According to Forbes magazine, the field of customer service is becoming very customer-centric. As field service organizations look to expand and fine-tune their own operations, they may sometimes use business partners and temporary vendors to achieve their goals. Below explains three reasons why using third-party providers may be necessary and two reasons why field service organizations may need to use in-house talent.
Field Service Diversity
The field service sector involves a rich variety of services and industries that field service managers may deal with every day. For example, the services may involve software, assessment and outsourced service management. It may involve workforce management consulting or third-party contractor strategizing. The industries that utilize field service management include retail, utilities, insurance, construction, government, manufacturing, telecommunications and home warranty. Field service managers may have to work with different vendors, contractors and shareholders to run operations, so knowing how to build alliances and maximize cooperation will benefit them.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) states that vertical integration plays a significant role in business performance. Although field service providers will not merge with their partners, they will benefit from sharing information and mutual understanding. A spirit of mutually beneficial collaboration will increase efficiency and customer service quality. There is more to offer clients than just routine support and services. A break-and-fix model focus on short-term, tactical objectives like achieving milestones and putting out daily fires. Organizations that work together may discover new opportunities for business collaboration and new services.
Customers are usually the best source of inspiration for deciding how, why and when to expand operations or add new services. Regular customer satisfaction surveys are often used to elicit feedback and understand the customer experience, but they there are other legitimate sources of business intelligence. Partners and shareholders may have exclusive experience and knowledge about their industry and certain customers, so it may help to have strategic planning meetings. This may uncover hidden roadblocks, identify performance gaps and trigger brainstorming sessions. This is an excellent way to conduct informal market and industry research.
Invest in Employees
The only reason that a field service organization will reach out to another provider is because they lack the skills, people, resources or technology. Instead of continually outsourcing certain tasks, it may make long-term, strategic sense to train internal staff. Offering employees a better salary and room for growth can reduce turnover and outsourcing risks. Industry secrets, intellectual property and exclusive information will be more likely remain confidential. Management may require employees to sign non-compete or non-disclosure contracts, which may not be possible with third-party organizations. In-house talent may be able to achieve technical solutions faster, unlike outsiders who may have prior commitments.
The Challenges of Outsourcing
Field service managers may continually struggle to find a reliable, affordable and high-quality service provider. This time-consuming process may delay projects and schedules. So many field service organizations deal with niche markets and unique customers, so it may be difficult to find someone who perfectly fits their needs. Some may be focused on working for only larger companies or visa versa. Certain freelancers and small businesses may exaggerate their talent, availability and success rates. The best field service providers will likely be in high demand, so it may be hard to get their commitment when needed. Finally, field service providers generally cost more per hour than an in-house employee who will not be in the field service managers’ control.
Field service management needs sustainable business relationships to build and maintain synergy, transparency, structured communication and value-added services. Ideally, field service managers and executives will be fully aware of how their business culture integrates and interacts with different dynamics and organizational backgrounds.