Domino Printing Sciences (Domino) has expanded its ‘digital-first’ programme to extend customer support via remote services with a suite of new virtual customer service and support applications.
The new projects, including virtual product demo rooms, a laser sampling lab, and augmented reality support application, have provided accessible alternative options to face-to-face contact with customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The benefits of digitalisation have come to the forefront during COVID-19, with many companies embracing new technologies to keep things moving and Domino is no exception,” says Will Edwards, Director of Channels, Domino.
“Many of our ongoing digitalisation projects were completed ahead of time to help continue supporting customers. The last few months have therefore provided insight into how these types of services can provide additional benefits to customers going forward.”
Virtual product demonstrations
In the US, the Domino Digital Printing (DP) team has taken steps to keep connected with customers by providing virtual product demonstrations of the latest digital Printing Solutions. Virtual demonstrations take place live via Microsoft Teams and are fully personalised, offering the customer an experience comparable to attending a face-to-face demonstration.
“Before the pandemic, a significant part of our job was hosting customers’ visits to demonstrate our products – this part of the job has completely disappeared over the last year,” says Matt Stein, Digital Printing Demo Room Supervisor, Domino North America. “We already had plans to introduce virtual demonstrations as part of our offering to customers, but this was accelerated significantly by COVID-19 and the sudden need to adapt.”
Virtual product demonstrations are performed using the Domino Virtual Assistant – a combination of devices including main-view and hand-held cameras and a viewing screen that helps connect the presenter to the viewing audience and vice versa. The Virtual Assistant can toggle between views, zoom in on objects, and provide personalised animations, pop-ups, and additional information at a customer’s request.
The Coding & Marking (C&M) team in France has developed a similar system for demonstrating industrial printing products via Microsoft Teams. The newly unveiled C&M Demo Room is equipped with specialist webcams, a wireless microphone, and a laptop and viewing screen, which allow the presenter to interact directly with the customer.
Printers on show include an M230i-T6 labeller, D320i laser coder, Gx350i thermal Inkjet printer, and V230i thermal transfer overprinter. Demonstrations are bespoke and so can include printing of customer samples if requested.
“It was extremely rewarding to work together as a team to develop this new demo room and to begin offering the service to our customers,” says Thomas Candala, Project Pilot, Sales Support, Domino France. “It is evident that demand for this type of service will continue independent of the current pandemic situation. The feedback we have received from customers so far, in terms of additional benefits, including time and cost savings, has been overwhelmingly positive.”
At the Domino Laser Academy in Hamburg, Domino’s laser specialists scientifically analyse substrate samples to determine which of Domino’s extensive range of laser technologies is most suited to meet the customer’s specific requirements. The labs include every laser from Domino D-Series CO2 and F-Series fibre Laser portfolios, as well as state-of-the-art analytical equipment. This allows Domino’s experts to analyse customers’ samples before and after laser coding to ensure there is no damage to the substrate’s barrier qualities or structural integrity.
Before COVID-19, customers would attend the labs for an overview of Domino’s laser portfolio and conduct the sample testing in person together with Domino’s laser experts.
“The samples testing process is a key part in any customer journey, and so it’s important that we can provide the same experience, even when customers cannot attend the labs in person,” says Dr Stefan Stadler, Laser Academy Manager, Domino. “As such, we have developed a virtual experience to allow our customers to observe our scientific approach, expertise, and analytical equipment online from anywhere in the world.”
Customers are connected to the Laser Academy via Microsoft Teams, where they can view the sample testing process in real-time. A designated camera operative equipped with specialist audio-visual equipment takes the place of the customer to provide a live stream of the sample testing process. Sample test results are also displayed on-screen in real-time. Customers can communicate directly with the technician and camera operative via Bluetooth headsets and request to zoom or change the camera angle to provide a more thorough overview.
Augmented reality support
Customer service and support is another area where virtual services have come to the forefront in recent months. It is part of Domino’s ongoing commitment to helping customers keep their production lines up and running during the current crisis. Since the pandemic outbreak last year, many Domino offices have embraced virtual customer service support and installations to keep production lines running while ensuring worker safety.
In addition to this, Domino recently launched a new augmented reality support application, Domino Safeguard AR, which provides virtual customer support via a smartphone or tablet. Though already in development before COVID-19, the application launched early due to significant customer need and has been particularly useful in overcoming limitations to on-site visits by service engineers during the global lockdowns.
Customers use SafeGuard AR to show Domino support staff precisely what is occurring on their production line via a secure video link. The application can be used to zoom in on specific areas, pause live video, annotate, draw, and share notes on-screen. By sharing information in this way, support staff can identify the cause of line issues and, where practical, guide customers to implement simple fixes without requiring a site visit. The collaborative, visual nature of augmented reality has also proven valuable in supporting customers remotely during installations and delivering staff training.
“Augmented reality is a powerful tool in the field of service and support, as it allows customers to work with our experts to identify and fix problems with machinery as and when they arise,” says Saverio Barbero Lodigiani, Group Service Project Manager, Domino. “This type of remote support has been invaluable in the current climate – allowing our experts to remain connected with customers and provide technical support and guidance, ultimately helping to minimise production downtime.”
Looking to the future
Domino is committed to helping customers maximise and safeguard their production efficiency and recognises that there is significant customer value to be found in the continuation, and further development, of virtual customer services.
Virtual product demonstrations and samples testing, such as those currently underway in the US, France, and Germany, allow customers to save on time and travel costs. Virtual customer visits can also be extended to include many more people within an organisation, opening up opportunities for more extensive customer feedback from within all business areas.
“Customers who want to visit in person will, of course, have the opportunity once it is safe to do so,” says Stein. “However, we will also be able to extend the visits to broadcast to a much wider group of people. In the past, we may have been limited to the number of people we would be able to accommodate. Now we can broadcast to entire organisations – everyone, from the CEO, to the production operator, right down to the latest hire, can have the opportunity to attend.”
Equally, there is significant customer value to be found in virtual service and support, provided via video conferencing and the new augmented reality support application SafeGuard AR.
“Collaborating with customers via video conferencing and augmented reality provides service engineers with a much better understanding of a problem than afforded by traditional phone support,” says Lodigiani. “Customers can be guided to implement a fix themselves safely, or, in cases necessitating a site visit, an engineer can be dispatched with a more thorough understanding of the issue and all the materials to rectify the problem. This can help to increase first-time fix rate, and dramatically decrease case resolution time.”
If you would like to find out more about Domino’s service and support offerings, more information can be found here. You can also contact Domino directly for more information.