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Pool professionals know solving their customers’ problems is part of how they continually deliver value, but there are always unexpected issues. These problems usually arise when a technician comes across an old, outdated piece of equipment they’ve never seen, tries to integrate a patchwork of components or has a customer who tried (unsuccessfully) to do it themselves and created a whole new issue.
When this happens, the pool professional knows that the best resolution is to contact the pool equipment manufacturer. In fact, a typical tech support team at a major manufacturer may handle hundreds of thousands of calls from pool professionals each year.
Luckily, manufacturers are continually investing in new technologies to answer these requests faster and more effectively, which saves pool professionals time and money. While pool professionals are highly trained problem solvers, tech support is an important backstop that helps pros confidently serve a broader client base. The quality of support a manufacturer provides is often an important factor in helping pool pros deliver the best possible customer experience.
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Tech support is constantly evolving to make the process faster and more streamlined. For example, calls for physical equipment issues and those related to wireless connectivity are routed differently to reduce the time it takes to get from the initial request to a resolution. For the major manufacturers, tech support representatives are trained on every piece of equipment and all potential issues so a pool professional doesn’t get transferred from one support representative to another. The end result is that wait times are reduced and resolutions to issues are delivered during first contact.
However, the structure and training of tech support representatives aren’t the only ways manufacturers are evolving in how they backup pool professionals. Innovations are being made in the technology used to communicate and deliver the support as well. These investments by manufacturers are resulting in bottom line dollar savings for pool professionals while also reducing frustration.
When it comes to resolving technical issues, the ability to communicate specifics surrounding the problem is critical to finding a resolution. Manufacturers want pros to feel like they are working side-by-side with tech support, in person, to minimize opportunities for miscommunication.
While pool professionals are experts and know common terminology for various equipment components, there are still opportunities for confusion. Sometimes the confusion comes from different nomenclature, and sometimes it stems from different styles of communication. Think about an electronic circuit board and how you’d explain precisely where each wire is connected. You might say, “third from the left,” but if there are multiple ports, there could be multiple “third from the left” connectors.
If you were there in person, you would simply show them exactly what to do. Luckily, there’s now live video technology that enables this exact kind of interaction. Live video helps tech support representatives troubleshoot a situation that might be hard to explain, such as connecting wires and electronic circuit boards. Live video can also create an opportunity for tech support to spot anything that looks out of place in a specific setup, even if it has nothing to do with the original purpose of the call.
This new live video technology allows for issues to be resolved quickly and efficiently. Rather than working through a list of potential issues until the right fix is found, pool pros can get the same sort of technical support they’d get from having a manufacturer field representative there to assist them — without having to wait for that person to drive to the site. Resolving issues in real time supports the pool pro in achieving their goal of delivering the best possible customer experience.
While live video adoption by pool professionals continues to grow, there are other methods in place that can improve the effectiveness of more traditional tech support experiences.
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To help tech support representatives feel like they’re in front of the pool pad with the pool pro, manufacturers have built out simulator rooms that have all of their most common pieces of pool equipment. The equipment is hooked up and functions as it would when installed on a pool site. This allows them to mimic a pool’s exact equipment setup and lets the technician mimic what the servicer is doing. Simulator rooms are used to replicate field issues so that the tech support representative can walk the pool pro through the resolution process while simultaneously doing it themselves. This ensures no steps are skipped and no time is wasted by having to backtrack.
Not only can infield issues be replicated, but tech support can also measure, weigh and take pictures of individual components, which can be helpful in some instances. All of the equipment can be taken apart, so tech support representatives can experience any challenges the pool pros are having while doing proper service and maintenance.
For web-based automation programming issues through an app, tech support can use advanced software that allows them to “mirror” what the pool professional is seeing on their screen, similar to screen sharing, except they do not take control of the screen. When providing support through this software system, tech support views the remote device screen in real-time, allowing them to guide the pool professional through the setup process on the app, or identify programming issues that commonly occur when the base level settings have been altered.
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The ability to replicate issues using real equipment and provide instant, hyper-targeted resolutions is priceless because it saves pool professionals time and helps avoid negative customer experiences.
Even the most experienced, knowledgeable and highly-trained pool professional will tell you that there are always times when tech support is needed. The help provided to them makes their lives easier and helps maintain the quality and approval ratings of their service. With all the major technological advances made to provide tech support to pool professionals over the last several years, now is a great time to look at the tech support provided by your manufacturer. Just as you continually evolve with the industry, you should make sure your manufacturer is doing the same.
Jill Rooks is the Director of Customer Experience at Zodiac Pool Systems.
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