It may seem surprising, but engineers are often your best sales people. Business often thinks that field service is just a cost item. A necessary part of the organisation, but one that carries overheads and doesn’t directly generate revenue. However, this is not always the case.
In fact, 68% of organisations consider their field service teams as profitable. Companies that change their approach and embrace emerging technologies that can bring improvements in how they provide those services, can save costs and increase sales.
These four tips will help your service and technical support teams become a more profitable part of the organisation.
1. Ensure your field service teams can make customers happy
Providing a strong customer experience is one of the most important things an organisation can do. Especially in the current expansion of the service economy. Field service teams are invaluable for the business because they can offer an excellent customer experience. Moreover, by 2020 customer experience will be the most important selling point for organisations. How your sales representatives work with customers is an important part of building a good customer engagement and competing within the service economy.
An example of good customer service is the ‘surprise and delight’ model whereby organisations make every effort to provide unexpected and positive experiences for customers in order to surpass their expectations. The surprise is usually to add value to the customer interaction.
If you are wondering whether your organisation can achieve this, you can ask the following questions:
- Do my field staff have access to accurate, up-to-date data that focuses on the customer?
- Do we have a view of the entire customer base showing what the customer wants and who the key contacts are?
- Are we are able to get the right people with the right skills and knowledge so that the customer problem can immediately be solved every time (right first time)?
- Can my teams anticipate customer needs and act proactively?
2. Use collaboration technology
Organisations can spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that yield very little. Businesses that use mobile solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics, can work productively and faster through a comprehensive set of tools and resources. These are integrated platforms that help you collaborate in real time with colleagues and share knowledge.
Field service organisations are shifting to use collaboration technologies, especially because (younger millenials) employees who are good with technology are increasingly looking for flexibility and mobility as they use the latest tech in their personal lives. Collaboration platforms such as Yammer, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint make it possible for employees to work more productively, and gain direct access to internal resources that help them surprise the customer.
3. Focus on the mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Mobile technology has fundamentally shifted the way field service technicians can perform their role. Field service teams who use mobile technology have a productivity increase of 7%. By making resources accessible and providing mobile devices, you can improve the efficiency and flexibility of your employees. A more satisfied customer becomes an additional benefit.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is also a major game changer for technical services. By linking a device with a data-reaching sensor, field service teams can access valuable data about the device performance. This shifts the idea of maintenance as reactive (when things go wrong) to proactive, where problems are tackled before they happen. This reduces downtime, saving precious resources and make customers happy by anticipating and addressing their needs.
4. Optimise planning and inventory management
Imagine two scenarios. In the first the engineer doesn’t know where to go, what problem the customer has, and he or she doesn’t have the right parts in order to solve the problem the same day. In the second scenario the organisation is equipped with a CRM tool that allows them to compare the skills of available technicians with the problem and automatically sends the best person for the job. The engineer arrives on time, knows what the problem is and has the knowledge and the right parts to fix the problem right away.
The second experience is one that field service organisations must pursue. Microsoft Dynamics matches skill and competence requirements to available resources, so that the workload is distributed intelligently.
Profitable field service starts now
How? By ensuring that the right skills and resources are associated with each task, by equipping every technician with mobile tools and insights that have been developed for human interaction and by embracing emerging technologies, such as IoT. By following the above steps you can change your field service activities into a profitable business that can compete and win in the service economy.Bookmark field service videos on YouTube