Survey: Field Service Business Is Strong, But…

How is the health of the field service industry heading into the last three months of the year? Fairly good on several key fronts — from service revenues to cost control to customer service satisfaction, according to a new quarterly report from The Service Council. The organization surveyed global field service providers over the summer and discovered some promising, and some not-so promising, trends. Here are a few highlights from Sumair Datta, the council’s chief customer officer:

  • Revenues stable: “Seventy percent (70%) of organizations indicated that their service revenues were either ‘as expected’ or ‘greater than expected’ in Q3 2013 (20% reporting greater than expected), with 28% reporting ‘less than expected’ revenues. Less than expected revenues were primarily attributable to softness in the parts management and service sales components of the business.”
  • Costs under control: “Eighty-five percent (85%) of organizations indicated that their service costs were either ‘as expected’ or ‘less than expected’ in Q3 2013. Eleven percent (11%) saw an increase in service cost primarily tied to the field service and contact center components of the business.”
  • Customers satisfied: “Thirty-four percent (34%) of respondents indicated an increase in customer satisfaction scores over the previous three months compared to 6% reporting a decrease.
  • Solid margins: “Service margins were relatively healthy at 31%, which sits in the overall range seen over the previous 12 months. Smaller organizations struggled with their service margins at 23% compared to mid-size organizations at 39%.” On the downside, field service executives overwhelmingly agree on the top two hurdles they faced this summer — and going forward:
  • Challenges ahead: “Process inefficiencies and financial market volatility were selected as the top business challenges faced by service businesses in the three months leading up to September 2013, as seen by 46% and 42% of respondents respectively. Those organizations with global service coverage were much more likely to have their service businesses hindered by financial market and global geopolitical challenges.”

h/t: The Service Council

ABOUT Krysten Crawford

Krysten started as a legal affairs writer for American Lawyer Media before joining CNNMoney, where she covered technology, law and media. She then joined Business 2.0 magazine as associate editor and chief of reporters before moving to Fortune.com as a senior producer. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two young kids.