Think Tank Debriefs: Different Service Needs of Different Customers

Aug 11, 2020 • FeaturesThink TankLeadership and Strategy

In the first of our new quarterly Field Service News Think Tank Debrief Sessions, Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News was joined by Kieran Notter, Coen Jeukens and Daniel Brabec as they reflected on the key points raised in the last three Think Tank sessions. In this first excerpt from the debrief session, Jeukens reflects on the conversations around the growing need for service companies to listen to the voice of their customers...

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An Emerging Need for Multiple Layers of Service Offerings: 

One of the things that makes the Field Service Think Tank Sessions is that when you bring together a small group of senior service leaders together to discuss the key issues our industry faces in an informal setting, often the conversation can evolve beyond the original agenda very quickly. 

That's exactly what happened on this first session of the series held in partnership with the team at ServiceMax and the conversation turned towards really digging deeper into where the the true value of data sits within the field service sector.

During the session we saw a real need for different levels of service offerings. This is an aspect of service delivery that appears to be rapidly evolving as service organisations become more aware that their customers have many differing needs.

As Patrick Jansen, Manager Field Service, VBR Turbine Partners commented during the session:

“If you look at our call-out services, some customers don’t even want people to pick up the phone immediately - they are happy to just accept a longer response time. 

“Other customers really have an essential piece of machinery that, for them, is critical to their production. So if they have a problem they want you to pick up the phone immediately. It is quite a broad service level that we offer for our clients and it is really custom made. But the thing is we don’t work with a huge amount of companies, and we serve a niche market. We are not a Samsung serving a million mobile phones, we serve smaller industry vertical within a complex niche sector, so our service towards them is also quite different from having to serve a lot of volume.”

Similarly Eddie Storan, Head of Global Services, Domino Printing Sciences commented: 

“As we operate across 5 different industries, we provide a range of different services and offerings based upon the complexity of our customers. For example, from large global customers to the other end of spectrum of smaller organisations where their production is seasonal with short production runs and high variation.

"These customers may not have the same infrastructure and maintenance teams as the larger organisations. However, like all customers 'uptime' is critical, and if there is an issue, they want it resolved instantaneously. That is where we see remote connectivity being utilised through our cloud-based connected services. These types of customers generally tend to be more focused on support.

"Our larger customers, in addition to remote support, look for data insights into their production lines across the different technologies we have installed in their plants.”

Coen Jeukens, VP Global Customer Transformation, ServiceMax was co-chair during this Think Tank discussion and during the debrief session he was able to reflect further on the importance of differing levels of service offerings, but also how the conversations had evolved throughout the backdrop of a global lockdown during the pandemic. 

"What I really find interesting, maybe as a general common for all the Think Tank sessions we held, was that this was the first session we held which was on March 22 - so I think that for most of the participants, it's was either the first or the second week of a lockdown. Many of us were still in denial of COVID. And if we go through all the different think tanks sessions, I saw them the opinions and the perspectives of the participants changing over time." Jeukens reflected

"To a certain extent, these think tanks sessions are also a timepiece. Now, if I look at the remarks on this particular slide itself, different service needs of different customers, the phrase which comes to mind for me that very much that sat behind this part of the conversation is 'the voice of the customer', This is at the heart of these two statements made by Patrick and Eddie." 

"In terms of the voice of the customer in the context of COVID, we really start to see that the voice of the customer is not a static thing, it changes over time and COVID really has shown us that the voice of the customer can change rapidly or in a very short period of time," Jeukens continued.


"The most important thing to understand here is the importance of listening to the voice of the customer..."

- Coen Jeukens, ServiceMax


"The most important thing to understand here is the importance of listening to the voice of the customer. This allows you to know if the products and services you are offering are critical for the customer - because you can imagine if you sell a product to a customer, and that product isn't critical at all, then how are you going to sell services for that piece of equipment? The more you know about the usage of your pieces of equipment out in the field, the more you know, the more you can use the voice of the customer to really tailor your service offerings."

"If we look at the statement of Patrick, he explains how they don't really have a huge install base, but many of those customers in their install base have a very different use patterns. Equally, as we see in the statement from Eddie, you could say arguably that a printer is just a printer, but in his business, it's not about the printer. It's about the context in which the printer is used and that context is different for every customer."

"Again, we see here that there is an important context brought about by listening to the voice of the customer. This allows for the criticality of moving from fixing the downtime to better understanding the uptime. Additionally, in that understanding, uptime focus can change, this is why I think we saw the voice of the customer really driving many of the conversations we had."


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