Posted on 11/06/2017 via BSH Home Appliances Group

Remote service for appliances – with remote diagnostics

Service technicians from BSH can now analyze and diagnose home appliances remotely – making on-site service calls often unnecessary. In the first part of our three-part Customer Service Focus Topic, Bernd Stitzl, Head of Customer Service Technology, and Yasmin Kilic, Home Connect Project Manager in Customer Service, explain how remote diagnostics works.

Home Connect, smart home, connected appliances and services – all buzzwords you can’t avoid these days. What role does customer service play in this context?

Bernd Stitzl: “When you ask customers what they expect from connected appliances, the issue of customer service is high up on the list. Home Connect appliances do indeed open up entirely new possibilities. When a service call comes in, technicians can directly link to the appliance online via remote diagnostics. That allows them to then pinpoint the problem quickly.”

How do consumers give the technician access – to their faulty oven, for instance?

Yasmin Kilic: “Consumers contact the call center and the technician asks for permission to set up a connection to the appliance. However, it’s absolutely necessary – for security reasons – for the consumer to be in the same WLAN as the Home Connect appliance. Consumers can then control the oven and give approval using their mobile phone or tablet while sitting comfortably on the couch.”

And what happens then?

Kilic: “Once technicians have connected up to the appliance, they can read its error code and check certain elements, for example. They might also ask the consumer to activate specific programs, such as the oven fan. Using the monitoring function on a screen, the customer service technician can then see whether the electronics assembly is properly activating the electrical and electronic elements in the appliance. Nevertheless, the technician is to a certain extent reliant on feedback. This means they will ask the consumer to check if the fan is actually rotating in order to exclude a mechanical problem.”

So how are repairs then carried out?

Stitzl: “On the basis of the error diagnosis, technicians may offer tips on what consumers themselves can do, for example, if the child-proof lock has been inadvertently activated or the filter has to be cleaned. Sometimes the problem can be solved by installing new software. Installing software updates or changing settings are some of things the remote technician will be able to do in the not-too-distant future. Of course, if a part needs to be replaced, this will still require an in-house visit from the technician. However, the quality of the mechanical components and hardware is improving all the time, and more and more electronic, software-controlled functions are used in home appliances, which means that the number of problems we can solve remotely will keep on increasing.”

Where do you already see benefits today for consumers through remote diagnostics?

Stitzl: “Consumers can reach a technician simply by contacting the call center during its normal opening times and don’t have to make a separate appointment. The technician can then examine the appliance right away via remote diagnostics. If, however, the technician still needs to come to the home, the analysis performed remotely helps ensure they bring the right spare parts with them. That saves time and money for the consumer and BSH.”

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