The term "customer support" often conjures up connotations of "product problems" or "after-sales service". However, competent and trustworthy manufacturers in the infrared sector tend to define customer support as the ability to deliver technical assistance and guidance throughout the product lifecycle, from development through to implementation. Depending on their specific technical challenges, customers may require their supplier to assist their development teams or systems integrators at the front end of their project lifecycle or midway during the process.
As such, customer support is a resource that your company should leverage, because it can provide different ways of helping out during the development of your infrared products. In this article, we are going to see exactly how customer support teams can get involved in the process and the levels where they can deliver assistance.
By delivering a local and accurate technical support experience
Precision and technical expertise are key to developing an infrared product. That explains why it is vitally important to work with a skilled supplier. A supplier must be capable of offering support at every stage of the development cycle by providing the appropriate tools geared towards your needs, starting with specific technical documentation for each customer that has been uploaded to a secure online space featuring restricted access. Online spaces offer a secure way for sharing information and delivering personalized and accurate technical support.
Customer support teams also need to demonstrate high levels of availability while fostering dialog with your company to gain a clearer insight into your requirements.
When it comes to offering the most effective support for your product development needs, those teams obviously require technical skills and engineers with backgrounds in physics, optics, electronics, software development and, in case of cooled detectors, cryogenics.
But those engineers also need to be commercially astute or at least possess sound soft skills, since they often maintain a very close relationship with their customers in an effort to provide support every step of the way. That is why such relationships are focused on the long term.
Lastly, customer support teams need to be excellent educators if they want to effectively resolve any problems that might crop up while implementing the product.
By offering long-term support and guidance
Product development projects in the infrared sector tend to take an average of one to two years. Throughout this period, your supplier's customer support team must be committed to staying by your side and addressing any questions or problems that might arise during the various phases in the development process.
An effective customer support team should also be on hand to reassure and empower the customer in leading its technical innovation strategy. Once the product has been launched, they accompany the customer for approximately a year to share their advice and answer any technical questions about the detector's performance.
Customer support goes far beyond the product development process by helping improve the product's performance according to the specific needs of the target application. In this case, the aim is to provide personalized support at two different levels, i.e. specific to each customer and also specific to each application.
By providing high-quality bespoke training
A good customer support service will also be focused on training the customer to ensure maximum independence. That is why it is so important to give customers access to an exhaustive array of reliable resources in the form of documentation and also training courses.
For example, a supplier such as LYNRED, which specializes in manufacturing infrared detectors, organizes training sessions directly at its facilities to provide the perfect technical conditions for customers to test the product and its operating environment. Courses can also be held on the customer's premises if this delivery method seems easier and more appropriate.
LYNRED has also developed various basic training modules on the infrared technology and its new products (VGA and QVGA). These e-learning modules are available on its website for its mainstream products, and via the customer's personal space for specific products.
Technical customer support is clearly aimed at ramping up the product's performance for the target application. The customer support service should feature high on the priority list when choosing a provider. An effective support team can play an instrumental role in driving your company's success, especially when developing a new product in the infrared sector. Therefore, this aspect must be given due consideration even before you reach the contract stage and should be factored into the project development cycle.
To find out more about LYNRED, check out the main findings of the LYNRED customer satisfaction survey.