Companies for years have been dealing with an aging workforce, losing talent and know-how to retirement. Now the pandemic has accelerated this, in all industries, and at all levels. How do you replace the 20-year service or maintenance veterans and the know-how that is in their heads? Right now, your best techs are super busy supporting customers and newer techs. One of them calls you tomorrow and says they are suddenly retiring. How can you make up for their knowledge once they walk out the door?

The Boomer generation of workers didn’t job hop too much. One study says the average job tenure for Boomers is eight years. That’s a lot of time to build up expertise. On the other hand, the same study says Millennials’ average job tenure is 2.4 years. So, the Boomers are retiring, and it’s likely their replacements won’t stay around as long. What is your plan?

Due to the pandemic, end users of equipment are wanting to do more problem resolution themselves without having to rely on support and a potential site visit from an engineer. How can you upskill the users of your products so they can do this?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in solutions such as AR (augmented reality)/MR (mixed reality), remote service, etc. For remote service to work, you still need an expert on one end or the other. And it doesn’t upskill anyone.

AR/MR, knowledge bases, chatbots…None of these solutions improve skill levels. It’s like having someone drive you to an unfamiliar destination in a car. If you’re a passenger, how much do you remember afterwards about how to get to that destination? Research shows that humans forget 50% of what they learn within an hour.

What if you had a way to upskill your own techs as well as your customers, and enable them to retain and grow their new skill sets?

We are seeing great success with our customers OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) and manufacturing are using AI (artificial intelligence) to upskill their support and maintenance people so they can reliably perform more complex tasks. These companies are also upskilling their customers so they can do more self-service. AI can learn from the experts and that know-how can be made available through the web or an app for authorized users to successfully perform more complex tasks. As usage increases, more people add to the AI’s knowledge through field editing and enhancing the AI’s solutions. A tech in Atlanta teaches the AI a new fix, and the tech in Singapore instantly benefits. And all for the cost of less than half an FTE (full-time employee).

The benefits are valuable and innovative and can apply to service, maintenance, installations, calibrations, training, and others:

  • Enable your customers to resolve more issues themselves, improving customer productivity and loyalty;
  • Upskill your own techs so that they can perform tasks above their paygrade, and not always rely on the experts;
  • Capture unwritten knowledge gained over decades of experience. “The way to fix it isn’t in the manual;”
  • Shorten onboarding time for new hires, enabling them to produce revenue in weeks instead of months or longer;
  • Reduce the burden on your experts so that they can spend more of their time on the less common super complex issues;
  • Your experts may be your most important IP. Keep your IP for the long term.
  • Improve organizational learning so that all of your team can do their jobs better.

About the Author

David Bennett, is vice president of sales, RevTwo, he can be reached dave@revtwo.com