Four Key Take Aways from ClickConnect Europe 2012
Last week, I had the opportunity to connect with and learn from service leaders at ClickSoftware’s annual user conference in Europe in beautiful Barcelona. The event was extremely well attended and featured a diverse group of speakers from organizations such as Best Buy, Serco, Thames Water, Solar Turbines, National Grid and a certain market analyst from the Aberdeen Group. In addition to learning more about ClickSoftware’s continued focus to the field service and ever expanding mobile workforce management market, the following were some of the key takeaways from user presentations:
Customer Service is Everyone’s Role – In his opening keynote, Robert Stephens, former CTO of Best Buy continued to reiterate his message on that fact that every single employee in the organization is in the business of delivering service aka a Service Champion. This rings true especially when considering that a customer’s overall experience with the organization isn’t just governed by the support experience they have, but also with elements of the pre-sales, sale and transaction lifecycle that quite often involves multiple groups across the organization.
Employees are Your Brand – In order to build and develop service champions, the role of the Chief Service Officer is to hire and retain the right talent and help build a path of engagement for these service leaders and workers. As put by one of the speakers, “If everyone is using the same solutions and has optimized to the nth degree, then what really differentiates your organization is your brand, your service design and ultimately your overall talent.” This message was definitely shared by organizations such as Serco and Thames Water who look after vast service teams across the UK and have developed employee empowerment programs to ensure that their service workers are engaged with the mission of their businesses. This inward focus on employees has been tracked at Aberdeen’s Chief Service Officer Summits and also in State of Service research where in 85% of European organizations were looking to drive employee engagement as a key growth strategy for their businesses
Integration across Systems is Still a Challenge and Opportunity – While most of the talk around service automation solutions always ends up gravitating towards mobile devices and operating platforms, the biggest challenge and focus area for service and IT leaders remains in the integration of solutions in order to allow for the seamless flow of information. Serco talked about the integration of service with HR systems, Thames Water discussed the flows between mobile and preventive maintenance, and Solar Turbines emphasized the connection between field service and document management. Aberdeen’s research continues to highlight the incredible importance placed on integration across all of our functional (field service, contact center, parts) and strategic research. The integration of information allows for the development of better customer management processes across the service organization while fostering a higher level of collaboration to support key customer experience initiatives.
Making Mobile Work – Speaking of mobile, most organizations were very interested in learning about Click’s mobile roadmap, not just for current implementations but also to plan for future replacements and developments. I have just published thoughts on Aberdeen’s blogs, detailing early findings from our 2012 Mobile field service research. Nearly 60% of organizations polled currently have a mobile solution, but a healthy 60% are looking to replace, upgrade or purchase new applications for field service. Decisions around build vs. buy, Native or HTML5, on-premise vs. cloud are on the minds of service leaders, but more importantly the issues that need to be tackled are:
- Change management and user acceptance of mobile applications
- Integration of field data with back-end systems
- Scalability of current mobile roadmap
Overall, there was healthy dialogue about the role service continues to place in leading businesses forward and how organizations need to take the necessary steps to delight their customers (consumers or businesses) to survive in an extremely volatile and competitive environment.
A few final thoughts:
- Successful Business Apps are Those that Publish Excess Capacity – think about AirBnB, Groupon, TaskRabbit and now the plethora of sites that allow for the use of a contingent field service workforce.
- The Rise of the Growth Hacker – As consumers/customer help develop and build the next iterations of your products, the role of the Chief Marketing Officer is changing from an individual who manages customer and prospect communications to one that can make it easier for customers and partners to build on your platform.
- Are we Finally Moving into the Decade of Connected Assets?