Think big: Swing for the fences.

We advocate thinking big and “swinging for the fences” as they say in baseball. Not only should you be responding to customer repairs and providing ongoing maintenance, there is more that you can offer to add value for your customer and increase your revenues.

For example, companies such as General Electric that produce large equipment for power generation offer to conduct a site evaluation prior to delivering equipment to the installation to ensure a smooth and successful install. Field service can provide practical and valuable consulting assistance to customers on all aspects of the layout and site design, as well as the requirements for optimal operation of equipment. These valuable consulting services can command substantial consulting fees. Services such as these can also be serious differentiators when selling equipment. Your field service people know what’s best, based on experience, and you can charge for this expertise.

If you decide to include consulting services in your field service organization, you will need to develop some standardized approaches and deliverables, just as you would expect from any professional consulting organization. This might include an audit document and checklist for use by field service consultants for site visits and consultations and a standardized deliverable report template to be given to your customer. Be sure to make these documents standardized.   In fact, you will need higher-skilled engineers for the more strategic work. Remember, if the customer is paying for this work, they will expect professional deliverables that are insightful, well written, and polished.

Many companies are moving from reactive “break/fix” to proactive “intelligent” services that utilize advances in diagnostics and Internet connectivity to forecast service needs or optimization potential at the equipment level.

There is a home run out there in customer satisfaction and increased revenue if you think of field service as more than “break/fix.”

Excerpted exclusively for SmartVan from the new book, 42 Rules for Superior Field Service, by Rosemary Coates and Jim Reily.