Patrice Eberline is vice president of global customer transformation at ServiceMax. Here, she explains why field service leaders shouldn’t shy away from communicating the value their organizations provide to customers.
“If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound”?
While many of us may have heard this quote, few likely know where it came from — or, more to the point, how it correlates to our world of modern field service. The quote’s origin is a book written by a couple of physics experts in 1910. And its correlation to field service? Let’s take a look:
Let’s assume you, as a field service leader, are doing tremendous things in your organization to transform your business — and its place in the industry. You have prioritized key metrics such as first-time fix rates (FTF) and mean time to recovery (MTTR) that can really impact the company’s bottom line. You have harnessed efficiencies in the field, allowing your techs to spend more face time with customers and build those “trusted advisor” relationships that are so important to your brand. You are also using your technicians to bring new opportunities to the sales team, and additional understanding and value to customers.
Sounds like you’re in great shape, right? Yes, but there are problems: Your efforts aren’t generating the customer response you’d expected, and customer satisfaction scores, while good, are flat.
The tree fell, but no one was there to hear it.
It’s OK — Toot Your Own Horn
Service teams are often reticent to communicate successes. It’s understandable since, as a group, service teams tend to be analytical and focused on helping their customers from the background. But it’s time to be bold and communicate the value your are delivering — directly to your customers. How? Here are a few strategies to get started:
- Be proactive in your customer contact and communications. Does a technician have extra time at a location? If so, put it to use. Rearrange appointments to service a nearby customer today, instead of waiting until next week. Show your customers you are proactively thinking about them and their needs.
- Build trust, loyalty and credibility by updating your customers on performance metrics, such as strong FTF rates. Include any observations or improvements that technicians made while onsite, and reference any questions that your customer may have had during the call. You might also use these updates as teasers to underscore (if appropriate) your interest in servicing other manufacturers’ equipment or premier services under contract.
- Don’t shy away from a personal follow-up note or text to remind your customer of the visit and resolution. Thoughtful communication stands out — for all the right reasons.
Don’t Self-Censor Out of Fear for the Competition
I frequently hear stories from customers around the globe about the impact new technologies have on the bottom line. But field service leaders are often reluctant to share their specific strategies and tools, lest the competition gain an advantage. Don’t fall into that trap. A little self-promotion can solidify customer relationships and disrupt the landscape, keeping the competition off guard.
You have the power to do great things with your field service organization, so let that tree fall — just make sure it is heard (and felt!) by your customers.