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May 15

Unlikely Industry Embraces Technology – QR Codes for Customer Service

With more than 80 million smartphone subscribers currently in the U.S., more and more companies are recognizing this as significant where doing business is concerned.  One business in Houston, TX has embraced technology and has figured out a way to use it to improve customer service.

CRT Industrial Equipment, Inc. is a distributor for industrial sweepers and scrubbers.  Not only do they sell equipment for two major manufacturers… Advance and Factory Cat, they also rent, service, and repair equipment for all manufacturer makes and models.  So when CRTIE President Tim Wells approached me with an idea for using QR Codes, it didn’t take me long to realize that it was a brilliant idea.  That’s when the fun started.

The idea was simple.  CRT Industrial Equipment, Inc. wanted to be more proactive in making equipment information available to those who purchase, own and operate industrial sweepers and scrubbers.  Could QR Codes be the solution?

To understand the significance of this idea, one must understand a little about the industrial sweeper and scrubber industry.  Industrial sweepers and scrubbers range in price from $6000 to $100,000.  Most pieces of equipment come with a variety of options that can make each one unique to the customer who has purchased it.  They’re often used by a variety of operators in environments that take them away from the main office or shop where the owners manuals, operator manuals, parts manuals, etc… are filed away, stored, and often forgotten about.  Like any machine or piece of equipment, they’re not immune to “acting up”, breaking down, and needing service.  They have a common list of what’s referred to as “wear items” that need to be replaced such as brushes, brooms, squeegees, etc…  How could CRTIE, Inc make this information more readily available?  QR Codes were the perfect solution.

How does it work?  A “Mobile Website” was created for each individual piece of equipment.  These sites are personalized for each customer to include information specific to the machine(s) they’ve purchased.  A unique QR Code is generated for each piece of equipment and is placed in an area where the operator or anyone else can easily have access to it.  Scanning a code takes less than 10 seconds.

  • Machine starts acting up? Scan the code and review the “Maintenance Manual”.
  • New Operator? Scan the code and review the “Operator’s Manual”.
  • Want to extend the life of the machine? Scan the code and review the “Pre and Post Operator’s Checklist”.
  • Machine breaks down on the 5th level of the parking structure? Scan the code and immediately request a service call.
  • Need to order replacement parts? Scan the code and immediately place your order.
  • Need to ask the service tech a question? Scan the code and immediately call CRTIE.

Try it using the photo below.  This is one of CRTIE’s “Demo” machines.  The code in this photo works on most desktop monitors and laptop screens.  Or… if you’re reading this on a mobile device… click the picture and it will take you there.

Not only is CRTIE, Inc. using these codes on new equipment, but they also use them on equipment they’ve been contracted to repair and service.

Future applications will include the ability for a CRTIE, Inc. service tech to scan the code and have immediate access to the history of the machine.  Because the tech may not be the same one who serviced the machine the last time, a simple scan of the code will immediately bring the new service tech up to speed on any service call info, parts replacements, and more.

Customer service is still one of the most critical aspects of successful business.   Using technology to help with… (note… I said “HELP WITH”… not “REPLACE”)  customer communication and service is key as technology continues to evolve and change the scope of how business is done.  CRT Industrial Equipment, Inc. has found a way to use technology to speed up their internal process, provide a more efficient method of communication with their customer and easily deal with the day to day inconveniences associated with the industrial sweeper and scrubber industry.

There will always be a debate where the use of QR Codes are concerned.  Will they stay?  Will they go?  Are they a fad?  Should I be using them in MY business?  Smartphone use is only going to increase… soon to replace the traditional computer in daily use.

QR Codes are not going away any time soon.  To use them effectively you need to think outside the box.  Stop using them on websites.  Stop using them because you think they’re “cool” and because everyone else is using them.  Stop thinking that they’re just for “promotional” use.  I wrote an article earlier in the year on “QR Code Do’s and Don’ts” which I’m sure you’ll find interesting.

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