How Reliant on the Implementation of Technology is a Shift to Customer Success?

How Reliant on the Implementation of Technology is a Shift to Customer Success?

In this new feature from a recent white paper we published in partnership with FieldAware, we discuss the proper technological infrastructure to ensure that the service operation can operate at maximum efficiency.

 

In the previous section of this paper, we discussed the importance of a new role at the executive level, the CRO, that has oversight of revenue generation and operational efficiency. We also noted that core to this role is an understanding of how the wider business must adapt, support and buy into the broader servitization strategy.

 

However, perhaps of equal importance is the flow of data across the business.

 

Often, data is locked away in silos across a business, yet in a servitized model, the seamless movement of data is essential. For example, asset data that provides actionable insight for when service is required, which is the key to unlocking genuinely efficient predictive maintenance, is also exceptionally valuable to the product design teams as it enables them to see the common causes of asset failure and work to resolve these issues.

 

If accessible to account managers in a customer success model, that same data allows for a level of transparency within the relationship that can be the foundation of trust that is required for deeper, more effective partnerships. Similarly, data flow into the accounting tools used within an organization can significantly reduce the service-to-cash cycle.

 

To achieve this flow of data, there is an inherent need for critical systems to be able to talk to each other. Two approaches are applicable here. Either a broad platform that encompasses all of the solutions required, such as FSM, ERP and CRM or a focus on best of breed solutions in each of these areas that have easy to use APIs that allow for effortless data flow across the broader system.

 

While there are arguments that can be put forward for both approaches, largely, it is the latter that is the more common.

 

There is a degree of complexity in any organization that operates a field service division that means multiple systems in place will be running alongside each other. Replacing all of these with one platform may seem like a straightforward proposition, but in fact, it is a challenge not only from a technology standpoint but also from a change management perspective. Put simply, such a project requires time and resources that many organizations, especially those in the mid-market, just don’t have.

 

The alternative is not only more achievable for companies of all sizes, but with an open approach to integration, the ability for data flow to drive forward customer success efforts can be harnessed while also having the added advantage of best in class solutions where they are most needed.

 

When we look at the field service operation, the tools and technology that enable the efficiency required for a servitized approach are now mature and well established, with most field service organizations having at least a legacy form of FSM. Indeed, technology has become a critical aspect of field service operations. As we continue to move towards more advanced service offerings, this symbiosis of processes and technology will only increase.

 

Ultimately, the ability to deliver effective and efficient field service is firmly wedded to having a technology infrastructure in place.

 

The pandemic has been shown to have significantly driven investment within digital transformation amongst field service organizations. A study by Field Service News Research, Benchmarking the New Normal from Year Zero, from late 2020 revealed that two-thirds (65%) of field service companies stated that their digital transformation programs had been accelerated since Covid-19.

 

Technologies that enable remote service delivery and accurate predictive maintenance scheduling such as Augmented Reality and Internet of Things connectivity have rapidly evolved from being at the leading edge of an adoption curve to becoming utilized far more prevalently by field service organizations.

 

Adoption of such new technologies, of course, only strengthens the argument for core systems such as CRM and FSM to have robust API development.

 

However, while it is the newer technologies that often dominate the headlines when we consider the shift in focus of servitization and customer success models from being a mere service provider to becoming a genuine partner with a vested interest in the optimal performance of an install base, then the need for a robust technological foundation underpinning field service operations is more crucial than ever before.

 

From the back-office perspective, tools such as asset management, work order management, scheduling and dispatch and route optimization are now table stakes for field service organizations to deliver effective field service delivery.

 

Tools that can empower our field service technicians and engineers such as knowledge management, easily accessible forms, alerts and notifications and more, all packaged in an intuitive mobile app, are equally essential.

 

In addition to these more traditional tools found within an FSM system, customer portals, reporting and insight surfacing tools and invoicing are all becoming increasingly critical to allow the field service organization to operate at a sufficient level of efficiency where servitization or customer success models can be effectively executed.

 

Having looked at the potential requirements of both management structure and technologies needed to adopt a customer success orientated approach to service strategy, the final question we shall address next week is whether these changes mean that we must also change the way we measure success..

 

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