Strategy & Leadership

Expert Roundtable: Never Lose Sight of Customer Satisfaction

Originally published in Field Service, a quarterly print magazine from Field Service Digital and ServiceMax. Check out the full magazine in print or online

Today’s field service leaders have a tough job: They must constantly strive to improve how their teams operate, vet new technologies and ensure they monitor the correct metrics to improve (and grow) their service divisions. Sure, improving growth and revenue are two important goals, but it’s easy to lose sight of every service pro’s fundamental job: making customers happy. That happiness leads directly to meeting another priority: increasing customer satisfaction levels.

Field Service Digital asked six industry insiders how service leaders can ensure they do all of that important operational work with customers’ needs in mind.

Stephen McPhee | MilliporeSigma

In service, there are a thousand things that can go right or wrong on a daily basis. We’re always working to perfect the customer experience. Cloud-based and mobile technologies, for example, have put a lot of enablement at our engineers’ fingertips — and have transformed how we view service, and how our customers view our company. — Stephen McPhee, head of service, MilliporeSigma

Nick Frank | Si2 Partners

Balancing the need for profitability and growth with customer loyalty is one of the key management challenges of any service leader. The most successful will nearly always tell you that they invest in the team members at the sharp end. By providing clear guidelines, coaching and encouraging their team to make decisions in front of customers, smart leaders empower their people to find the right compromises in real time — and deliver exceptional and profitable customer care. — Nick Frank, co-founder, Si2 Partners

Tim Baines | Advanced Services Group

Understanding the job your customer really needs you to do for them should be your fundamental starting point, right from the outset of service design. Metrics, performance indicators and reward structures for service professionals should all be tailored towards meeting these needs, rather than towards your own internal processes. — Tim Baines, director, Advanced Services Group

Michael Blumberg | Blumberg Advisory Group

Peter Drucker said it best: The goal of any business is to get and keep customers. Driving revenue and growth, and maintaining high customer satisfaction levels, is not an either-or proposition. To succeed, field service leaders must view themselves as business owners. They need the right “seats on the bus,” talented people in those seats, and a map to guide them. They also need GPS, or the infrastructure and performance metrics to stay on course. —Michael Blumberg, president, Blumberg Advisory Group

Allan Alexopulos | ServiceMax

Customers have raised their expectations for clear and concise interactions with service providers. The pervasiveness of crisp interactions via smartphone apps has raised the bar across industries, regardless of process and systems complexity that many companies face. The best service providers harness the voice of the customer to streamline customer interactions, simultaneously making their team more efficient while meeting heightened customer expectations. Do that well and customer loyalty and increased revenues follow. —Allan Alexopulos, VP of strategic services, ServiceMax

Des Evans | Advanced Services Group

A service leader’s job is to ensure that all customer facing service staff have a clear understanding of the company’s priorities and customer satisfaction is the number one goal. They must also ensure that they all have the appropriate level of authority and empowerment to make the necessary point of sale/service decisions and that they will be supported by management when such decisions are made. — Des Evans, honorary professor, Advanced Services Group

  • To me as well, an important issue is the alignment of
    leadership strategic goals of: customer satisfaction, profitability and the
    level of risk tolerance. Yes, your organization may want to make the customer “really
    happy” all the time, but how much will it cost you to do so and do you have to “make
    it so”?

    Enterprises must first decide what services they would LIKE
    to provide, then decide what services they are WILLING to provide, and then finally
    decide what is the level of risk tolerance they will accept before they cry “tilt.”

    For example, an enterprise would like to provide services
    for an entire product line, both new and used machines, but upon further
    marketing and financial analysis they are willing to provide services only for
    new machines models ABC and DEF. To make the customer “really happy” they will
    respond to an unplanned failure service request within 2 hours, but to manage
    the level of risk tolerance, response will only be available between the hours
    of 0800 and 1700 US Eastern time Monday through Friday, exclusive of federal
    holidays.

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