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Help Lightning Success Stories

On-boarding New Hires Using Remote Assistance

United Service Technologies has implemented an innovative solution to speed the training process.

Field Service organizations are facing a personnel challenge.

From maintaining an aging work- force, to retaining and transferring expertise to the next generation of technicians, the Field Service industry is faced with a growing personnel challenge.

Yesterday’s product experts are planning their retirement. Hiring their replacements can cost up to 400% of their annual salary (according to industry analysts.) So how do you optimize the use of your most experienced technicians, transfer their knowledge, and bring your new-hires up to speed?

Given these challenges, Rodger Smelcer, COO of UST, select- ed Help Lightning, an innovative remote assistance app to dramatically reduce new-hire training time. Help Lightning uses Merged Reality to combine the live video streams of field technicians with product experts, creating an interactive work environment. This Merged Reality allows experts to virtually reach into the field of view and provide “hands-on” guidance to their colleagues or customers.

“We use Help Lightning to bring the field into the classroom” says Smelcer. “Our new technicians are able to connect with the experienced technicians in the field and see what the they are working on. They are seeing exactly what they are going to be doing in the field and getting to interact with the technician in the field.”

“Having Help Lightning is a game changer when you are training new technicians and we have a unique crew. Today, 70% of my technicians are millennials. They are used to technology and have a different level of expectation then they guys that have been with me for 16 years, especially as far as technology goes, and I think this makes a difference in retention level as well.”

Help Lightning works on your existing mobile devices or a web browser. Smelcer adds, “It was adopted very quickly and, of course, if you hand any technology to a group of millennials, they will adopt it very quickly. But it was even adopted quickly by my guys that have been around a long time and their feedback was it was very intuitive to use.”

Remote Assistance Beyond Training

“We found a few other use cases as well. One was to triage service calls with the customer. We receive many calls where the customer is calling in with a complaint, but we are unsure of what they need. So, we will reach out to them using Help Lightning. By sending them a text link, they can initiate a Help Lightning session and we can have them show us the problem. Many times, we can guide the customer on how to solve the problem themselves without dispatching a technician. As you can imagine, this has been a great relationship builder with our customers.”

“We wanted to see if Help Lightning would make a difference on the first-time fix rate, and the answer is YES. In our trial, 14 out of 16 issues were resolved on the first call.”

“Next, we wanted to see if Help Lightning would make a dif- ference on the first-time fix rate, and the answer is YES. In our trial, 14 out of 16 issues were resolved on the first call. Since then, it’s been about the same ratio with a whole lot more calls going on every day.”

“Then we looked at the number of duplicate issues that we had. The purpose was to determine if Help Lightning was

creating learning in the field or were the techs starting to be- come dependent on this technology. We found that they were learning more than they were becoming dependent which was really exciting to us.”

Smelcer concluded with, “Years ago, UST started a technical trade school. Today, we have turned it virtual. Each of the Help Lightning sessions can be recorded. We are downloading these recordings, adding keywords to make them searchable, and using them to fill our learning management system. Providing this learning resource to our techs is incredibly helpful and allows us to scale what we are doing.“ Just in case you were wondering, since the implementation of Help Lightning into their training process, UST has reduced their new technician training from 3 months to 6 weeks.

About the Author

Rodger Smelcer is co-founder and COO of United Service Technologies. He is responsible for running all facets of the business including training and on-boarding. Rodger has a proven executive management track record and over 20 years of experience driving sales, growth, and technology in the commercial food equipment service industry.

With Help Lightning, we have completely reimagined how businesses, customers and employees are able to give and receive help using merged reality. We’ve eliminated the frustrations and inadequacies of phone or simple video chat, as well as dramatically reduced the need to drive or fly to interact in person. For more information, please visit

United Service Technologies is an independent service organization that services commercial food equipment in the grocery and restaurant industry. Customers include Safeway, HEB, Whole Foods, Cardenas, Superior, Super A Foods, Winco, Costco, Panera Bread, Einstein Bagels, Kroger, Brookshires, and many more.

Since 1995 UST has serviced a variety of commercial food equipment from all equipment manufacturers. UST was first among service organizations to offer fixed price service programs in the supermarket industry and continues innovating to serve customers’ needs better.

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