Five Golden Rules Every Great Field Service Organisation Follows

Five Golden Rules Every Great Field Service Organisation Follows

Five Golden Rules Every Great Field Service Organisation Follows

Surprise and delight. Sound familiar? For years, that’s been the go-to phrase when it comes to customer experience.

The mantra’s stuck around for a reason, but the route to the promised land has changed.

Now, surprise and delight means not only delivering great customer experiences, but leveraging the power of tech in doing so – a fact that holds true for field service organisations in particular.

The reality is that in today’s hyper-competitive, tech-saturated marketplace, customers have come expect more than ever before from Field Service Organisations (FSOs):

  • Personalisation.
  • Rapid order turnaround.
  • Agility.

At the same time, strategies that place too much value on new customer acquisitions through a short-term tech focus tend to be unsustainable.

So, how can FSOs navigate this new business landscape and use tech to power long-term sustainable goals? Here are five rules to bear in mind:

1. Avoid profit tunnel vision

Sales graph
It’s easy to become blinkered by a profit-focused mindset. While that attitude may work for a while – or seem to – the problem is this: when profit generation becomes (and stays) uppermost of mind, short-term decision making tends to dominate, to the detriment of more important long-term goals.

The next client … the next big sale … focusing too hard on these can come at the cost of your current customer base.

Remember: your existing customer base is your most profitable base. Also: it’s expensive to acquire new customers. Your current customers’ experience with your organisation should therefore be a high priority. So, improve the customer journey, making sure it’s studded with positive interactions and value-adds – repeat business and referrals await.

Consider this: a customer calls in, needing to have a piece of equipment repaired. The repairs are done, and the customer walks away happy. However, since the customer isn’t a specialist, what he’ll remember most about the process is the customer service he received. Sometimes it’s just as much about how you make a customer feel as the actual service you provide.

2. Tackle tech phobia

Learning
Yes, tech can be expensive. And for some, the promised benefits – increased efficiency, streamlined workflows, improved agility – can seem a little intangible.

However, the reality is: your competitors get it. They know the value of tech. And chances are, they’re investing in it a big way.

The result? When enough businesses begin to transform, everything in the marketplace changes. The benchmarks customers expect service providers to meet go way up. The ways in which clients expect to interact with businesses (including yours) are completely remade.

Consider:

  • The rewards of real-time. Mobile technology means that field techs can connect to real-time feeds from the office and customers. This not only means they’re more visible, but that they’re able to respond far more quickly to changes or order updates. Are your field techs making use of mobile?
  • The way the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing machine maintenance. The old paradigm: a device breaks or needs an overhaul. Only then does a customer phone in with a request for service. The new model: IoT devices send and receive data all the time. Now, you can receive an automatic notification of the need for a service or repair, without either you or your customer needing to lift a finger. Now imagine this: your local car service centre phones you, because your car has sent an alert that it’s time for a service. The agent asks if he or she can book you in for a Tuesday morning, your preferred time, based on past data. You agree – it’s not only convenient, but you’re left with the sense that your service centre really cares.

3. Don’t dodge data

ROI
The right customer information – information you’re probably already collecting – contains a goldmine of untapped business potential. That is, if you have the right tools to uncover it.

The right data analysis can reveal everything from up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, to ways in which to maximise your most profitable customer relationships, refine service delivery based on past feedback and identify your most profitable customer groups and product types. Gone is guesswork. In its place – data-guided decision making.

More importantly – data is the core of personalisation. And personalisation has come to define the most critical interactions in business today. Customers expect you to understand their needs and provide tailored, individualised service. To do that – and do it well, without draining your resources – you need the right tools to dig into your data.

For example, by knowing what products or services a customer ordered from you in the past allows you to streamline how you interact. It also allows you to suggest relevant options, upgrades and associated services.

4. Increase efficiency

ROI
Driving profitability is not all about what’s ‘out there’. In fact, what’s going on inside your business is often the most critical aspect when it comes to your bottom line.

Schedule optimisation is one internal process that can drastically improve profit. For example: by using Microsoft Dynamics 365, technicians can dramatically increase the number of appointments they’re able to fit in each day, improving both productivity and profitability.

As your business grows, increasing efficiency becomes paramount. Failing to put the systems in place to allow you to grow – without adding to headcount – can mean the difference between linear and exponential profit growth.

5. Don’t forget your most effective sales channel – your field technicians

ROI
Finally, consider your field techs – the people who are out there interacting with customers every day.

Field techs are the face of a business. So, make sure you empower them to consult with and add value to each client interaction.

This can mean anything from adding a touch of personalisation to every meeting, going the extra mile when it comes to fulfilling an order, or using tech to streamline order processing, parts ordering and payment. Doing so can be a powerful differentiator in the market.

Get the right Person. To the right Place. At the Right Time.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service

 

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Gartner: Microsoft a Visionary in Field Service

Gartner: Microsoft a Visionary in Field Service

Gartner: Microsoft a Visionary in Field Service

It’s only been two years. After entering the Field Service market in 2015, through the acquisition of FieldOne Systems, Microsoft has made rapid progress. Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant (for Field Service Management) now places them in the Visionary category:

“U.S.-based Microsoft is a Visionary on the basis of the breadth of capabilities it offers on a single platform”

Gartner went on to state:

“[Microsoft’s] Dynamics 365 for Field Service covers end-to-end service, including capabilities not found in many competing solutions, such as predictive equipment maintenance management and contract, depot repair and inventory management.”

At The CRM Team, we’re very excited about this. Dynamics 365 for Field Service is developing at an incredible rate. For example, we love its ability to connect to the Internet of Things and initiate preventative maintenance for devices. Gone are the days of service departments scrambling when something goes down. With constant monitoring of devices over the cloud, service companies can intervene at a much earlier stage. With Dynamic’s 365’s built-in intelligence, this early warning process can be automated. All these efficiencies create a better customer experience AND reduce costs.  With Microsoft’s extensive research budget, it’s only going to get better and better. Gartner highlighted this rapid pace of development in their report:

“Microsoft has… an aggressive product development roadmap… a result of significant growth in license sales and active users.”

With 90,000 active users of Dynamics 365 for Field Service around the world, companies are adopting it in their droves. We’ve helped a number of companies adopt Dynamics 365 for Field Service ourselves, both in South Africa and the UK. It’s truly an end-to-end solution. Have you considered transforming your vision of field service? Download the full Gartner report here or, better still, see how Dynamics 365 for Field Service revolutionized Michelin’s service division. It’s a fascinating short video:
Want to explore how we could help you transform your field service? Get in touch.

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Run a field service business? Here’s why efficiency is everything

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Run a field service business? Here’s why efficiency is everything

Read the statistics – they paint an interesting picture. Consider this:

  • 91% of customers stay loyal to brands that offer low-effort interactions
  • Only 4% of service organisations can solve an inquiry using a single application
  • 77% of consumers globally have a more favourable view of brands that offer proactive service notifications.

Conclusion: customers love efficiency. They stay loyal to companies able to offer it. However, very few businesses are able to offer the kind of service that keeps customers coming back. If you’re one of the few that can, you’ve got a powerful market differentiator – one that can allow you to carve out a niche in the market.

Here are 4 ways the right toolset can drive efficiency for that market-leading edge.

1. Intelligent Scheduling.

A great top-down view is key to optimising service delivery. If dispatchers can access real-time information on where technicians are, accurate, efficient scheduling becomes possible. Workloads and resources can be better balanced too, and more appointments scheduled per day. The result: productivity gets a massive boost.

2. Remote Monitoring

On-site assistance should be carried out only when necessary. The right technology can help you detect, troubleshoot and resolve issues remotely when possible. Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance also become possible when you have the right tools. Moreover, systems can be designed to ask customers the right questions upfront. Do this and you can ensure you dispatch technician only when necessary – and that when you do, you always send the right person for the job.

3. Streamlined Administration.

Admin is the enemy. It eats into energy and resources. By streamlining the back office, your time is far better spent. The right technology means that client emails, phone calls and appointments can be monitored at the click of a button, and stored in one place, against their client record. Clients can also be kept informed at any stage of the engagement, with updates being sent by staff from any device. Further, when you have the ability to generate reports instantly, you can prioritise the most important clients and ensure you always provide great experiences to your customers.

4. Efficient Contract and SLA management.

Field service organisations have tons of info to keep track of. And while background information is key, it can quickly become a burden. Technology can provide key alerts and prompts, making insights actionable. For example, when service contracts, warranties and installed products are kept up to date, business flows far more smoothly. Driving additional revenue becomes possible too. Accurate contract information can ensure you are offering renewals at the right time, and not letting any contracts expire.

Conclusion: customers care about service. Organisations able to keep interactions low-effort build customer loyalty. The right toolsets such as Microsoft Dynamics for Field Service can connect and empower service technicians, facilitate optimal scheduling and enable optimised contract management. From customers’ perspectives, the result is smooth, seamless service delivery – the kind of interactions that keep them coming back.
Want to explore how we could help you transform your field service?

Get in touch.

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