Aberdeen’s 2010 Chief Service Officer Summit served to highlight the growing role that service leaders are taking in developing their service workforces and in ensuring that their workers are equipped with the necessary tools and information to complete their tasks and meet customer expectations. More so, service leaders were also taking an active stake in ensuring a greater level of service employee engagement and satisfaction and in linking these HR-focused metrics to improved service performance.
Traditionally, field service workforce management and research tied to the topic has focused on the scheduling element, therefore indicating steps needed to improve day-to-day execution. This execution piece continues to be extremely important, but is further supported by improved planning and increased investments made in worker engagement and satisfaction. As a result, effective field service workforce management should be defined to include the following:
- Field Employee Management
- Forecasting and Planning
- Service Scheduling
Aberdeen’s recent survey of more than 300 service organizations, “Field Service 2011: Trends in Workforce Management,” has shown that field service continues to be a key area of focus in 2011. (The report is available for free download; registration required.) The continued focus on field service excellence by service organizations is warranted as the data finds that 58 percent of incoming service requests ultimately require a field dispatch of sorts. Given that these field agents are quite often the only representatives of the organization that actually visit the customer, especially after the sale of the product, their ability to provide desired or better support in a timely manner goes a long way in setting customer perceptions of the service organization’s aptitude.
In meeting and beating customer expectations for service excellence, organizations are faced with the task of ensuring that they are able to drive the maximum from available service resources, the number one pressure for field service improvement. In fact, Aberdeen’s 2011 survey indicates that organizations aren’t making significant hiring investments in field workers or dispatchers in 2011 to meet customer needs.
Beyond the drive for utilization, organizations are beginning to look at field service as a driver for revenue opportunities, a fact that is further supported by the 53 percent of organizations looking to improve field performance in support of revenue initiatives. Given the personal face-to-face connection that field agents are often afforded with the customers and the information that they are able to access onsite, these field agents are in an ideal position to identify revenue opportunities attached to additional products and services.