Beyond Great Service: The Solution (Part 1)

Oct 16, 2017 • FeaturesManagementmanagementbeyond great serviceJim Baston

As we continue our exclusive serialisation of Jim Baston’s excellent service industry focussed book Beyond Great Service, our protagonist Charlie has begun to edge closer to an epiphany in his quest to establish a perfect balance between service and sales...

If you're new to this series then you can catch up on the story so far by clicking here

Last time Charlie and Ken had uncovered the four hurdles that could sabotage their efforts of engaging their technicians in making proactive recommendations and thereby identified the factors critical to their success.

We join Charlie as he works to put his plan together to implement the strategy.

That evening after dinner, Charlie retrieved his journal and sat down in the study. It was a busy day and Charlie had very little time to reflect on the discussions he’d been having with Ken, although they never quite left his mind. Thoughts kept popping back into his head at odd times throughout the day.

Had they really found the answer to generating more sales revenue through their field service technicians AND improving the level of customer service?

Could management really expect to enhance the customer’s experience by being more proactive in approaching the customer via the techs to do more business with them?

Perhaps the reason many companies were not successfully differentiating their business through this proactive model was because they had not addressed all four of the hurdles.

Could they truly differentiate the business through this strategy?


It almost seemed too simplistic. After all, managers with a lot more experience in technical services than Charlie have considered this opportunity to engage the technicians.

If it was such a good approach, why weren’t more companies successfully applying this strategy?

Looking at the four hurdles on the page in the journal, Charlie began to feel more confident that he was on the right track. Perhaps the reason many companies were not successfully differentiating their business through this proactive model was because they had not addressed all four of the hurdles.

Maybe they simply sent their techs on training courses on how to sell.

Maybe they did not have the systems and processes in place to support the increase in business opportunities brought in from the field. Perhaps they did not reinforce the training or the strategy on a regular basis. Whatever the explanation, Charlie began to realise that if Novus was going to be successful, they would have a lot of work to do.

Charlie knew they needed an implementation plan if they were going to make this work. He jotted down a few steps that he felt would be important to get the strategy right.

He intended to share these with Ken, fine-tune them as necessary and then create a schedule to put them into action. Charlie wrote:

  1. Draft a plan to address the four hurdles.
  2. Reduce the strategy to a short summary that could be shared with the technicians and customers.
  3. Sound out the technicians to get their perspective and suggestions.
  4. Identify some customers to visit to discuss the plan to help hone the approach and the unique service proposition.
  5. Fine-tune the plan and put it into action.[/ordered_list]

Charlie then drew a chart on a blank page in the journal:

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 01.00.30

There were three columns and five rows. Across the top row, Charlie wrote Hurdle, Comments and Preliminary Action Plan. In each of the remaining four rows he put the four hurdles. When he finished a couple of hours later, the chart looked like the one laid out on the previous page.

Charlie looked at the table he had created and smiled. He knew that the hard part had just begun, but he felt good. He had the basic strategy in place, one that he felt would engage the techs and also be valued by Novus’ customers. The next step would be to review this with Ken and reduce the strategy to a simple statement. That would have to wait until another day.

Thinking about your business:

  • Do you have a clear and concise plan to implement your proactive business approach with your technicians?
  • Have you discussed the matter with your customers to get their input?
  • What steps have you taken to fully engage your service team in the process?
  • Next time we will touch base with Charlie as he explains the plan to the technicians.



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