Bruce Richardson talks to 3D Systems Global Customer Services Vice President Mark Hessinger in his recent Medium post: The Platform Chronicles: 10 Questions with Mark Hessinger, Vice President, Global Customer Services. 3D Systems provides 3D products and services, including 3D printers, print materials, on-demand manufacturing services, and digital design tools. Its ecosystem supports advanced applications from the product design shop to the factory floor to the operating room. Mark Hessinger is a Senior Global Customer Experience Leader who leads organizations to higher performance. Over his 35+ year career, Mark has developed expertise in customer service, customer experience, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, logistics, ERP implementations, quality, knowledge management, and computer-aided design.
In this interview, Bruce asks Mark about his plans to optimize the service and operations experience at 3D Systems using the Salesforce Platform.
Interview Q&A with Mark Hessinger
Bruce: Delivering a great customer experience is top of mind for both customers and their vendors. How do you see that mission evolving at 3D Systems?
Mark: It’s a continuous journey. We’ve shifted our view of customer service/customer experience, moving from a “break-fix” philosophy to offering more proactive services, more value-add. We’re now tracking more metrics that matter to customers — we have a “menu” of metrics.
Bruce: How has 3D Systems’ customer service evolved?
Mark: We work with customers via our call centers and field service teams. We also have contracts where we monitor the printers and provide preventive maintenance services. We have always had consulting services on the front end, now it’s more formalized. We had lots of pockets of expertise inside our company. Now, we’re putting it together for a fuller line of professional services. One of our cooler offerings is our full range of on-demand manufacturing services, including fast-turn prototyping, low-volume manufacturing, appearance models, and advanced prototyping.
Bruce: Can you tell us how and why you are using Salesforce?
Mark: We currently have about 2,800 employees. A lot of these have come from the many acquisitions that we’ve done over the years. We’re working to migrate everyone over to the Salesforce domain. The goal is to have data about every 3D printer asset stored in Salesforce where it can be accessed by sales, marketing, service, and engineering. The only exception, for now, is printers sold via channels. We have data on thousands and thousands of printers in Salesforce. Why Salesforce? We needed one common platform with one version of the data — one version of the truth. Before Salesforce we had a lot of this data stored on spreadsheets. Today, we have hundreds of Salesforce licenses. Salesforce Service Cloud was the first part of the solution.
Bruce: Salesforce now has 5,000 applications on AppExchange. Are you using any partner apps? What about AI?
Mark: I was just getting to that. When we looked at Salesforce Einstein for customer service a few years ago, it looked like you were heading towards chatbots. We were going in a different direction towards deeper insights. So, we started a project with Aquant.io, a small Israeli company headed by former Click Software execs. We started by sending data from Salesforce Service Cloud cases to Aquant.io for insights. They provided guides to resolution — should we upgrade the software or replace the part — and showed the costs of all options.
Bruce: Has your service team built any custom apps using the Salesforce platform?
Mark: We are working with Barkawi (a supply chain services firm) on defining and digitizing our service processes. We have deployed a couple of apps — automated case creation and automated work orders, integrating Salesforce Platform and Thingworx. We’re looking at some new ideas with them as we continue to expand our digital footprint.
Bruce: What’s your strategy for integrating everything?
Mark: We started this project before Salesforce bought MuleSoft. We’re using Dell Boomi today.
Bruce: What’s next on your customer service agenda?
Mark: We’re very interested in the service supply chain — from uptime and support to getting the right parts and people to the customer at the right time. Last summer we had an intern look at answering the question of “How long did it take to get a part to a customer?” The answer varied based on whether the data came from ERP, CRM, or one of our logistics partners. We want to be able to reserve inventory in Salesforce. We want to be alerted when, say, a part is not available in Germany, and should be sourced from the U.S. We’re looking at expanding professional services — there’s a lot more that we can do to support customers. Our goal is to provide the best customer experience possible, so we’ll continue to iterate and evolve based on customer needs and feedback.
Bruce: What would you like Salesforce to do with its platform to make life easier for you and your customers?
Mark: We’re looking into using VR (Virtual Reality) for training and AR (Augmented Reality) for service. There are lots of companies with AR capabilities, but we would like to have a partner that fits into our ecosystem and is integrated into our architecture and plans.
About Mark Hessinger: Mark is a Senior Global Customer Experience Leader who leads organizations to higher performance. Mark has a demonstrated ability to identify customer needs and design a strategy that builds innovative, profitable and scalable solutions that deliver greater customer loyalty and employee engagement. Over his 35+ year career, Mark has developed expertise in customer service, customer experience, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, logistics, ERP implementations, quality, knowledge management, and computer-aided design. He’s also had full P&L responsibilities all along the way.
About 3D Systems: 3D Systems’ technologies and services are used in the design, development and production stages of many industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, dental, entertainment and durable goods. The company offers a range of professional- and production-grade 3D printers as well as many other comprehensive 3D products and services, including 3D printers, print materials, on-demand manufacturing services, and digital design tools. 3D Systems has spent its 30-year history enabling professionals and companies to optimize their designs, transform their workflows, bring innovative products to market and drive new business models.