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ServiceBench Holds User Conference

ServiceBench, the Web-based service-management subsidiary of NEW Customer Service Companies, drew service professionals from leading retailers and manufacturers for its two-day Service World 2008 Annual User Conference, held here last month at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

Attendees — representing such industries as consumer electronics, major appliances, PCs and food services — shared best practices and strategies for improving post-sale service, maximizing product performance and decreasing operational costs. Major topics included leveraging technology systems to deliver cost-effective fraud prevention and total service lifecycle solutions.

“Each year Service World brings together industry leaders in the delivery of service to talk about the future of the industry, share best practices and learn more about ServiceBench technology,” said COO John Estrada. “This year was no different and our teams walked away from the event with new ideas to advance our technology to better meet the needs of the industry, [while] our partners learned how ServiceBench technology solutions can help with many of the challenges they face today.”

Highlights included a presentation by NEW president/CEO Tony Nader on the role ServiceBench has played in providing solutions to manufacturers as well as his own organization, the latter by leveraging service expertise and technology to support NEW’s development of total product lifecycle solutions.

Break-out sessions focused on driving excellence throughout the post-sale service chain. Key trends that emerged from the discussions included:

future service-management needs, including system integration and technical standardization of claims and parts management, can increase visibility and provide data mining capabilities throughout the service organization;

• customer-loyalty benchmarking, provided through ServiceBench’s Net Promoter methodology, allows CE manufacturers to compare consumer survey results against others industry players as well as world-class organizations outside the CE business. Appliance manufacturers will also consider employing the scoring system, ServiceBench said;

• fraud-detection metrics and systems, such as those that help track returned parts, are a great asset in validating customer problems and detecting fraud as organizations are forced to do more with less personnel. Companies that implement fraud detection systems and programs report financial savings and a strong return on investment, ServiceBench said; and

• coverage periods for manufacturer warranties are growing shorter, while the product-repair service model is being replaced by exchange-type warranties. The move away from product repair, participants said, is due to a combination of a shrinking supply of repair vendors and increasing parts and labor costs.

Attendees appeared pleased with the event. “In a nutshell, Service World 2008 was awesome,” said Jenny House, a project manager with LG Electronics. “This single event educated me tremendously on all aspects of the service industry.”

Bill Allen, service operations manager for Viking Range, said, “Service World allowed me to interact with other key leaders in non-competing industries to exchange best practices in both systems and warranty/service operations. I found the experience instrumental in forming new progressions within Viking Range.”

ServiceBench, based in Fairfax, Va., designs applications that automates the service chain in areas such as claims processing, claims recovery, service call scheduling, field service monitoring, parts ordering, customer surveys, and fraud detection. Its on-demand system enables service transactions between manufacturers or retailers and their network of parts suppliers, distributors and service providers. For more information call (866) 6-SBENCH, ext. 6, or email [email protected].