STM Australia

 

MANAGING TECHNICAL INQUIRES AND PRODUCT TRAINING

 

 

 

 

STM Australia is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of fluid transfer equipment. STM Australia’s head office is located in Melbourne with branches in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The company has a long history beginning in 1952 when they manufactured their original products such as Tom Thumb Pump and Gear Oil Pump. The company endeavors to become a leader in the market through implementation of modern solutions in the conservative industry.

During my time here, I was developing a possible solution to improve product training and management of customer support.

Problems

  • Most often, printed manuals are not kept by the user or are lost along the way.
  • Not reliable and not standard user manuals provided by supplier.
  • When user do not fully understand how to operate a product or how to troubleshoot, products are misused and warranty can’t be claimed, causing customer dissatisfaction.
  • It is labour intensive and cost-centric if printed user manuals need to be placed in each product packaging.
  • When distributors do not understand STM Australia’s product very well, they can’t sell it as much as they should be.
  • STM Australia is not in the position to hire a dedicated support centre person.

Pain Points

  • Salespeople double up as support team when customer needs to ask questions around the products. Causing their work to be differed to support rather than making sales.
  • It is labour intensive, time consuming and cost-centric when salespeople have to conduct product training session at every distributors. Especially because the distributors are spread around the country and some are located in rural areas.
  • When end users get the product, they want to be able to use it straightaway. They want a quick and easy onboarding process.
  • When users have issues with the product, they are not sure who to ask.

Research Result

  • There are over 200 active distributors (in various company sizes) around Australia who never really had a proper product training on STM Australia’s product.
  • More than 20% of a salesperson’s time is distracted to deal with customer support.
  • Result from a survey conducted to one of the main distributors is 38% of the stores saying that product training session is the preferred way to support them in selling STM Australia’s products.
  • Salespeople have to travel (sometimes to rural areas) to conduct product training session, buy customer some food and drink, usually hand them some souvenirs, which end up being cost-labour intensive.

Salespeople are distracted with support role, rather than focusing to make sales. 

Personas

For this project, I built a persona of a generic customer that STM Australia would have. Someone in his 30s with a job as car mechanic, who live in Melbourne’s South East. Although he is not the most tech-savvy person, he embraces technology especially those which will help him with his work.

 

Service Blueprint

This blueprint is visualised to show the company’s effort and actions that need to be taken when facing with a customer who has problems in operating the product. Through this exercise, I was able to clarify these points:

  • Most of the time, customer would not know who to ask or where to look for answer when they encounter a problem in operating the product.
  • Customer wants to be able to use their product right away. A long and complicated process in troubleshooting their problem will cause a decline in customer satisfaction.
  • A lot of effort is made internally within the company to solve a customer’s problem. Most of the time this is because the technical knowledge is kept within certain individuals in the company, and has not been transferred or documented properly.
  • This kind of issues will bottleneck to 1-2 individuals in the company, deterring them from doing their original job.

Technical knowledge is not transferred and not well documented.

Project Progress

The project is currently still in Research progress, in which I and the management try to understand deeper to improve this process and applying change management. Especially because STM Australia is not a large scale company, the solutions out of this project should be something that is feasible in terms of budget, time frame and man power.

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