Sky Italia aims to boost its satellite dish installers’ skills to transform the company’s service arm from a cost center to a revenue generator.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the latest issue of Field Service, a quarterly print magazine from Field Service Digital and ServiceMax. Check out the full magazine in print or online.

Sky Italia, the Italian digital satellite television firm, isn’t worried about squeezing money out of the installation side of the business.

Lucio Golinelli, senior director of service and delivery

“Putting a dish on the roof is not only a question of installation, and therefore of mere costs, but is also a chance to establish a closer relationship with customers,” says Lucio Golinelli, senior director of service and delivery at Sky Italia. The company’s technicians handle thousands of installations every year, and Golinelli is eager to turn each home visit into a sales opportunity.

The company has an unusual structure. Instead of handling field service internally, Sky Italia outsources most of its actual dish installation and maintenance to 400 small providers, which in turn manage roughly 2,000 field technicians.

These installers already sell extra products and services to customers while on site, but Sky Italia believes there is a huge opportunity for them to sell even more.

“The trust between customer and installer is very high, and we feel this is a big opportunity,” Golinelli says, “because they can spend some time talking about home cinema, or whether they need additional boxes and services.”

That requires an installer with different skills. From a technical point of view, it means not only mastering mechanical hardware skills but software skills as well. It also requires having the people skills to communicate with customers.

“Field workers must now become advisors more than installers, and we must provide the tools and process and training for installers to do this. This means that they have to move from the roof fixing the satellite dishes into the living room,” Golinelli says.

To achieve this long-term goal, Sky Italia’s first step has been to replace its heavily customized Siebel IT platform with a cloud-based Salesforce platform, together with ServiceMax.

With the new systems in place, Sky Italia is working to create a seamless, digital customer experience from an initial customer call through sales and service.

Sky Italia will use its new CRM and field service management systems to make more informed field service decisions. For example, Golinelli says being able to send the best upseller to a specific customer is a better opportunity than allocating a job based purely on location and proximity to the customer.

Golinelli expects the ability to plan its service delivery to maximize profits will create huge opportunities for the company.

“Customers will ask for more and more services in the future,” he says. “We visit thousands of customers at home per year,” noting that the company’s technicians will probably have the opportunity to visit each customer in the next few years. That means more chances to install cable boxes and advise customers about home cinema upgrades and other new services.

Alongside upselling opportunities, Golinelli says Sky Italia’s service technology investments will help manage costs by reducing problem resolution times, cutting administrative fees and above all, improving customer service.

ABOUT Janine Milne

Avatar photoJanine Milne has been writing about HR, technology and business for more than 20 years, both as a freelancer and as an in-house editor.