Written by 9:54 pm Feature, Service Strategy

Three questions to ask yourself now about your Field Service Organisation… before 2014 is another Auld Lang Syne…

December. That last few weeks before we flip to a clean page, create those New Year’s Resolutions, and generally begin again in pursuit of personal and professional excellence. Patrice Eberline is Vice President, Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax gives guidance on how to take stock and get set for success in the year ahead….

The end of the year is also a terrific time to take stock of your Field Service organisation and offerings.  We typically review performance against standard industry metrics- MTTR, Utilisation, SLA’s, etc. This year, take a look at performance against potential- what your field service organisation could be.

Use the holiday time to step away from the tactical and look at the bigger picture.  How can you disrupt the day to day and be transformative?  What are you seeing at a strategic level that will give you the edge and generate breakthrough profitability in 2015?

  1. How “fit” are your service offerings to face the New Year? We often look at our own fitness levels in prep for our personal New Year’s Resolutions.  Our business should be no different and frequently service programs are the last to get a facelift.  Are they ready for the New Year?  Keeping service offerings evergreen and current is key in keeping customers happy and creating service excellence.  Let’s look at an example.In the world of medical device repair, service is complex and much of that complexity can come from compliance.  Compliance reporting can be onerous for your customers, and can offer an opportunity to update a simple PM service event with a high value, no cost add on. At a CSO event I recently attended, one of the field leaders shared a success story where he offered to capture a full equipment inventory (both his equipment and his competitors) as a way to help his customer with their “as installed” end of year reporting.  This was a simple matter of scanning like equipment bar codes using a mobile device. The result was a great way to generate additional customer sat while getting additional information for future sales opps.Taking a look at your service programs with fresh eyes can offer unexpected opportunities to disrupt the competition!
  2. How well are you capitalizing on sales opportunities from within your Field Service team? As we move further and further into the online, self-serve service world, every touch point with your customer becomes of paramount importance.  …and the unit that touches the customer most frequently?  You guessed it- your service team!

    Your field techs are the face of your brand.  They spend the most time in front of your customer and develop long-standing positive relationships with them.  More importantly, your field team has their unwavering trust, and that is the key to unlocking additional sales.  Are you using them to their fullest?

    I spoke with a Service Director a few months ago who is doing just that.  He was quick to point out that his aim was not to turn his techs into sales reps, as that would defeat their trusted advisor status.  He was however, able to identify techs with an aptitude for observation, rapport-building, and sales and offer them additional training to make them highly effective techs who could capitalize on sales opportunities seen in the field.  The process was then automated by using technology to automatically dispatch these “closers” to service appointments where equipment was coming out of warranty and there was no long-term contract in place.

    A field service engineer with high technical skills as well as sales ability can truly move the needle on your bottom line!

  3. Are you leveraging technology to the fullest?The pace of technology innovation continues to increase dramatically year over year.  The benefits are no longer “nice to have’s” but are “must haves” in order to get and maintain competitive advantage and best in class service status. As the year winds down, it’s a great time to take a look at the tools you are using and leverage those that will give you the edge against the competition.

    One of the most popular ways to do this is around hand held devices.  Today everyone has a cell phone and most of us have a tablet of one kind or another.  Further, both are on just about every Top 10 list for holiday gift giving.  By making the most of these “always on” devices, you can separate yourself from the crowd in a variety of ways:

    • Increase customer sat with real-time notifications of technician ETA.
    • Increase First Time Fix on complex work orders by enabling the field with real-time escalation to home office source expertise via face-time or similar
    • Turn invoices around quickly and decrease invoice questions by empowering technicians to get written approval on paperwork before leaving customer site
    • ave time on traditional laptop boot times by providing technicians with an efficient “always on” tool to log and complete work orders

With a little planning, technology will help you empower your field techs, increase operating efficiencies, and delight your customers.

These are just some examples and food for thought as you prepare for the New Year. I wish you all the very best of holidays and here’s to a breakthrough 2015!

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