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Aberdeen- The Path to Field Service Excellence

April 22, 2013

The Path to Field Service Excellence Begins with a Tech and a Customer

Field service excellence is not a new topic (especially for those of you reading this blog post). However, many organizations have still yet to get it right. In Aberdeen’s State of Service Management: Outlook for 2013 report (January 2013), 45% of respondents indicated that field service was an integral area for investment in 2013. The importance of this operation will continue to be highlighted at this week’s Field Service 2013 where through case studies the integral nature of field service to the viability of the organization (both profitability and improved efficiency) will be displayed. The story of field service excellence will be used to show:

  • the evolution of field service from a break / fix reactive operation to a more predictive and preventive solution for customers. Customers no longer tolerate poor service. Recent Aberdeen research on Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide (February 2013) showed that the top pressure facing the field service market was increased competition in service (46%, n=156). With the proliferation of service competition (and the added consumerization of customer service expectations), the service organization must strive to continuously be excellent at service / support. A reactive service organization is one that will struggle to satisfy its customers. Top performing organizations were more than two times as likely as the industry average to add-on preventive service tasks during routine break / fix visits (46% vs. 21%, respectively). This proactive service not only helps resolve customer issues before they arise (thus improving customer satisfaction), it also improves field worker utilization and reduces the cost of an additional truck roll.
  • how top performing organizations empower their technicians to not only fix broken or down assets, but build partnerships with customers and unearth opportunities to cross- and up-sell new products / services. These organizations do not force their techs to sell while potentially negatively impacting the customer relationship, but instead enable their field team to understand customer needs to truly resolve current and future issues.
  • the importance of providing technicians with the right tools in order to ultimately improve efficiency / utilization and not just hand them the latest device on the market. In recent Aberdeen research on Field Service 2013, top performing organization prioritized strategies tied to the investment of mobile tools to provide better access to information for techs while in the field and also enable captured service information to be made available across the organization. The automation roadmap for the top performers is not solely based on the latest technology fad, these organization significantly rely on the integration between field service automation and back office systems (i.e., ERP, CRM, Parts Management, HR Systems). These top performing organizations understand that the true path to success is paved by both access and usability of data to drive decisions and future performance.

The field service operations will continue to be a key area of challenge and differentiation for many service organizations in 2013 and beyond. Customers expect more from the service organization, but the top performers will use this as an opportunity to leverage their field service teams to not only exceed customer expectations but also improve operational efficiency and profitability goals.

Visit ServicePower at Field Service 2013 Booth 11 for more details or email hello@servicepower.com!

written by:

Aly Pinder, Senior Research Associate at Aberdeen Group

As a senior associate in the customer experience and service management practice, Aly Pinder Jr. researches and explores how service and manufacturing executives utilize technology and implement best practices to improve post-sales service and support processes. Through practitioner benchmarking and analysis of Aberdeen’s research database, he examines how Best-in-Class service organizations are reengineering their service chains for improved performance and increased profitability.

Aly’s coverage areas within the service space primarily cover the following topics on which he has written or co-authored over 40 research reports and bench marked more than 4,000 service executives in his four plus years with Aberdeen:

  • Field Service and Mobility
  • Service Parts Logistics
  • Warranty and Service Contract Management
  • Reverse Logistics

Follow Aly at: @Aberdeen_cesm, @Pinderjr

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