Sumair Dutta, Chief Customer Officer, Service Council takes a look at some of the key areas of focus field service organisations need to consider in order to deliver success in 2017...
Annual predictions and forecasts are an interesting activity/discipline. I like to think of them as annual affirmations as strategic investments don’t necessarily change year-over-year.
In some instances, organisations are looking to expand on what they’ve been doing.
I believe the four primary areas of focus that will yield success in 2017 will be:
- Increasing Predictability
- Enhancing Efficiency
- Identifying New Opportunities
- Empowering Customers with Access and Information
The internal investments in data, automation, talent development, and engagement process realignment must be aligned with these objectives .
In each of the four focus areas, I’d like to share an activity or investment that’s likely to be top of mind.
Focus Initiative: Executing on Predictive Models.
In our research, we’ve found that most organisations have used investments in IoT or analytics to increase their efficiency.
They are finally turning an eye to the predictive power of this information and in building delivery models to support predictive service. Effective delivery models (over-the-air, self-service, remote assistance, partner-based support, field support) of predictive support can be built on the existing reactive infrastructure, but do require an investment in training, communication, and change management. To that end, the service organisation needs the support of other business groups, mainly R&D, IT, and Sales and Marketing.
Emerging Initiative: Going deeper into customer feedback data to predict future events and avert negative outcomes.
Focus Initiative: Better Use of Better Information.
Over the past five years, service organisations have made significant investments in mobility to empower the field service staff and in unified desktops to empower contact center staff.
In these investments, organisations have focused on making sure that all information necessary was available at the front-lines. The problem was that the information wasn’t available in context, making it difficult for front-line staff to use this information.
To tackle the glut of information on the front-end, we do see organisations re-evaluate technology investments to ensure that the right information is prioritised for front-line staff. Outside of technology, we actually see a great deal of investment into the structure and design of training programs and content to ensure that front-line agents are able to act on information that is made available to them.
Emerging Initiative: Evaluating Augmented or merged reality in field service and in training as it enhances the reach and scale of a centralised expert model and drives more from available and experienced talent.
Identifying New Opportunities
Focus Initiative: Diving into Installed Base Management.
While organisations are always on the lookout for new customers and new services to sell to those customers, there is an increasing recognition of the need to accomplish more with the existing installed base. In this, organisations are focusing their analytical minds on the portfolio of existing customers and the products and services that might be needed to improve retention and increase customer value.
Emerging Initiative: The development of customer care (customer success) teams that enable a consistent communication with customers to uncover pain points, challenges, and opportunities.
Empowering Customers with Information and Access
Focus Initiative: Improving Ease and Reducing Effort.
Motivational speakers often state that a differentiated experience comes from the ability of an organisation to surprise and delight its customers. In equipment-centric service the word surprise isn’t looked at as a positive.
Yet, there is a greater push from equipment manufacturers (and other organisations) to improve the experience that’s delivered to customers. Some of this can be attributed to consumerised experiences delivered by the likes of Uber and Amazon. Organisations we work with are looking to make it easier for customers to do business with them and this correlates with reducing customer angst and effort in seeking and acting on information.
Emerging Initiative: The use of messaging as a communication channel in on overall interaction portfolio to offer customers a greater degree of choice and convenience.
2017 is going to be anything but predictable. Yet the recipe for service success doesn’t change much.
Customers continue to take charge with increasing demands and expectations and organisations must respond with clinical efficiency internally and value filled interactions and touch points with customers.