Aberdeen Group recently surveyed 377 service and manufacturing organizations and found the top four market pressures they currently face are:
- rising customer expectations
- reduced margins
- increased product complexity
Delivering outstanding service plays a huge role in addressing these pressures.
Organizations can no longer simply deliver “good enough” service or get by with “reactive” service, so long as SLAs are being met. The pressures listed above mandate that service organizations and manufacturers invest in technology and continuously improve efficiency in order to impress customers with service that goes above and beyond.
How to Improve Your Customer Value and Service Excellence
The Best-in-Class have transformed their service operations to meet this new mandate and their efforts have been guided by these two principles:
- Deliver value, not just a window of service. Many industries – utilities, oil and gas, and heavy equipment manufacturing to name a few – depend on service delivering resolution, not just executing on an appointment. When dollars and safety are on the line, showing up is important, but resolving the issue is what really matters. The field team and the service organization need to be informed of problems in advance of a service call; the right technician with the right skills and the right tools must show up on the customer site, and the issue must be resolved on the first visit. What’s more, each service call provides the team with the opportunity to educate customers and help them understand how issues can be avoided, rather than simply closing the work order and moving on.
- Capture enhanced intelligence on assets. In industries where downtime isn’t critical to the business, having performance data on assets and machines is not necessarily a priority. For example, if a cable box fails, it is an inconvenience but not an emergency (of course, missing the latest episode of your favorite TV show may seem critical). If you run a utility, however, a neighborhood going without power in a winter storm is not acceptable. For this reason, it is essential that you have equipment and assets that can be monitored remotely and that you can troubleshoot without a truck roll. These capabilities make proactive service possible. A service organization has to know when something has failed, but organizations that know when performance is degrading and have the ability to push a fix remotely are truly Best-in-Class.
Not every organization has to deliver service in a mission-critical environment. Companies in the oil and gas, utilities, and heavy equipment industries do have to, however. For them, service excellence is a must.
The promise of smarter assets and a constant flow of performance insight data has helped the best organizations excel at resolving issues before they suffer unplanned or extended downtime. They are able to deliver service that is proactive and predictive, as their customers rightly expect.
Given today’s competitive pressures, failing to provide this level of service can result in more than a failed SLA. Don’t give your customers a reason to take their business elsewhere.