The field service industry never stands still: new technology, new market conditions, new entrants, new customer requirements…they all make it essential to keep a watching brief on the changing business and technology landscape…
To help field service professionals keep up to date with these ever shifting sands Advanced Field Service have produced their Service Manager Handbook, and Field Service News will be bringing you a selection of features from this excellent resource for Service Managers working in all verticals, for companies big and small, across the next few months.
You can also download the complete edition of The Service Manager Handbook by clicking here and completing the brief registration form.
It’s an interesting time to be in field service. We are on the cusp of exciting new technology becoming an integral part of the way business is conducted.
Having the power to access critical data across all areas of your service business, make informed instant decisions and manage your operation – from the time the customer logs a call to a satisfactory conclusion – will keep you at the front of a highly competitive field
It shows how gaining insight into every corner of your business equips you to identify and understand those areas that are under-performing and to uncover and model best practice within your organisation.
Having the power to access critical data across all areas of your service business, make informed instant decisions and manage your operation – from the time the customer logs a call to a satisfactory conclusion – will keep you at the front of a highly competitive field. In this the first part of this new series we take a look at the most important part of any service business… the customer. We’ve all heard the old adage that the customer is always right, but that only holds true if they are the right customer.
Modelling your ideal customers
In an effort to maintain business viability – and keep your engineers working out in the field – it can be tempting to take on low-margin clients. If business is thin on the ground, this is understandable. However, to build a sustainable business, you need to focus your resources on the jobs, contracts and clients that have most potential for profit, rather than trying to be all things to all clients.
Furthermore, all the following whittle away at your profit margins, and you can probably think of other time and resource wasters:
- Scope creep, where the job is bigger than first appeared
- Doing favours for clients (“While you’re here, can you just look at this…”)
- Providing free credit to late payers who go beyond your payment terms
- Providing an ‘archiving’ service, whereby customers call you to find out when a service or repair was last done
It’s worth stepping back and analysing your client base to identify: Clients who are already profitable:
- How can you quantify for them the work that you do, so that it is recognised and suitably remunerated?
- How can you keep these clients ‘locked in’ by delivering service beyond the agreed service level agreement (SLA) but without draining your resources and revenues?
Clients who could become more profitable:
- How could you better manage the time you spend on their projects?
- Can you identify where you are providing more than you agreed within the contract and budget?
- Do you have an evidence base that will support you in negotiating with clients to pay more or expect less?
- Can you let them self-serve on their documentation through a customer portal to reduce calls on administration matters?
Clients who are unlikely to ever become sustainably profitable:
- How could you readdress the balance and bring these clients back within acceptable parameters?
- If the evidence shows these clients are always going to be an excessive drain on resources, do you need to make the difficult decision to agree to go your separate ways in order to free up your engineers’ valuable time for more profitable jobs?
By gaining a better understanding of every client’s worth to the business, you’ll be well placed to decide where to invest your resources for optimum return, both in retaining clients and pursuing new business.