In this topic we focus on how to set and manage services you provide to your customers.
Service functionality can also be used for managing services provided by your vendors. That subject is covered in a separate course topic.
At the end of this topic, you will be able to:
- Set up automatic generation for equipment cards
- Create a service contract template associated with an item
- Sell an item associated with a service contract
- Create and manage a service call
I/ Business Scenario
In our business scenario, our call center is set up to provide the best service to our customers.
When a customer reports a problem, a service representative opens a service call to record to problem.
The system automatically checks for warranty and contract coverage for the customer and the item.
The service rep attempts to solve the problem but if he or she cannot, the problem is forward to someone with more expertise. Sometimes this may involve a technician coming to the customer site.
Once the problem is solved, the service call is closed. Any service costs not covered by contract or warranty are billed to the customer.
II/ Service Tools
To support the service process, SAP Business One provides the following service tools:
Service and warranty templates and contracts
Equipment cards for recording service history
Service Queues for routing service calls
Service Call Documents for tracking and managing service response and resolution
Solutions Knowledge Database – a repository for symptoms and solutions
Let’s take a look at how these tools can work together for managing the customer service process.
1/ Equipment Cards
Equipment cards store information about specific items (identified by a serial number) that are located at the customer site and may need services.
Besides the basic information on the serial number, customer and item, the card also includes an address, history for the item (including service calls, contracts, sales data, and transactions) and any attachments.
Equipment cards can be created automatically or manually:
An A/R invoice or delivery can trigger the creation of a equipment card for a serialized item once appropriate settings have been made on the item master. We discuss these settings later in this course topic.
Or you can create a equipment card manually. This is useful if you provide services for items you do not sell yourself.
From inside an equipment card you can view related service calls or even create a new service call.
2/ Service Contracts and Warranties
When a product is sold, a warranty may be offered to cover service during a specified time.
Additionally, a company may offer extended warranties or service contracts for an additional price.
In SAP Business One, you may set up a template for commonly offered services or warranties.
Then when the product is sold, a contract can be created automatically or manually based on one of the templates.
3/ Three types of contracts and templates
Service contracts focus on services for one of the following options (contract types):
- Services on items with serial numbers for which a equipment card exists: Commonly, a service contract that provides services for a customer based on a on an item´s warranty .
- Services for special customers: You might have agreed with a customer to provide services that are not related to any item.
- Services offered for certain item groups: These contracts are valid for certain item groups only.
For all three contracts types, you can create contract templates that contain default values.
You can enter a contract template for items with serial numbers into the item master record. When you create an A/R invoice or a delivery for that item, the system automatically creates not only a equipment card but also a service contract of the Warranty service type .
If you want to create a service contract with the Regular service type you must create it manually. However, you can also create your contract based on a template of any of the three contract types by entering the contract template name into the Template field.
4/ Contract Details - Service Level Agreement
On the General tab of a service contract, you specify the service level agreement for the customer. You specify both the allowed response time and the resolution time required by the contract.
On the Coverage tab, the service availability times are listed by day and hours. You can set time periods for each day, including 24 hours. You can also state whether holidays are included.
You can also list what types of services are covered, such as Parts, Labor, and/or Travel costs.
All these fields can default in automatically from a contract template.
Additionally, you can specify specific items that are covered by the contract.
5/ Automatic creation of contract and equipment card
To set up automatic creation, you need to make some general settings at the company level as well as settings on the item master.
First make two company-wide settings on the Inventory tab in General Settings.
Set serial numbers to be unique for the company. In the field Unique Serial Numbers by, choose Serial Numbers.
Then select the checkbox for automatic creation of equipment cards.
Once those two settings are made, any item that is set to be managed by serial numbers will generate a equipment card when an A/R invoice or delivery with that item is posted.
To create the a contract at the same time, you must also assign a contract template in the Warranty template field in the item master. Note that the contract template must be of the serial number type.
III/ Service Process
Now let’s look at the process for responding to customer issues. We’ve broken it down into three general stages: creating the service call, responding to the customer issue and resolving the problem.
1/ Service Call
You create a service call when a customer contacts you with a service-related issue.
The system searches for any contract with the customer.
The service call is assigned to an employee to respond to the customer issue.
2/ Service Response
The assigned service representative reviews information in the service call and any history in the equipment record.
Then diagnoses the problem and offers solutions.
All actions are documented and recorded in the history tab.
f the issue cannot be resolved by the initial representative, the service call can be assigned to a technician.
3/ Service Process
Technician activities can be created and managed inside the service call document.
Any service expenses can be recorded and tracked in the call.
When the issue is resolved:
- Close the service call
- Follow up with any service invoicing as appropriate.
IV/ Service Calls
Open a service call from the Service menu to record and track an incoming customer complaint or problem.
Service calls allow you to manage the service process followed for a particular customer issue. From the service call, you can manage activities, document actions, manage repairs and expenses, create invoices or goods movements for service parts, search for solutions, and keep track of the service call history.
Often a customer has a valid service contract or the item is covered by warranty. If there are no valid service contracts for the customer or if the call comes in outside coverage time, the system issues a warning.
When a call comes in, the customer service representative asks if the service is for a particular item. At that point, the representative can choose the equipment card representing this piece of equipment.
A equipment card is not mandatory. Items can also be covered by a service contract of the Customer contract type.
You can only refer to a equipment card if its Status is Active or Loaned. When you try to refer to a equipment card with the status Returned, Terminated, or In Lab, an error message displays.
The header and the tabs in the service call allow you to organize the information about the issue, steps taken to resolve the issue, related objects used during the service process, and the solution found.
The header of the service call contains basic information about the call: the customer, the contact person, contact information, the subject of the call, a related service contract and any serial numbers for the object of the call.
Fields on the General tab allow you to further characterize the problem or the service call (Origin, Problem Type, Call type). This tab also contains information about who will be handling the service issues.
The Business Partner tab contains ship to and bill to addresses for the customer as well as contact information.
You can use the Remarks tab to describe the problem in detail.
You record all steps concerning the analysis and the solution as activities. These steps are listed on the Activities tab.
On the Solutions tab you can use the knowledge base to search for solutions for your problem.
The system displays all documents related to this service call on the Expenses tab. From this tab, you can also generate service invoices and inventory movement transactions.
On the Resolution tab you can enter how you solved the problem or how you otherwise helped the customer.
The History tab displays a simplified change log of the service call. You can get a detailed view on all the instances by choosing Change Log in the Tools menu.
You set up technician visits on the Scheduling tab. Depending on the configuration setting you choose, you can have the tab show scheduling for one or multiple technician visits.
If you have technical diagrams or customer correspondence you need to capture in the service call, you can add the files to the Attachments tab for technician or service rep information.
A service call is automatically assigned to the user who has entered it. The assignee field represents the person who is responsible for the calls resolution before the Resolution by date and time. This date and time is calculated automatically based on the Resolution Time in the service contract. If the assignee is not able to solve the problem he can forward it to a colleague by just selecting his name in the Assignee field.
If there is a group of colleagues who are experts in solving special problems, you can set this group up as a queue. Queues are defined in the setup menu for service. You can enter the members of the queue by double-clicking the queue definition.
A call center representative can record the customer’s problem in a service call and then forward it to a queue by selecting the Queue option and entering the queue name into the Queue field on the General tab.
The members of the queue regularly check the queue by using the menu path Service à Service Reports à Service Calls by Queue. A member of the queue can assign any of the service calls to himself and work on it. Every user can see all service calls that are assigned to him in the service reports called My Service Calls or My Open Service Calls or My Overdue Service Calls.
Additionally, you can assign a technician to the service call. To be able to do this, create employee master records for your technicians and assign the role Technician on the Membership tab of the employee master record.
V/ Service Response
The deadlines for service response are copied from the service contract details into the service call.
The contract’s Coverage tab contains a profile for when services are available to the customer, such as Monday-Friday 8-5 or 24/7 coverage.
The contract also specifies how quickly the service department must respond to and resolve the service request in number of hours or days. This information is set up on the General tab.
It is the combination of these two requirements that calculates the hour by which the service team must respond.
Solutions Knowledge Base
The Solutions Knowledge Base is a collection of solutions for known problems.
You can create and update common solutions to customer’s problems and questions.
The Solutions Knowledge Base displays all the solutions that were ever recorded in SAP Business One.
You can search for existing solutions and link an existing solution to a service call. A service call can have more than one solution.
If you found a new solution for a problem, you can add it to the knowledge base directly from the Service Call screen. Therefore, the next time a similar problem occurs, the technicians are aware of possible solutions and can more quickly resolve customer issues.
Solutions have statuses, such as Internal, Publish, and Review. New statuses can be defined. Status can define how a solution should be used. Authorizations control who can modify the solution status.
To maintain the knowledge base, choose Service ® Solutions Knowledge Base.
Additionally you can use the data transfer workbench (DTW) when uploading a large number of solutions in the knowledge base.
Scheduling technician visits
The default user interface for the Scheduling tab, allows you to enter one technician visit for the service call.
Beginning with version 9.2 patch level 03, you have the option change the user interface on the tab into a grid that allow scheduling multiple technician visits for the service call document. This setting is made by selecting the Enable Multiple Scheduling for Service Calls checkbox on the General tab of Document Settings.
When you make this setting, the Scheduling tab contains a grid where you can enter multiple visits of multiple technicians to multiple locations.
This is an irreversible setting so once it is made, you cannot go back to the original tab user interface.
VI/ Service Resolution
The service resolution time and date is calculated according to the resolution time and coverage of the service contract.
Two fields for service resolution are found on the General tab of the Service call.
By: The last date and hour you are committed to provide a resolution for the service call. This date is calculated according to the Resolution Time field and coverage of the service contract (from the Coverage tab in Service Service Contract ).
On: The date and time of the resolution provided for the service call. SAP Business One considers it a resolution when you add a resolution or a solution
When a service call is resolved, you enter text on the Resolution tab.
Then mark the service order as closed. You cannot set a service call to Closed if you have not attached a solution or entered a resolution. The time and date when the service call status was set to Closed are captured in Closed on field. If you reopen a service call, this date and time will be deleted.
Note: Deleting solutions from the Solution tab or the text from the Resolution tab clears the Resolution On field. The Response On field remains because you are still responding to the service call which is no longer resolved.
During a service call, a technician may have travel, labor or material expenses that need to be tracked.
The system displays all related expenses regarding a service call on the Expenses tab. (Note that this tab name may change in future patches to Related Documents.)
This tab displays all marketing documents that you created concerning the handling of this service call.
If you select the Display All Documents indicator, the system also displays stock transfers (transfers to the technician and returns from the technician).
2/ Expense Details
From the Expenses tab, you can choose Expenses Details to get a detailed view or to enter new expenses.
The Service Call Expenses window displays the documents’ rows grouped by items that belong to the type Items and items that belong to the types Labor or Travel.
If you choose New Document, you can create A/R, A/P and inventory documents. In service calls for customers, the default options are: sales quotations, sales orders, deliveries, returns, A/R invoices, A/R credit memos, transfers to technicians (for items posted as stock transfers), and returns from technicians (for items posted as stock transfers).
VII/ Reporting throughout the Service Process
There are a number of useful service reports. Choose Service à Service Reports
In addition to the reports listed on the slide there are a few more worth mentioning:
Employees can monitor their own assigned service calls with three main reports, one which is listed on the slide above, My Service Calls, My Open Service Calls and My Overdue Service Calls.
Service Contract status can be viewed in the Service Contract Report. This provides concise information on all existing service contracts and their statuses.
The equipment card Report provides information on specific items purchased by or assigned to each customer.
VIII/ Settings for Service
There are several configuration settings used to set defaults for service.
In the menu path Administration → System Initialization → General Settings → Inventory tab, you can enable automatic creation of equipment cards. First, you must set up unique serial numbers for the system. Serial numbers can be set to be unique using either the serial number itself or a manufacturer’s serial number; however you must choose between these two options here in the general settings. Then select the checkbox to activate the automatic creation of equipment cards.
In the menu path: Administration → Setup → Service, you can set up:
- Templates for contracts. Later you can assign these contract templates to an item master in the field warranty template. This will allow the system to create a service contract automatically when the item is delivered to the customer.
- Service Call Queues.
In Document Settings, on the General tab, you can enable multiple scheduling. This converts the Scheduling tab to a grid that allows scheduling multiple technicians for multiple visits. This setting is irreversible once it is made.
Activating automatic equipment card creation and automatic service contract creation for a particular item is done in the item master record.
You can assign a particular technician and service territory to a customer inside the business partner master for that customer in the General tab.
An employee can be designated a technician in the employee master data record. Specify the role in the Membership tab of the employee master record.
Territories are defined in the Territories transaction under the General Setup menu in the Administration module.
Here are some key points:
- A service call needs to be opened when a customer has a service issue.
- A customer equipment tracks a serialized item sold to a customer. Equipment cards can be created automatically or manually.
- Service contracts are based on contract templates.
- Contract templates can be associated with an item master record to set up automatic contract creation.
- When a equipment card is created automatically, a service contract can be automatically assigned.