Field service is traditionally viewed as a necessary (but not very sexy) evil that hums along, mostly under the radar. In reality, it’s often a key element of a company’s business that delivers results. Underappreciating the business value of field service can lead to misguided perceptions about the level of innovation driving the industry. More importantly, it can significantly downplay field service’s role in building a company’s overall reputation – chiefly through rewarding face-to-face customer interactions.
As senior director of field service for the Americas at Luminex, a global biomedical technology company, I’m passionate about taking necessary and forward-looking steps toward making sure our field service organization performs at its best and delivers results.
Admittedly, our field service organization hasn’t always been a center of productivity. In fact, a few years ago, there was a clear lack of visibility and coordination between departments at Luminex that directly impacted the efficiency and quality of our field service delivery. Our field technicians weren’t talking to our administrators who weren’t talking to our customer service team. In fact, the department was not completely aligned with other internal teams across the company resulting in a less than a stellar service solution being presented to our customers. In an effort to right the ship, we decided to take steps to use the latest technology – cloud, mobile and web -– to connect our people with critical information, our customers, and each other.
This tech-driven reorganization played a key role in our transformation from a siloed field service operation to a connected one. We brought all the pieces of field service (scheduling, resource management, asset information, and administration) together under one cloud-based roof. Here’s a snapshot of the customer success and business-tied results we’ve seen since streamlining our operations with the support of ServiceMax:
- Luminex’s field service department performs at greater than a 45% margin rate.
- Luminex’s engineer response time is greater than 95% and the mean time to resolution is 2.94 hours per service event.
- Luminex engineers’ ability to fix customer problems during the first visit now hovers consistently around 97 or 98%, sometimes varying only by 1%.
- The service invoice cycle decreased from 28 days to less than 96 hours after Luminex adopted ServiceMax.
- Using a customer loyalty dashboard on the ServiceMax platform, Luminex can see that 97% of customers responding with greater than a 4 on a 1 to 5 satisfaction scale.
One of the most significant results from our move to a centralized field service management platform is that it allowed Luminex engineers to focus more on customer needs and relationship building, rather than spending extra time on administrative paperwork and internal coordination. On a tactical level, connecting our people to the right information through the cloud has enabled Luminex’s engineers to work smarter and fix problems faster. Field engineers on the job can pull instant and useful metrics like travel time, type of labor by work order, cost by service visit, and travel and materials used to dispatch engineers in the most efficient fashion.
At Luminex, the Field Service team has embraced and is proud to use centralized field service management to rally our employees around the notion of quality service as our baseline offering. There’s more work to be done to connect technicians with the information and tools they need to provide consistently awesome field service, but we’re seeing results and receiving positive feedback from the people who matter most to our business: our customers. Customers now view Luminex field engineers as trusted advisors and partners who are invested in their success – a relationship traditionally reserved for members of the executive or dedicated sales account teams.
Steve Nava is Senior Director of Field Service, Americas at Luminex.