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Crowdsourced App Helps Otis Lift E-Service to Another Level

Crowdsourced App Helps Otis Lift E-Service to Another Level

Managing tech service has been the redheaded stepchild of mobile CRM, with few vendors offering robust functionality for making or tracking service requests. Otis Elevator decided to develop a worthy app for the purpose, and further, to go about it in an innovative way -- through crowdsourcing. "We wanted to ... build something completely new," said Jared Anthony, Otis' worldwide service manager.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
05/24/13 5:00 AM PT

Mobile CRM is well entrenched in the sales and marketing spaces -- perhaps too entrenched in some cases.


However, the third tier of traditional CRM -- service -- has barely been breached by mobile technologies. Some headway has been made, but for the most part it has been in fits and starts.

Only a few vendors offer e-service applications for the mobile environment, and even fewer companies deploy them to reach out to their own customers -- at least to give them significant functionality, such as making a complex service request.

Otis Takes Mobile Service Requests

That may be changing, if a new app from Otis is any indication. In select markets, it allows the elevator company's corporate customers -- office building owners and landlords -- to place service requests directly from their smartphones.

Depending on the market, Otis customers can open service calls, as well as retrieve elevator performance data and service call logs via their devices.

The app is an extension of Otis' larger service platform and is included at no additional charge.

Ahead of the Curve

Otis has been positioning itself to stay ahead of the service technology curve for years, Jared Anthony, manager of worldwide service at Otis, told CRM Buyer. "Seven years ago, we began offering push communications. We would email them every time we interacted with the elevator equipment."

The mobile functionality is particularly important now, as commercial real estate trends propel property managers and building owners to service or own multiple buildings in multiple areas or regions, he said.

Given the growing complexity of these operations, "we wanted to make sure we have covered all the bases in terms of customer service and communication," said Anthony.

The app also addresses the increasingly mobile work style of property managers who rarely spend a block of time at their desks.

"This app keeps them informed of the progress of a work order, for instance, or when a service technician can be expected, or what the status of a part is as they go about their day," Anthony said.

Crowdsourcing the Innovation

Otis did not go to the enterprise application market for this solution. Instead it opted to build its own -- but with crowdsourced assistance.

"We wanted to do this in a manner that hadn't been done before, so we could build something completely new," Anthony said.

Otis used TopCoder to manage the project.

"Crowdsourcing the app is one reason I feel it is very innovative for the industry," noted Anthony.

Otis is rolling out the app in North American cities and has plans for a global implementation.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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