A global icon in the automotive industry, Mercedes-Benz is committed to delivering the ultimate customer experience―not only in the design and production of superior vehicles, but in industry-leading service. To help achieve this goal, the company choose Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist technologies to improve service technician efficiency, reduce time to problem resolution, and reduce the cost and environmental impact of service-related travel.
Not your father’s Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz dealers and technicians are on the front line for providing customer service at a level consistent with the Mercedes-Benz brand. The challenge is the ever-increasing complexity of modern automobiles. “Thirty or forty years ago, a car was simple with a few mechanical moving pieces,” says Juergen Pietsch, Department Manager for Field Technical Services at Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUS). “Now everything is digital and computerized; it makes things very complex.” MBUS provides expertise to dealer service centers to resolve problems, but the traditional process was often very slow, and it frequently required field technicians to travel between dealerships throughout the United States.
For Mercedes of Coral Gables, a family-owned dealership in Florida with 50 service technicians, delays in getting answers from MBUS field technicians resulted in inefficiencies, a backlog of service orders, and inconvenienced customers. “We usually see in and out, 100 cars every day,” explains Matias Scolnik, Shop Foreman. “It’s a big volume of cars in the very limited space we have here in Coral Gables. Being able to work on a car in an efficient way and have it fixed as fast as possible is critical in our location.”
Game changer: Gaining efficiencies with HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
With HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, a problem that might have taken days of phone calls and emails to sort out, can now be resolved with a 10-minute conversation. “We save so much time not having to go back and forth, uploading information, asking questions, waiting for a response.” says Scolnik. “To get cars back to the owners—diagnosed, fixed, washed, and ready to roll—in a fraction of the time it used to take—this has a huge impact on our ability to provide excellent customer service.”
Service technicians wearing a HoloLens 2 device can look at a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, gesture with their fingers at the engine and immediately see a 3D model of the transmission appear next to the car. “It’s very easy to use,” reports Edgar Campana, a Centralized Diagnostic Technician at Coral Gables, one of 12 MBUS franchises piloting Microsoft technology. “I can grab windows, drag them, move them over to the other side of the mixed reality view. With HoloLens 2 and Remote Assist, I don’t have to waste time going to the computer. I have everything in real time right there in front of me.”
And with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, multiple experts from around the world can be on the same call to help fix the problem. Remote experts can see everything the technician sees, can send information directly to the HoloLens 2 view, and annotate the visual information. “It’s incredible,” explains Scolnik. “A remote expert can draw on the holograms around the car any spot where they want to pull our attention: an adjustment on a cable, on a harness, they can show us in no time.”
“HoloLens 2 has just been a game changer in this business,” says Teri Clemmer, Manager, Western USA Field Technical Services at Mercedes-Benz USA. “I have always been in the service part of the automotive industry and this is probably one of the single most important inventions that I’ve seen to bridge the gap between the factories and dealers.”
Microsoft is also helping Mercedes-Benz reduce its carbon footprint by reducing travel required to support dealership service centers—already, travel has been cut by 35 percent to 40 percent. “We can help our dealers get to the root cause of a problem without putting a single mile on a vehicle,” reports Clemmer. “With HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, our guys are able to service a vast number of dealerships in multiple locations without leaving their office. We’re able to cover the country in a much more efficient way.”
Just the beginning
According to Pietsch, when the company started researching mixed reality solutions, MBUS looked at several vendors. HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist stood out for their capabilities, but MBUS also saw a kinship with Microsoft. “Our goals and visions align,” Pietsch explains. “We like to be first, we have a very high standard for quality, and we are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2039; Microsoft has similar goals and the technology to help us get there.”
Looking to the future, Pietsch wants to get service technicians to a point where they don’t have to call for field support at all. “This technology is a great tool to get there by providing immediate onsite support, but also to use the opportunity to coach and train technicians for the future.”
Pietsch adds, “Dynamics 365 Remote Assist is step one for Mercedes-Benz. We have other visions with HoloLens 2: mixed reality diagnostic paths, peer-to-peer collaborations, virtual reality training, even on the sales floor—using mixed reality to show accessories. HoloLens 2 and Remote Assist is the beginning of a new adventure.”