Field Service panel debate: All change please? Paul White

Apr 03, 2014 • FeaturesManagementcost centre to profit centreFuture of FIeld Servicefuture of field servicemplsystemsPaul White

The field service industry continues to evolve at pace. New technologies are constantly emerging which have the potential to change the industry as we know it.

At the same time we are seeing a huge cultural shift with many seeking to realign their service division from cost centre to profit centre. To help us keep up with these changes Field Service News has put together a panel of five field service industry experts and asked them each to share their insight on the industry today. Second in the firing line is Paul White, CEO mplsystems


What is the biggest driver for change in field service today?

It’s all about customer expectations, today’s smart phone empowered customers expect immediate service when they want it - or they’ll switch. Delivering field service is no longer just about dispatching resources. Instead the focus is on delivering end-to-end customer service targets and reacting to changes in real time. However the reality for most organisations is still a proliferation of disconnected systems and processes that make it impossible to monitor and deliver true end-to-end service. Systems integration simply won’t fix this for most organisations, it will just result in inevitable manual data fill and mistakes – and an inability to deliver the reactivity and service that customers demand.


Which technology has had the biggest impact on the field service industry in the last 5 years?

The ability to deploy affordable field service apps on standard mobile consumer smart phones and tablets rather than expensive dedicated devices has had the biggest impact, enabling an entirely new generation of connected field service solutions. You can now equip field staff to support customer engagement activities, track on-site attendance and feed back into HR, monitor time in the field for improved financial management, as well as provide specialist telematics services - all via flexible smart phone apps. However, these will still require integration to avoid the kind of piecemeal approach that inevitably leads to efficiencies, with vital customer data getting stuck in individual departments.


What is the most important consideration when moving from cost centres to profit centres?

Turning field service from a cost centre into a profit centre demands an end-to-end approach that’s reactive to customer requests and strengthens loyalty by driving out errors. This then empowers those people who spend most time with your customers – your field service staff – to identify and action the right cross sell and upsell opportunities with your loyal customers. An engineer fixing the lighting, for example, may notice that an air conditioning system also needs work – so it’s important that they have the sales mechanisms in place to immediately recommend and action repairs.


Who is Paul White? 


Paul White joined mplsystems as Chief Executive Officer in May 2005. Paul has spent the last 20 years working in and around the Field Service and Contact Centre industry and is one of the industry pioneers in the creation of affordable service management and CRM and Customer Service contact centre solutions. Prior to joining mplsystems Paul was the founding CEO of BT Contact Central, which, over 4 years, grew into a global business across UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. Whilst at BT, Paul was responsible for designing some of the largest CRM and Customer Service solutions in Europe and had major roles in systems architecture, product management and sales.


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