Karo Kilfeather | 07.19.16
Summary >

Over the past few weeks on the blog, we have been diving into the challenges of field service management  for our “Service is Hard” series. We’ve highlighted continuous improvement, mobility challenges, and change management. The goal of the series if you haven’t already guessed, is to prove the  urgency in achieving and repeating service excellence. It might seem, just from reading the previous posts that the task is overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. While it is a continuous journey, and each company is different in its approach, it is doable. To further the cause, below is a  summary of the individual challenges we have addressed:

Continuous Improvement

The only constant in the business world is change, and field service organizations are no exception. Attaining operational awareness is a prerequisite for any service operation, particularly in relation to continuous improvement. Downtime and the business impact of that migraine, is one of the biggest challenges we find, as increasing productivity must always be top of mind.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introducing a new solution is not as simple as flicking a switch—it needs to be part of a wider change that acknowledges the impact not only on the business, but the people and workflow as well
  • The solution must be flexible enough to sustain the changes of continuous improvement, especially in the case of an emergency or high priority challenges
  • By improving the efficiency of all business roles, continuous improvement shifts the service from reactive to predictive for stronger business value

Mobility Challenges

Fact: mobility is a central component of our everyday lives. With the introduction of smartphones and tablets, mobility has unlocked new levels of productivity and connectivity for field service professionals. To fulfill these newfound opportunities to communicate with customers, businesses must capitalize on the engagement opportunities that exist as a result of mobility.

Key Takeaways:

  • On behalf of the customer, the benefits of mobility include a more personalized customer experience and increased convenience, ultimately leading to increased interaction for the brand. For professionals in the field, any mobility solution should complement their daily tasks, adding to efficiency and creating seamless management on the road
  • If a service business’ mobile presence is lacking functionality in terms of ease, customers may quickly grow frustrated and leave the company site in search of another, possibly losing that business to a competitor
  • Engagement is solicited through tools and services such as customers booking a service or installation call for a new product via mobile. By giving customers the chance to interact and engage with the business easily, the company brand recognition is likely to increase

Change Management

The change management overhaul affects not just the field worker, but the technicians that are coordinating the appointments and managing the workforce management solution. An effective field service management solution must go beyond enabling adjustments. When in the adoption phase, organization must foster the solution as a fundamental element in addressing the business needs. Of course, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach but with the proper communication strategy, the business will feel a part of the process and understand how the change affects their jobs and the new responsibilities that go along with that.

Key Takeaways:

  • Whether businesses are changing from paper documentation to a sophisticated field service management policy, all are aligned with a central strategy of optimization
  • Although employee onboarding might be a major barrier to adoption, it is just a matter of time for the change to be implemented by the whole company—the challenge stands in getting there
  • It is important to select the right solution, not just based purely on pricing, but one that delivers the most business value. The extent to which the organization effectively manages the change will ultimately determine how successful the implementation will be

As noted, service IS hard, but part of the worthwhile challenge are changes to improve customer service. Keep your eyes on the prize. Building world-class operations is not meant to be easy, but with the right team, leaders and mindset, excellence in field service is possible. Pre-order your very own signed copy of the Service Is Hard book to address all challenges that most companies face in field service delivery.