Service revenues are expected to be up in 2013. What should field service companies do with those gains?
The smart ones will re-invest that to drive sustainable growth, says Bill Pollock, president and chief research officer of The Service Council. According to TSC’s The Role of Service Culture in Driving Service Revenue survey, 63 percent of service organizations expect to generate more service revenues, and 31 percent expect to at least stay even.
“We’re going to see the rebound of the service economy so there’s more focus on the customer and generating revenue, rather than on cutting costs,” Pollock says.
Pollock offers five tips for re-investing that money to create long-term success.
1. Get Aggressive at Marketing
The top priority in 2013 for these service organizations looking to re-invest service revenues will be marketing, Pollock says. “Usually that gets bumped down on the list of priorities, below things like reducing costs and streamlining personnel.” But with a stronger economy generally and especially in services, the time has come again to aggressively promote your service capabilities.
2. Promote More Cross- and Up-Selling
Another way to drive service revenues is to promote cross- and up-selling opportunities. That may mean asking service techs (who likely haven’t been trained to sell) to start pitching. “They’ve got to be trained,” Pollock says. “Not just initial training; it’s an ongoing process. They’ve also got to be incentivized. It’s not for everyone.”
Sixteen percent of survey respondents said that incentivizing service techs to up-sell is a top priority. “That’s only one-sixth,” Pollock says, “But it’s clear that one-sixth is going to have the wherewithal to make this happen. So what’s the outcome? They’ll sell more products, sell more service, and increase the bottom line.”
3. Create Sales/Marketing Collateral
In order to sell more, organizations will get busy producing marketing and sales materials like white papers, webcasts, and blogs, Pollock says. “This is very good news,” Pollock says. “I don’t even think we’ve asked about this the last three years. It was always, ‘We’re going to cut costs.’ [Producing white papers] would have been the last thing they said.”
4. Reinvest in Services Software
Over half of companies surveyed expect to either expand or acquire a services technology in the next 12 months. Considering that around two-thirds of companies already have a CRM system in place, Pollock says it sounds like service organizations are ready to spend a little more to expand their services technology.
5. Invest in Remote Services
What “call avoidance” was to field service 10 or 15 years ago, remote services has already become, Pollock says. From remote equipment monitoring to remote diagnostics, the focus in 2013 will be on servicing parts without rolling trucks.
“And remember,” Pollock says, “RFID, which came up several years ago — nobody was looking for it. Or how BYOD is on the top of everyone’s mind now. One of the biggest things to happen next year may be something that nobody’s even tracking now.”