Uptime: How Customer Service Evolves with the Cobot Market
Your cobot has arrived, now what? As the number of collaborative robot users rapidly increases, new advanced application scenarios and customer types emerge. UR’s service and training offerings are constantly evolving to ensure that all customer needs and questions are met: from the tech savvy early adopter to the machine shop owner with no robotics experience. In this conversation with Chris Wilson and Hanne Dorte Hansen from Universal Robots’ global service team, we look at how data-driven insights from the world’s largest install base of cobots help maximize production uptime.
“How quickly we respond to an inquiry, offering advice and solutions to customers, is really critical and part of the quality journey. It is not just about the product.” Chris Wilson, UR’s VP of Global Service and Customer Experience, is responsible for assuring the UR cobots are up and running post-deployment with tools and processes in place not only to resolve issues but also to provide best practice recommendations. His team manages a service organization with hubs in Denmark, Detroit and Shanghai that now leverages new platforms to communicate with customers, ensuring fast responses and customer success.
myUR: Fast-Tracking Resolutions
As the active robot user group grew, the Service Team looked for innovative ways to enable customers and Distributors to reach out for help and support. In early 2020, an online portal, myUR, was launched, enabling distributors and end customers to register warranty cases, service requests and support inquiries. The portal also enables them to register their cobots’ serial numbers with UR, creating a whole new platform of communication and support. Since its initial launch, the accessibility and usability of myUR have evolved from a case management system into a forum where all stakeholders can engage and stay connected.
In his role at Universal Robots, Chris Wilson, VP of Global Service and Customer Experience, heads up a department responsible for assuring the UR cobots are up and running post-deployment
“This means improved customer service as we now have a platform that enables all relevant parties to quickly access important data which speeds up case resolution. Customers can upload log files, videos of issues, share information and engage in Q&A with their distributor and UR Tech Support to find the right resolution. All documents are stored in one place instead of having to rely on mails or untracked communication channels. We have a lot more information at our fingertips to quickly troubleshoot and resolve any issue,” says Wilson.
Based in Universal Robots’ headquarters in Odense, Denmark, Hanne Dorte Hansen, heads up the global team of service engineers that now connect with users through myUR.
Vast Improvement to Current Fleet Management Systems
Hanne Dorte Hansen, UR’s Head of Service Engineering, emphasizes how myUR has become an internal fleet management system for many customers. “When we developed this, we originally thought the case management system would be the main premise of myUR,” she says. “But we quickly found that customers really like the ability to register their robots and we have now developed fleet management capabilities alongside the original requirement of faster access to technical teams for case resolution; one place where their entire fleet is registered and information shared between colleagues, enabling fleet management on a level that might only be relevant to them internally. This is a vast improvement to current fleet management systems that even at the largest companies are often still handled through Excel sheets,” says Hansen, adding that UR’s sales partners are enthusiastic about myUR: “It’s important for us that distributors and Certified Systems Integrators are also part of the system and that they benefit from this powerful tool that enables them to access all info on their cobots sold by simply looking up the serial number.”
When a customer contacts UR with questions about their cobots, they are now encouraged to sign up for myUR as it has proven such a beneficial tool; Today, 85% of all cases today go through the myUR platform with a response time of nearly 80% within four hours across time zones globally.
“The speed in which we can get experts involved to solve a case makes all the difference, there’s a short line of command from the service teams receiving a case to the technical expert – either within the distribution network or within UR - assisting to find a resolution fast,” says Wilson.
Hanne Dorte Hansen emphasizes that myUR is not replacing the service that UR’s sales channel partners provide to end users, but “the platform that helps facilitate and triage, taking away the first questions that we can answer straight away,” she explains. “It is also an attempt to get knowledge directly from customers while monitoring how distributors troubleshoot and problem solve. Maybe one distributor found a good solution that we can use with other end users. This is really a win-win.”
A UR cobot comes with a standard warranty of 15 months.
Global Data Collection Enables Local Fixes
Universal Robots recently sold its 50,000th cobot. “Our market position gives us an unrivaled install base to monitor and learn from,” says Hansen, explaining how UR has standardized its case reporting system. “Data that we capture in all world regions is logged in the same detailed way, feeding into the same quality process,” she says. “This means we see global patterns emerge much faster, enabling us to pinpoint and catch any issues at an early stage.”
With customers assured of successful first implementation and application, UR also offers extended service packages that take into account different customer needs. “We have team of experts accessible, ensuring optimized operation, pre-empting any downtime offering preventative and remote checks, rapid-response visits, and training in collaboration with partners to create in-house experts,” explains Wilson.
Single Sign-On: Starting February 1, 2021, Universal Robots has simplified its log-in procedure, requiring only one log-in credential to access both myUR, Academy, Download and Support sites.
myUR allows manufacturers to manage their entire fleet through its platform.
myUR offers assistance with several different case types
myUR users can quickly access the case status on each robot
The First Aid Kit: Education and Training
He describes how the nature of service calls has changed over the years. “The inquiries that we receive now are more centered around the application the UR cobot is deployed in – and not so much about the cobot itself,” he says, giving an example: “It could be a vision camera that has issues in interfacing with the cobot. Very often it’s simply incorrect programming, so we always encourage more training and education,” he says highlighting the many new UR Academy and education offerings now launching. “The more knowledge customers have, the more they can self-heal. Education is the customer’s most important first aid kit.”