Rational has been presented the German Customer Service Association (KVD) the Service Management Prize 2020.
The cooking equipment manufacturer was rewarded for quickly developing a virtual online training program for the company’s service partners around the world when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, to ensure that they were both safely socially distanced and had all the knowledge they needed to look after their customers.
Rational had to not only develop an entirely new training program, which could be delivered by its subsidiaries around the world to 8,000 service technicians, but also one that covered two new products, in the shape of the iCombi Pro combi steamer and the iVario multifunctional cooking system.
The Service Management Prize called for ideas that underline inventiveness in the face of the pandemic, and the jury and voters were won over by Rational’s international digital strategy for training service partners.
Hans-Werner Albrecht is MD of Rational’s technical services division at the company’s head office in Landsberg, Germany. He said: “The sudden imposition of travel restrictions in March meant our international service partners’ engineers and technicians, who normally receive live training in our centres around the world, suddenly had to be trained online. The aim was to offer them the same experience, the same lessons learned, as in hands-on training. Most of the participants were in their homes and had not even seen the new Rational cooking systems.”
The teams in Landsberg set up web cameras, on cooking systems and components, as expert trainers, supported by special software, guided engineers through the program. During the training, the new cooking systems were animated in 3D and realistically presented in high resolution detail. In addition to the trainer’s explanations, the participants were able to call up support information about the cooking systems, such as circuit diagrams, via interactive links.
Albrecht praised: “The whole team did an extraordinary job, ensuring a smooth transition to online training around the world.”
The online service training was welcomed by service partners in the UK and Ireland. According to Trevor Lath, national service director of Rational UK: “The feedback to the program from our service partners has been incredibly positive. Digital communications have quickly become widely accepted and offer positive advantages, so Rational will certainly be maintaining and expanding the online training program. Once the pandemic is under control we’ll look to combine it with hands-on sessions, creating the best of both worlds.”