Think Tank Sessions: Different Drivers for Customer Success
The approach to dealing with the shift towards customer success models will, of course, vary from organisation to organisation.
To enable field service organisations to move towards customer success, we must first understand the different success drivers for both the service provider and the customer alike.
“It is absolutely critical to understand how external drivers impact our customers. That’s where I think the key is establishing the core drivers for our service strategies,” began Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News.
“They have to be aligned with the drivers our customers themselves are responding to. Whether they be regulatory, whether they be the result of natural market pull dynamics, I think understanding this is an essential part of solving the equation,” he adds.
Indeed, regulatory pressure may be a significant driver as Steve Mason, COO, FieldAware explained.
“I recently conducted a six-month research programme with the University of Sunderland, looking at sustainability within Field Service Management,” Mason outlined
“We were looking firstly at the state of the industry in terms of its adoption of sustainability measures, and then really focusing on what the drivers were from the marketplace for such programs. I was quite surprised that my preconceived thoughts going into it were largely unfounded,” he added
“There’s an assumption that because field service companies are all focused around the optimisation of technicians and driving efficiency, that, therefore, there would be a latent capability and interest around execution on sustainability. We hypothesised that there would be market drivers around that in terms of customers wanting to receive their services in a more sustainable way.
“But the feedback from the industry that we saw in the research was very much the opposite. Sustainability was a very low priority, there was very little demand coming from the market. The view of the industry was that it would have to be legislation based change, to drive that business model.”
“Customer success and satisfaction varies from industry to industry, and even business to business,” added Chris Hird, Editor, Field Service News
“Coming from an oil and gas upstream background, when we were operating oil and gas rigs, our outgoings daily were upwards of half a million pound, and bigger rigs can be millions a day. If a piece of equipment fails, it’s a very expensive game.
“So as a customer our key driver was easy, zero downtime. We were happy when there was no downtime and inversely when there was. In a way, my executive team excluded, we didn’t actually mind how much we were paying for certain services as long as they delivered zero downtime. Any downtime blew budget contingency out of the water very quickly,” Hird added.
As Hird had outlined, the importance of uptime has been critical in many industries for some time, and it is becoming increasingly prevalent in new sectors as well. This provides a great opportunity for service providers who are able to identify the challenges their customers need resolving.
“I think the challenge here is, should the approach be centred on developing new services and commercialising that success or working further on your customer success model?” Explains Jan van Veen, Managing Director, moreMomentum.
“In the end, new service initiatives are only going to succeed in the market if they’re solving a problem for customers, and that needs to be a problem which they recognise and want to solve.
“It’s great to say, ‘hey, we can do this better’, but if you’re not solving a customer problem they see it as just theoretical or irrelevant noise. So you either hit something which solves something your customers see as a problem and so are anxious to hear about your solution, or you have to educate them about the problem they’re having, not the answer you’re providing,” Van Veen continues.
“If the customer doesn’t see the value of, for example, more predictive maintenance, that means that apparently, they’re not seeing a problem in the level of value they’re losing whether that is revenue or quality they deliver to their customers. They need to see what they are missing because of the way they’re operating at this moment.
“I think that is where we also have to start from the customers’ point of view, what are the problems? What are they missing? We can then start working from there to either develop a solution with our capabilities, or by educating our customers – something that is particularly important if you’re introducing a solution that introduces a disruptive change,” he states.
“The other dynamic that must be taken into consideration is that there are, especially in business to business spaces, so many different stakeholders that form part of the view of the relationship,” Mason replies.
“Amongst those different stakeholders, while you’re going to have an overall value being delivered to the business, that value is still viewed differently by different parts of the business.
“This is how, we as a software company approach our customer success management. The philosophy of understanding these different stakeholder perspectives is the key to establishing that broad stakeholder community. Then you map what’s necessary, bothstrategically and at the department level and how you’re performing to support them, and enable them to make sure that they’re getting the most out of the technology to deliver on their end customer objectives,” he explained.
“Ultimately, what we’re providing is a set of tools that the companies then use to deliver their service through. We operate on a SaaS basis, so if the customer hasn’t committed to the licence, this means that whenever their renewal is up effectively we’re in a position where we can be switched out to another piece of technology. That model really does create a major focus and drives attention towards making sure that you understand what’s important to the customer and can deliver accordingly.”
In the next feature in this series, the group discuss why effective client interaction is crucial when developing a customer success strategy. Want to know more? FSN subscribers can access the full Executive Briefing Report from this session via the button at the top of this article.
This edition of the Field Service ThinkTank Sessions is sponsored by FieldAware
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