Frankie Guynes, Customer Success Manager of FieldAware outlines what field service organisations should consider before making the next move in their field service maturity planning...
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Frankie Guynes, Customer Success Manager of FieldAware outlines what field service organisations should consider before making the next move in their field service maturity planning...
You might think I am biased, but I truly believe that my Customer Success team has the best job. Why? Because that job allows us to participate in our client’s growth and success. Each day, we guide our clients to overcome all types of obstacles, ensuring they are getting everything they need from their field service solution. In fact, identifying these obstacles together, and supporting the client through their own individual maturity model is what ultimately makes the difference in their organisations.
To explain better: we work with clients who are at various stages of field service maturity. We use a well-established model which outlines five stages. By identifying a client’s current stage, we can more succinctly consult with clients on process improvements and activities that will progress them through the stages of maturity.
The stages start at basic, reactive business operations moving to more transformative business operations. The obstacles faced by these businesses are different; varying from lack of standard processes, poor change management, or inadequate technology. We focus on overcoming these obstacles, and the role that can play to advance an organisation to a market leader in their industry.
Wherever an organisation is in their field service maturity, what matters most is for the organisation to: map out a quick-path-to-value in their current stage of maturity, visualise where they want to be in the maturity model, and execute on operational changes that move the organisation to that goal.
The Right Fit Software
My team is greeted by many organisations that are “getting by” with existing technologies and processes. These technologies and processes are typically born from gaps in business processes as their business continues to grow. When technologies are deployed from necessity, organisations find themselves unable to scale; hampered by these disparate processes.
Although there are many factors that are involved in an organisation’s maturity stage, it is without question that the effectiveness of their technology is highly impactful. With technology as a cornerstone to success for an organisation’s maturity, organisations need to evaluate software based on the current state and the goal state for their business.
"The effectiveness of their technology is highly impactful..."
This doesn’t mean to implement technology well beyond the organisation’s current field service maturity, making change management and success difficult to achieve. Rather, find software that stretches beyond the current maturity stage and that allows the organisation to evolve within the technology.
The Path to Success
A fundamental step to success is for field service leaders to invest time to map out the current state of their organisation, along with a clear vision of the goal state. They must ensure that the technology for which they invest can evolve and support the business through their own field service operational maturity.
Mapping out the current state of the organisation consists of three activities. First, carry out a need’s assessment with an honest evaluation of current inefficiencies in organisational processes. Then, evaluate how current technology could evolve to support organisational changes, and finally, take a critical look at the decision-making process of investing in new technology.
This exercise inevitably means greater knowledge of your business; its operations and areas that are preventing the organisation from increased growth or value. It is essential to identify,
document, and “well-circulate” the goal state of the organisation and the measurements that will be used by leaders to identify success in these metrics.
When tackling this, it can help by focusing on the business goal and work backwards from that point. For example, delivering added-value to customers is a priority for many organisations, so it is given that operational changes should support this, and technology developments should enable it. Therefore, starting with this end point will mean a greater understanding of how the business can deliver this customer value successfully and consistently and what that looks like.
Use What you Have
Mapping out your current state will also uncover if you are making the most of your current technology. An important part of my role is to ensure our team is helping clients get everything they need from the solution. This means all software releases are communicated and demonstrated through solutioning sessions. It means new users are fully trained, and advanced solutions on the platform are well implemented.
In the end, I advise organisations to seek guidance from software experts to help with the journey. Transformative technologies can be difficult to navigate and implement into an organisation’s business processes. Find a technology partner that well identifies your organisational maturity path and that will help evolve your field service maturity from concept to reality.
Crowdsourcing is an established trend in the workplace, although primarily known from industries such as software engineering, rideshare platforms or finance in the form of crowdfunding.
However, companies in field service are increasingly recognizing the benefits of this collaboration model for their business strategy. Amongst some of the advantages are a faster processing of service orders or improved customer satisfaction to name just a few.
But why exactly should companies jump on the crowd service bandwagon?
Build a strong ecosystem with skilled partners
By establishing a crowd service concept in their field service management, companies can add as many external technicians to their talent pool as they require in addition to their internal technicians – sourced from its partners and subsidiaries to freelancers.
That way, they create an ecosystem of certified experts performing simple tasks such as installing standardized machines and equipment or replacing cables, but also solving complex issues with specially configured systems or according software. In that case, it is of paramount importance that this expert knowledge is digitally recorded.
"Crowdsourcing is an established trend in the workplace..."
Finally, companies can expand their knowledge pool. This is especially important for very specific maintenance and repair tasks of old equipment at a time when highly qualified specialists are becoming rare or they are already retired.
Accelerate the completion of service orders
After having received a service call, the artificial intelligence-based crowd service tool can match the most suitable and qualified technician from the pool with the specific service request. The technicians are selected based on their location, availability and work schedules, required skills and additional criteria that companies can determine individually.
Afterwards, the system sends a request to the technician’s mobile device. The expert can then accept the service job and receive all the information needed for the tasks in the application. Once the assigned tasks have been completed, the technicians receive a fixed payment for their job – and customers can rate the performance the same way they would rate a driver working for a ride-share provider.
Transform customers to fans
So, what is the biggest advantage of crowd service? The improved customer experience for your clients, of course. Benefiting from a larger pool of technicians, companies can respond to service requests faster and reduce the waiting time for their customers.
Moreover, sending the most suitable technician to the job that needs to be done leads to a higher service quality, boosts your first-time fix rate and, therefore, leads to minimized downtimes of mission critical machines and equipment.
This is the decisive moment in customer service: companies need to help their customers to achieve their business goals despite machine or equipment failures.
In return, customers will reward companies with their loyalty.
Manuel Grenacher is GM of SAP Service Cloud.
Managed print services (MPS) emerged to help deal with the commoditisation of the supplies business and injected new blood into a struggling industry. Years later, MPS itself has become a commodity and, once again, office print providers are...
Managed print services (MPS) emerged to help deal with the commoditisation of the supplies business and injected new blood into a struggling industry. Years later, MPS itself has become a commodity and, once again, office print providers are looking for new ways of doing things.
This article, from service management software firm Asolvi, looks at the rise of seat-based billing and how it could facilitate a new wave of innovation that will help providers transcend beyond print.
The Commoditisation Issue
These new MPS contracts were a win-win. They secured ongoing revenue for dealers while helping customers reduce their printing costs. MPS gave the office print industry a powerful boost.
Yet here we are again with a commoditised product. Only now it’s MPS itself, the one distinguishing feature between most MPS offerings being the price. Still, if there’s anything that office print providers are used to, it’s rapid change. So now they’re looking for a new way to sell. A new way to package their goods and services to create value for the customer and differentiate themselves from the competition.
In this industry, there’s always a new way. One of them is seat-based billing (SBB), an alternative to the traditional way of billing for managed print, which is cost per page (CPP). A number of our clients in this space have expressed an interest in moving from CPP to SBB. As a result, we are already looking at ways of developing our MPS field service management software to accommodate SBB contracts.
But what exactly is SBB? And how does it differ from CPP?
Cost Per Page (CPP) Versus Seat-Based Billing (SBB)
The popularity and wide adoption of the CPP model is one of the reasons it can be difficult to set your solutions apart from the competition. An even bigger problem is that it puts you and your customer at odds. You want your customer to print more. Your customer wants to print less. Indeed the whole premise of an MPS solution is to reduce unnecessary printing. And since page volumes are shrinking, basing your organisation’s revenue on a linear association with those volumes is unsustainable.
However, seat-based billing (SBB) is now emerging as a more sustainable alternative. Also known as per-user billing or cost per seat, SBB is based on staff numbers rather than pages printed. It is a flat fee billed per end user per month that covers support for all print-enabled devices each person uses.
This could include locally connected printers, desktop printers, multifunction devices (MFDs), fax machines and scanners as well as all consumables, maintenance, parts and software. It plays into the all-you-can-eat mentality that so many customers want and is already popular in other industries, e.g. TV and music subscription services like Netflix and Spotify.
SBB involves a shift in perspective, focusing on users and their needs and behaviours rather than the number of pages printed. This offers an escape from the commoditised world of CPP pricing as well as access to new and more profitable revenue streams. It also ensures perfect alignment between you and your customer. Your customer will spend less but you will make more. This makes for a stronger partnership between you.
How Can You Make More Money With SBB?
For example, you could look to add the following to each seat:
- Hardware (printers, copiers, MFDs, desktop computers, servers etc.)
- Document management software
- Workflow software
- Print governance software
- Managed IT services
- Coffee and water services
- Digital signage and displays
- Telecommunications including IP telephony and VoIP
The Challenges Of Maintaining A Profitable Seat Price
It’s important to note that with SBB comes the risk that users will abuse the system and print too much or, for instance, print everything in colour. Even though SBB feels like all-you-can-print, it cannot literally be so. That’s because toner is still the most expensive part of any MPS contract. Moreover, the whole point of MPS is to control an organisation’s print output.
So, to make SBB profitable, you first need to build a seat price that is based on a deep understanding of an organisation’s historical print behaviour. You can do this by way of a thorough user- and device-based assessment that gets rid of any assumptions and unknowns. You then need to put as many controls in place as possible to ensure that users don’t overprint.
The first of these controls is having the right language in your contracts, stipulating volume, colour and coverage ratio limits. The second is including print governance software with each seat. This enables your customers to assign user permissions, set restrictions on printing, and keep track of volume and colour usage.
The third is having a strong field service management (FSM) system that gives you full and detailed visibility and monitoring of all service costs. That FSM system needs to integrate with your customer’s machines and let you easily track toner consumption and contract/machine profitability. Your FSM system should make it immediately obvious when your customer is printing more than they should. Easy access to this data enables you to bill correctly, adjust your contract price and/or terms where necessary, and advise your customer on modifying their print behaviour.
With the right controls and software in place, print management can improve with SBB because it puts a name to behaviour. And while managing print volumes is necessary for both CPP and SBB programs, it’s easier to pinpoint misuse with SBB.
For MPS providers that haven’t yet branched into new areas, SBB makes it easier to do so. Billing in CPP doesn’t really allow you to look much past the page. With SBB you can say to a customer, “For an extra £5 per seat per month, we can take care of your desktop computers as well.” There is no additional contract, just an addendum to the existing one. Nor are there any difficult ROI discussions or a large capital budget approval process as it happens immediately and everything is under subscription.
Going forwards, the ability to continually layer the seat with new offerings is likely to be the biggest advantage of the SBB model. It means that SBB could become a powerful way for office print providers to grow.
After a robust assessment, selection and trial process, ONS has concluded that the Totalmobile solution - which will consist of a combination of mobile working and scheduling capabilities to mobile census field-workers - will join a team of suppliers in helping to deliver its most technologically and digitally advanced census to date.
This will be achieved by deploying Belfast-based Totalmobile’s optimised visit scheduling technologies, enabling staff to follow up with members of the public to ensure they have the support they need to complete the 2021 Census. The award of the ONS contract follows a long, detailed and highly successful trial of the Totalmobile solution undertaken in ONS’ Social Survey Division, where some 750 permanent staff have already adopted Totalmobile’s mobile working and scheduling solutions.
The decision to roll out a comparable technology offering to census field workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland is not only testament to Totalmobile’s ability to deliver innovative solutions that provide transformational benefits, but also the ability to do so at significant scale.
The contract award is the largest in Totalmobile’s history and comes on the back of a very successful Q1 2019 for the Company which saw software revenues and mobile deployments grow at record numbers; as well as the new acquisitions’ integration plans starting to be delivered.
Jim Darragh, CEO of Totalmobile comments: “What a great start we have had to 2019 and this announcement only goes to cement our position as the first-choice provider in the UK FSM market. We have been working hard with the ONS since early 2018, tasked with delivering a market-leading software solution for ONS’ Social Survey Division. We are delighted that this partnership will now be extended into such a vital programme like the 2021 Census, and demonstrates clearly the effectiveness, usability and scalability of our technology. We are all looking forward to working closely with the ONS on what is without doubt one of the largest mobile working projects the UK has seen.”
Customer Experience is the single most important factor in driving customer loyalty and retention. In fact, market research studies show that it costs five times as much to attract as new customer as it does to keep an existing customer satisfied. Repeat customers also spend on average, 67% more than then one-time buyers.
Furthermore, just a 5% increase in retention can yield profit increases in the range of 25% to 95%. Let’s face it, the customer experience does not end once customers make a purchase. It is just beginning. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) not only have a responsibility to keep their customers satisfied through-out their buying journey and ownership lifecycle. They also have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with customers and create more value for them by providing quality, aftermarket services.
There are many factors that influence Customer Experience when it comes to field service. The two most important factors by far are speed of service resolution and first time fix rate. A service provider can excel in every other area of consideration. For example, courtesy of service personnel, ease of doing business, accuracy of billing, experience and knowledge, etc.
However, if takes too long for the FSE to resolve the problem or if the Field Service Engineer (FSE) needs to return because they didn’t fix the problem right the first time, the customer will be unhappy. If this remains a persistent problem, Customer loyalty and retention will suffer.
To prevent this problem from occurring, Field Service Organizations (FSOs) must be aware the bottlenecks, or, barriers, which prevent their FSEs from providing excellent speed of service and first time fix rates. For example, technicians may have:
• Insufficient knowledge to address the issue at hand: For example, they may lack the skills to solve the problem right the first which can result in either a repeat visit or the need to dispatch a different FSE to the customer site, thus extending the length of the downtime.
• Inaccurate or partial data about customers and/or products: FSEs must spend additional time onsite attempting to understand the customer’s problem when this type of situation occurs. Not only do run the risk of making inaccurate repairs when they rely on inaccurate or partial data, they also run the risk of impacting the quality of future repair if they do capture complete or accurate data.
• Inability to communicate effectively with remote experts: This can happen when the remote support expert is not able to understand or visualize the issue described by the FSE and/or when the FSE doesn’t understand the corrective action suggested by the remote experts.
• Inaccurate spare parts inventory - Service visits are closed incomplete or extended when this FSE doesn’t have the right part on hand.
• Non-existent audit trails to track previous service requests or warranty information - This means that FSEs lack the right information to properly troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair the problem. Not only does it increase the chance of a repeat service visits, it results in a situation where the FSO may not be meeting their contractual obligations or providing more service then the customer is entitled to; both have consequences.
Given that FSEs spend almost 1/3rd of their time at the customer site, OEMs must do anything they can to help FSEs avoid these bottlenecks. To ensure FSE optimize the customer experience, companies can turn to several solutions, including:
• Utilizing online forms to capturing critical service information
• Providing FSE with online access to Knowledge resources
• Improving parts availability through catalogs and inventory tracking apps
• Offering remote support to guide technicians to make better diagnostic and repair decisions
• Maximizing customer lifetime value through instant quotes and contracts
All these solutions are currently through commercially available, end-to-end field service management Solutions.
Benchmark research by Field Service Insights indicates that these types of solutions have a measurable impact on improving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to field service. For example, companies who implement these solutions can increase FSE utilization and calls completed per day by 25% and 30% and reduce service resolution time and calls requiring second level support by 56% and 64%, respectively.
These improvements validate the tremendous impact that field service applications, such as those described above, have on enabling FSEs to deliver a better Customer Experience.
Michael Blumberg is Founder and Executive Director of Field Service Insights and CMO of Mize, Inc. Deliver
Dec 18, 2018 • Features • Management • Software & Apps • Customer Effect Score • Customer Service • mobile workforce management • NPS • Paul Whitelam • CHange Management • ClickSoftware • field service • field service management • field service software • field service technology • Service Management • appointment booking • Live Traffic Updates
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about new trends and visions for the future, and it’s probably a little overwhelming. An easy way to get started is by throwing away some of the outdated practices you’ve been following. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of field service practices you might want to leave behind in 2019.
Field service scheduling requires making several quick and calculated decisions. You need to consider everything from travel time and routing, technicians’ schedules and skill sets, equipment tracking, and SLA compliance. It’s much easier to rely on an automated scheduling solution to make optimized decisions for you, so you can focus on the bigger stuff—like your customers’ satisfaction.
Using separate solutions
The only way to gain true visibility into field service schedules is to manage everything in a single solution. This includes schedules, capacity planning, long- and short-cycle work, crew allocations, and more. Limiting field service management to a single solution also gives you the flexibility to manage your workforce more efficiently and ensure that you’re equipped to handle urgent work.
Not prepping technicians for customer service
Your field resources are often the only face-to-face contact your customers have with your company. This means it’s crucial they are equipped to give the best customer service possible. Start thinking of your technicians as your brand ambassadors, and ensure they have the soft skills to make a great impression on your customers.
Lack of visibility into technician location
With Uber you can hail a ride and know exactly where your driver is and when they will arrive. And Amazon provides updates when your package is shipped and as soon as it’s delivered. Your customers know this level of visibility is possible, and they expect it in their service too. Allow customers to track their technician’s location and send them reminders and updates about the status of their service. On top of giving your customers’ peace of mind, this also helps you avoid no shows and last minute cancellations.
Long Appointment Windows & Exact Time Slots
According to our Field Service Report, more than 60% of consumers across all countries said a long wait time between their service appointment being booked and carried out led to a bad customer service experience. It’s no surprise because today’s customers expect service fast, and definitely, don’t want to be waiting around all day to get it. Use optimized scheduling and appointment booking to ensure shorter, two-hour service windows for your customers.
Leaving the customer site before booking a follow-up appointment
Sometimes a repair is more complex than originally thought or a technician doesn’t have the right part to complete a job. When a follow-up appointment is needed, don’t leave the customer site until it is booked. Instead of simply ordering a part and asking the customer to call and schedule when they receive it, do it for them. The customer will feel more at ease knowing that even though the problem wasn’t fixed today, it will be fixed as soon as possible.
Not measuring customer effort score
When it comes to measuring customer experience, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores are usually the go to. But in today’s on-demand world, convenience and ease are becoming more and more important to customers. Many organizations have started measuring customer experience by the amount of effort customers are putting into getting an issue resolved. Add this to your list of KPIs so you can ensure future customer engagements are simple and seamless.
Not using live traffic updates
As customer expectations continue to rise, the importance of route optimization and getting resources from place to place is ever increasing. Many organizations are taking advantage of predictive travel and applications like Google Maps to accurately estimate travel times and plan routes ahead of the service day. However, it’s also important to consider real-time, live traffic updates on the day of service to account for unforeseen traffic and roadblocks.
Leaving out change management
When your service team has been doing things a certain way for several years, bringing in a new solution can be overwhelming. Even if the previous solution was inefficient or completely manual and paper-based, change can be scary. When implementing a new field service management solution, it’s important to get everyone on board and comfortable with the new solution—so don’t skip out on change management. Emphasize the benefits of FSM—such as efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction—and make sure everyone is properly trained on using the solution.
While no one can know exactly what the field service management landscape will look like in 2020, it’s safe to expect increasing customer expectations and new technologies. Start preparing your organization for what’s next today.
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