Sumair Dutta | 05.24.18
Summary >

In a previous blog post “Proactive Service. Predictive Service. What’s the Difference?”, I outlined the various components of a proactive support strategy. As a refresher, here they are below:

  • Predictive Service / Maintenance
  • Resource Planning for Predictive Service Operations
  • Proactive Operations Management
  • Proactive Installed Base Management
  • Proactive Customer Communication

In speaking to organizations about their proactive journeys, it has occurred to me that service leaders agree on the necessity of a proactive support strategy, but they’re waiting for the right technology or the right stage of data maturity.

While I agree that you need a well-established data framework to make proactive customer management decisions, I would encourage leaders to take active steps to get started and to make proactive a business priority. It won’t be long before customers begin to demand this and it definitely won’t be long before competitors begin taking a more proactive approach to customer management. In fact, many organizations have already put programs in place, and while these programs might still be in their infancy or only touch upon one of the proactive strategy components, they are already providing valuable information and insight to the early movers.

The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) data to support predictive maintenance has been taking place for some time now, especially in industries with high-value assets such as aerospace & defense, medical devices, and oil & gas. Organizations in these industries are getting much more precise in identifying future failure events and are getting more intelligent about incorporating data capturing sensors into future iterations of their products.

Organizations in high-tech manufacturing are taking the lead in proactive installed base management by getting smarter about the coverage of their service agreements and initiating appropriate sales, marketing, and awareness actions to increase revenue capture and to enhance customer retention.

We’ve also seen organizations in high-tech manufacturing take strides in proactive customer communication and management. One Service Council (TSC) member in particular has developed a proactive outreach and support program that is based on a customer health index. This index accounts for all the things positive and negative that have happened to that customer and all of the events that are likely to happen in the future. The purpose of the health index is to mobilize necessary customer management resources to prevent a future escalation. This involves prompt resolution of open customer requests, improved response for new customer inquiries, and greater communication between the service provider and the customer. Such customer health indices are becoming more common given the benefits associated with avoiding a customer issue versus resolving a full-blown meltdown.

And in the areas of proactive operations management and resource planning, we see progress as well. In fact, I had the opportunity to discuss the proactive concept with the team at Stedin on a recent webinar hosted by TSC partner ClickSoftware. Here is a short excerpt from our interview that focuses on the predictive field service and operations management.

Q: How does Stedin view the concept and idea of predictive field service?

A: Predictive field service fulfills a vital role in driving the operational excellence within Stedin Meters & Connections. It’s more and more becoming the basis for meeting our goals on first-time-right-customer, first-time-fix, and net promoter score. These in turn allow us to meet our legal obligation of offering all our 2 million customers a smart meter by 2020. We have also followed the concept of Think Big, Start Small.

Stedin has embraced the Agile mindset, and for us this means we like to start new initiatives by first proving our assumptions with a small and relatively easy to realize proof of concept before moving on to bigger initiatives.

Q: Which areas of the 5 (highlighted by TSC) are ones where Stedin is actively making investments? Why?

A: For now, we have been focusing on predictive operations management and predictive resource planning because these were the areas we thought we could make the quickest and easiest improvements. They are also the areas where the biggest benefits and return of investments could be made.

What’s also important to mention is that every project we do has to have direct added value to the four operational goals within meters and connections: quality and safety, productivity and finance, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction.

Our conversation then focuses on the specific (and very interesting) predictive solutions that Stedin is actively using and the accompanying results experienced. You can listen into our conversation via the on-demand webinar. Feel free to skip through my part at the beginning, especially if you have read my first blog. On listening to the team at Stedin, one can see the predictive and proactive isn’t a future state, it’s something that’s very real right now.

For more insight to how service leaders are incorporating proactive service as part of their overall digital transformation, see our research on Digital Transformation for the Service Enterprise.

Sumair Dutta previously served as Chief Customer Officer for The Service Council™ (TSC). Follow him on Twitter. Check out The Service Council blog.