20:20 Vision – One, the thoughts of Joanne Vinton-Bulwinkel
Welcome to 20:20 Vision, a series of articles in which PV & OCS invites the industry’s thought leaders to share their vision of the future.
It’s not as though we can take a break, put our feet up and tell ourselves that this crazy business we work in is going to settle down soon; that the advances in technology will somehow slow down to a more manageable pace…
The opposite, of course, is true. The pace of change is accelerating. Just a few years ago, vending machine operators had no choice other than to handle vast amounts of cash; their operatives worked on a wing and a prayer (their bosses could only guess where they were and what they were doing); stock went missing, money went missing…
The same business owners that somehow thrived in that environment now have an entirely different set of circumstances to deal with. Smart machines and advanced software are here and they give owners the ability to proactively manage their machines; they enable takings to be available in their bank accounts within 24 hours and this is accomplished with low transaction charges. On top of that, there are the benefits of encrypted and secure data management.
20:20 Vision – One ‘there are a whole new set of parameters to control.’
It means there are a whole new set of parameters to control. For instance, operational cost pressure is impacting on profitability and that requires operators to focus on efficiency as never before. What’s more, data and insight is driving planning and forecasting.
Earlier this year, we conducted a Customer Satisfaction Survey and the feedback we received from our customers became the foundation of a workshop held with the Vendman and Vianet support teams. The workshop helped us to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. Subsequently, we created a Service Charter, which was designed to ensure a better experience for all our customers. Additionally, it enabled us to identify some significant changes we needed to make to the way we work.
We began the process by creating a mission statement to reflect our renewed commitment to improving the service we offer our customers under the new ‘Vianet Smart Machines’ banner. Our commitment was to become a ‘customer focussed team; taking ownership, finding solutions and striving for excellence’.
20:20 Vision – One Next, we made some big changes to the way we work. The most significant of these was the introduction of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Help Desk system and the appointment of a new Customer Experience Manager. This allowed us to manage the work we do for our customers more effectively, because it enabled us to prioritise the things that are having the greatest impact on our customers’ businesses
Then, we introduced a dedicated Technical Support Team with the task of creating a website to offer field workers, operators and engineers immediate access to the information and tools they need to install our devices, along with some useful tips and tricks for when things go wrong. This web site is now live and it’s been hugely well received for its intuitive navigation and its clarity of purpose.
Now all that’s been accomplished – and, I might add, at breakneck speed – surely we can chill out, take stock and pat ourselves on the back? As I started this article, isn’t now the time to ‘take a break, put our feet up and tell ourselves that this crazy business we work in is going to settle down soon, that the advances in technology will somehow slow down to a manageable pace…’
The chance would be a fine thing.
That’s why my vision for 2020 is an ever-increasing focus on customer satisfaction. Without it, customers won’t be aided and abetted by advancing technology, they will be bewildered by it.
Joanne Vinton-Bullwinkel is Head Of Customer Experience at Vianet plc
What’s your 20:20 vision? To find out how to contribute to Planet Vending & OCS’ latest strand, please contact Yvonne Reynolds-Young:
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