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Is Excellent Customer Service Really a Loss Leader?

Service operations has traditionally been one of the most costly departments in any manufacturing, wholesale, or retail organization, especially the logistics of a complex field service organization. Considered a cost center that relies on revenue generated by sales and other parts of the business, it has always been the conventional wisdom that streamlining operations and cutting expenses is the only way to maximize profitability of service operations. In fact, according to Inc., “5% increase in operating profit margin equals a 20% increase in profit.”

In today’s digital world, however, there’s a new way of calculating the value of service operations, and it goes well beyond a toll-free number and an email address you answer during your business hours. Actually, you don’t even make the initial value calculations … the customer does. And it works anyway.

Studies indicate that the customer experience journey is no longer dictated by the organization and what they choose to offer. While cost-containment and productivity are useful internal metrics, they rarely productively support customer relationships. Customers are demanding customized, transparent – and perfect – interactions, and if they don’t get what they want, they are taking their budgets to the company that makes that promise.

The opportunities to more effectively and efficiently interact with customers the way they choose, with the information they need, brought about by Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced Mobile Workforce Management Software (MWFMS) have changed service operations from a cost center to a revenue generator. A study by Avaya and BT Research found that 82% of consumers will buy more from companies that make it easier to do business with them.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.”

Companies need to provide a more immersive experience – seamlessly and transparently – without interrupting service delivery to add customer-centric features once they realize they’re lagging the industry.

So how can you find more opportunities to cultivate the loyal, profitable customers that simplify your service delivery and maximize your profitability? How can you proactively evolve your customer offer past sales and break-fix provide all that customers are looking for?

The most important – and easiest -- way is to leverage the knowledge of those individuals who know your customers best, who have developed relationships with them … your employees. By turning your customer service team, especially your field service employees, into sales advocates, you are organically adding to your sales team – and your potential for maximizing profit.

Best-in-class organizations are investing in technology and knowledge capabilities for their field service teams, allowing them to deliver superior service and more first-time resolutions in this new age of customer expectations. These tools not only provide regular insights into field operations, they also enable reporting for measurement and continuous improvement.

A ServicePower platform makes it easy for you to leverage even more power from the innovative, performance-tested, cloud-based MWFMS technology. Intelligently managing a hybrid workforce is more than meeting demand spikes, staffing remote areas, or supplying low-volume skills sets. It also includes full mobilization of customer and company information, e.g., customer entitlements, status updates, and work order history.

A technician app accessible to all field workers on a mobile device supports better task completion, better customer service, and support superior returns by facilitating:

  • Simplified scheduling and service delivery
  • Digital touchpoints across company, customer, and crew
  • Streamlined work and asset maintenance through asset-based IoT
  • Direct communication with field crew on their own mobile device
  • Improved call center operations by reducing live interaction for simple transactions
  • Optimized likelihood of cost-efficient first-time fixes
  • Paperless job tracking, work order approval/sign-off, and any applicable invoices
  • Efficient customer feedback for valuable business insights
  • Improved customer lifetime value
  • Reduced overall costs

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