help companies quite often.

Once the opportunity is understood, you are then empowered to give Smart Service the proper attention it deserves.

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Have more questions? Submit them here!

Why SSI Partners?

SSI Partners, LLC is most experienced at creating service offerings that are valuable to your customers and your organization.

Our Experience

We have worked with market leading product service organizations in healthcare, life sciences, hi-tech, and industrial.

Our clients have received award recognition for their Smart Service programs.


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