Guest blog from Michael Blumberg
Michael is author, speaker, consultant and coach. His mission is to help service professionals and business executives gain access to the latest and greatest strategies, tools, and insights about service management so that they can increase sales, boost profits, and delight their customers. He covers issues ranging from sales and marketing, to technology, to leadership and operational excellence.
Read more articles from Michael Blumberg on his blog.
Several months ago, Derek Korte, the editor of Field Service Digital solicited my opinion for article titled “Expert Roundtable: Never Lose Sight of Customer Satisfaction”. The basic question that Derek asked was “How do service leaders ensure the important work involved in managing a service business get done while still keeping the needs of customers involved?” After all, Derek pointed out, Field Service leaders have a lot on their plate. They must continuously balance the need to improve the quality, productivity and efficiency of service operations with the strategic objective to drive revenue and growth; all while never losing sight of keeping customers happy.
This dilemma is a challenge facing all businesses not just Field Service. When it comes to practical advice, Peter Drucker said it best, “the goal of any business is to get and keep customers.” This quote provides a good lesson for Field Service leaders. Driving revenue and growth, and maintaining customer satisfaction is not an either-or proposition. They are one in the same.
To achieve superior outcomes in these two areas, Field Service leaders must view themselves as business owners. They must view themselves as owners of a business franchise called “service” whether they are equity owners or not. In other words, they must adopt an “ownership” mindset.
To succeed as business owners, Field Service leaders must first have the right “seats on the bus” otherwise known as the right functions that manage their service business. This includes functions such as service delivery operations (i.e. dispatch, field service, parts management, etc.), accounting & finance, sales & marketing and others. Without the right functions, the business cannot perform.
Second, Field Service leaders must make sure they have the right people in those seats. This means they must find talented people to manage these functions. The people can be groomed from within the organization or recruited from outside. Regardless, field service leaders must develop performance standards by which personnel must adhere. These standards should consider the characteristics, skill sets, experience and behaviors that service personnel must possess.
Third, Field Service leader must have clear outcome of where they are heading. If they are going to drive growth, then they must have a map to help them reach their destination. In business, another term for a map is a strategy and/or plan. Without a clearly defined strategy or plan to follow, a business can’t go very far.
Fourth and finally, Field Service leaders need to make sure their bus (i.e., their organization) is running efficiently. That it has a clean engine, good tires, etc. They also most make sure they have a GPS or dashboard to help them monitor their performance, the direction in which they are heading, and the speed at which they are going. The engine, tires, etc. are a metaphor for state of the art service delivery infrastructure and related technologies that make superior service possible. The GPS and dashboard are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and operating benchmarks that help Field Service leaders keep course on their direction.
Now it’s your turn to answer the question: “How do service leaders ensure the important work involved in managing a service business get done while still keeping the needs of customers involved?” What have you found that works and doesn’t work? If you’d like to read about other experts’ perspectives on this topic then read Derek’s online article.