Exploiting the Services Hidden Gem

Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog by Kevin Roberts, Director of Platform Technology at ServiceMax partner FinancialForce.

This recent ServiceMax blog, which forecasts field service becoming a primary revenue driver in just two years, hit home for me as we hear similar themes from our customers all the time. The most salient points I thought were:

  • Service revenue is growing twice as fast as product revenue
  • Companies are looking for ways to shift to proactive service models
  • As traditional profit margins get slimmer service is proving to be a “hidden gem”
  • Customer-facing technicians play a vital role in developing strong long-term relationships

As I said, this certainly backs up what our customers here at FinancialForce are telling us.

The more reliable information you can put into the hands of your service team, the more empowered they become, and the more confidence a customer has in that technician. This strong, trusted advisor relationship is invaluable not only in customer support and field service issues but it also has powerful influence when suggesting replacement products or adding complementary services.shutterstock_82522882

“The most significant benefit from my viewpoint and my role is our ability to tie together different resources in our organization,” said Pat Welsh, Managing Director of ERP Manufacturing Services, Revolution Group. “Those resources include sales and marketing, as well as project and service delivery. We’re all working on the same platform … all acting on the same activity. The customer, and the customer’s requirements.”

While providing your team with a complete picture of all customer activity is key to a customer service strategy, the chance of failure is high if your business systems don’t provide a single version of the truth and require your users to wrestle with multiple interfaces, a multitude of different reporting tools and a handful of different login IDs.  If you give your service team a disconnected mashup of systems, apps and workflows, then it becomes too hard to field questions. Customers soon start to encounter the artificial walls in your organization while the trust you were hoping to build quickly evaporates when they get bounced around departments.

So how can you pull Sales, Service and Finance into a single coherent, consistent system that enables empowered service delivery?  Well for me it starts with a strong foundation and that’s the reason why both ServiceMax and FinancialForce chose the Salesforce Platform to deliver this single consistent complete view of all customer activity.  With apps built natively on Salesforce, the heavy lifting required to knit together different systems used by Sales, Service and Finance goes away and is replaced by a shared architecture which provides:

  • A single database with common, shared master data for customers, contacts and partners
  • A single sign-on with shared security model so a single profile controls access to all your key processes whether it’s Sales, Service, Finance or HR.
  • A shared, familiar user interface for both desktop and mobile access
  • A common business collaboration layer used across the business
  • A common workflow and approvals engine for consistent businesses processes across all departments.

This shared platform architecture means your service team has a true 360° view of their Accounts in a single consistent environment and they can follow the entire customer experience from Lead, Opportunity, Case, Work Order, Invoice & Payment from a single page.  With that full picture, your service team can answer all their customers’ questions and build that trusted partnership which leads to contract renewals, additional products and increased usage.

Salesforce is described as the #1 Customer Success platform and has built a reputation as an almost de-facto standard for Sales and Marketing.  ServiceMax and FinancialForce customers are demonstrating that by moving their Service and Finance teams onto that same Salesforce platform, they have the foundation that enables them to exploit the hidden gem of Service revenue growth.

ABOUT Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is Director of Platform Technology for FinancialForce.com. He's a longtime Salesforce platform specialist helping prospects, customers, partners and colleagues understand the benefits and power of adopting the leading cloud platform for business. Kevin is also a pioneer in the rapidly evolving salesforce.com and financialforce.com ecosystems. Husband, Dad, cyclist, hiker, expat follower of England rugby and cricket teams.