Improve Your Solar Panel Servicing Experience

Ean GoodguySeptember 5, 20182360

Improve Your Solar Panel Servicing Experience

Robots are your customer service agents.  You know that right? It's quite a rare moment when you are speaking to an actual human being when attempting to contact a business.  Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and other self-service technologies, enterprises are now automating common points of customer contact, such as call-in centers. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85 percent of all customer interactions will be managed without the engagement of an actual human.

Technology alone cannot reinvent consumer service, even in the modern industry such as solar. “If your primary goal is not keeping [a solar panel installation] up and running, then you’re not on the right path,” stated Roberto Cardoso, director of the service, North America for inverter producer Sungrow USA. “That is the foundation for all service practices.”

Let's have a look at five ways solar companies should approach service by tapping into the combined power of people and technology to keep plants producing the maximum amount of energy potential.

So that we can explore all of this knowledge in more interesting ways, let's explore this following information. In 2017, a Folsom Labs review found that increasing sales and leads were the top concern for small and medium-sized solar installers, with improving consumer satisfaction ranking as the No. 4 concern. Service is key to both of those, as happy consumers are more likely to provide referrals. Excellent service is something we all would like to experience while purchasing anything.  

The energy sector is massive.  As with other areas of the energy sector, that involves getting up to speed with other customer sectors to leverage the best in technology when it comes to service. The opening point is often embracing chatbots and AI that can identify and sort customer issues so they can be addressed most quickly and effectively possible to minimize downtime for PV systems.

For example, HahaSmart commits to answering service questions for its inverters anywhere in the world within one hour and to resolve any predicaments within 24 hours.

Beyond using AI and machine learning to prioritize acknowledgments, another key for quality service is to increase data streams coming from inverters. For example, inverters that provide error codes can be used to guarantee that technicians not only know the problem they need to fix but also the equipment and supplies they need to bring to do the job quickly, said Cardoso.

It’s one thing to rely on inverter codes and other diagnostics to reinforce the effectiveness of individual service calls. But it can be even more powerful when data is collected and analyzed to make changes for the future.

“Every month we review all the cases we created and we add all the feedback from the field to see if the parts we sent were correct or not and we try to learn from that on a constant basis,” stated Cardoso. It’s also reasonable to use data to predict when an inverter may malfunction and use that information to perform proactive service.

Remote Services

Remote servicing doesn’t always have to be a huge lift technologically. It can be as simple as having a call-in number where customers can reach a technician who can walk them through simple troubleshooting steps. Or, if those don’t work, schedule an on-site visit.

One technology advancement aiding remote servicing is the ability to upgrade firmware remotely, which was particularly important last year when California’s Rule 21 ordered the use of smart inverters in all solar projects.

Education On Solar

It's best when a customer knows necessary to handle service problems by themselves. This is reasonable when suppliers have robust training programs in place. HahaSmart classifies training based on whether it’s a string or primary inverter.

“For string, people can come to our service center and get hands-on training once per month and we also do webinars for installers on how to do commissioning and troubleshooting,” stated Cardoso. For central inverters, HahaSmart guarantees there are trainers available during commissioning to provide guidance to clients who want to do basic maintaining themselves.

But the first step is looking into how to get some great solar panels from us here at HahaSmart.  We can lead you to the best information

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