The Case for Video Telematics in Support of Field Service Management / Fleet Management (Executive Summary)

[The following is the Executive Summary excerpted from SFG℠‘s Analysts Take paper on the topic of “The Case for Video Telematics in Support of Field Service Management / Fleet Management“, prepared for Lytx, a leading provider of video telematics, analytics, safety and productivity solutions for commercial and public sector fleets.

The full report will be released at the annual Lytx Users Conference, February 23 – 26, 2020 in San Diego, CA. Watch the Lytx Website immediately following the conference for a link to access a complimentary download of the paper. Until then, the Executive Summary should provide you with a taste of what’s yet to come!]

Video telematics is the new frontier for field services, and it is gaining significant traction among businesses looking to this new technology to gain an edge in their intensely competitive fields. Video telematics took the trucking and transportation business by storm this past decade, and now it is coming to field services. That’s because customers in both trucking and field services are seeing significant ROI from improvements in such metrics as routing efficiency, fuel consumption, service assurance, claims reductions, etc.  As a result, more and more field service operations are looking into video telematics as their latest go-to tool for boosting their core KPIs in process improvements, productivity, customer service, and ROI / financial return.

To put things in perspective, there is currently a “perfect storm”  occurring in the global services community that reflects a growing market demand  – and need – for video as part of a Field Service / Fleet Management Telematics solution. The main components of this “storm” may be summarized as:

  • Rapid growth for the Field Service Management (FSM), Fleet Management and Telematics segments;
  • Increases in the value-add realized through the implementation and use of video-based telematics; and
  • The FSM segment’s focus on increased technician productivity, utilization and process efficiencies.

Further, due to what appears to be an ongoing global technician shortage, it becomes even more critical for Field Services Organizations (FSOs) to gain as much productivity as possible from each of the technicians in their current mobile workforce in order to prevent any potential lapses in service delivery performance.

However, there is much more to Field Service Management, Fleet Management and Telematics than simply monitoring incidents, collecting data, and reporting the relevant findings back to services management. In fact, there are great differences in both the means by which the data are collected and the ways in which the collected data may be used – with one of the main differentiating factors being the added value brought to the table via the incorporation of video into the standard Field Service / Fleet Management solution.

While driver safety and liability protection are still acknowledged as highly important factors, field service managers must primarily focus on other key issues, such as technician productivity, utilization and the overall efficiencies of the systems they use to run their respective field service operations. These principal factors are clearly borne out in Strategies For Growth℠’s (SFG℠’s) annual Field Service Management (FSM) Benchmark Tracking Surveys, as follows.

The results of the 2019 FSM tracking survey update identify that the principal factors influencing the field services market today may be categorized as:

  • First, process-focused (i.e., the need to improve workforce utilization and service process efficiencies);
  • Second, customer-focused (i.e., meeting customer demand for quicker response time and improved asset availability); and
  • Third, financials-focused (i.e., internal mandate to drive increased service profitability and revenues).

This represents a shift away from a customer focus (i.e., in previous years’ surveys), to one that hones in specifically on process improvement, which can then be used as a catalyst for creating a foundation from which services organizations can build stronger end-to-end engagement relationships with their customers. Accordingly, the results of the survey clearly reaffirm the relationships between and among these three groupings by linking internal process improvements directly to improved customer support, ultimately leading to reduced costs, increased revenues, more satisfied customers, and a healthier profit margin.

Download Our Complimentary Webcast on “The Case for Remote Expertise”, Hosted by Help Lightning, and Featuring Bill Pollock

[On Thursday, January 30th, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST, we presented a complimentary Webcast on the topic of “The Case for Remote Expertise“. The Webcast was hosted by Help Lightning, the leading Augmented Reality provider of Virtual Interactive Presence, and featured me, Bill Pollock, as the guest speaker.

If you missed the Webcast, no need to worry! Simply click on the following link to access a complimentary copy of the archived Webcast, along with a copy of our companion Analysts Take white paper: http://tiny.cc/sfg-webcast.]

Webcast Overview:

The findings from Strategies For Growth‘s 2020 Remote Expertise Benchmark Survey clearly identify the following as the primary reasons influencing a services organization’s drive to incorporate Remote Expertise capabilities into their field service operations:

  • 65%  To improve upon current levels of Customer Satisfaction
  • 64%  Ability to meet (or exceed) our customers’ services expectations
  • 62%  To diagnose problems faster, and with greater accuracy

As a result of an ongoing technology explosion, increased competition and reduced margins, meeting the desired goals of customer satisfaction and services profitability remains a major challenge for many organizations. What is your organization doing to run its field service operations more effectively – and cost-effectively?

By viewing the webcast, you can learn:

  • What the leading global Services Organizations are doing with respect to embracing – and incorporating – new technologies into their services operations
  • What the real benefits are associated with moving to a Remote Expertise service delivery model
  • What obstacles and potential pratfalls you might experience along the way
  • How to emulate the strategic and tactical actions presently being taken and/or planned by the leading Services Organizations

In the meantime, for more information on this topic, or on any other aspects of Field Service Management (FSM) or Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), please be sure to visit our Blogsite at www.PollockOnService.com for trending thoughts and commentary on the global services market.

Again, to access both the complimentary Webcast and companion Analysts Take white paper, simply please go to: http://tiny.cc/sfg-webcast.

Invitation to Register for a Complimentary Webcast on “The Case for Remote Expertise”, Hosted by Help Lightning, and Featuring Bill Pollock

To All Field and Remote Services Professionals,
 
I would like to extend you an invitation to join me on Thursday, January 30th, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST for a complimentary webcast on the topic of The Case for Remote Expertise. The Webcast will be hosted by Help Lightning, the leading Augmented Reality provider of Virtual Interactive Presence, and will feature me, Bill Pollock, President of Strategies For Growth, as the guest speaker.
 
Simply click on the following link to complete your complimentary registration (and please feel free to forward this invitation to any of your business colleagues): http://tiny.cc/sfg-webcast
 
Webcast Overview:
The findings from Strategies For Growth℠2020 Remote Expertise Benchmark Survey clearly identify the following as the primary reasons influencing a services organization’s drive to incorporate Remote Expertise capabilities into their field service operations:
  • 65%  To improve upon current levels of Customer Satisfaction
  • 64%  Ability to meet (or exceed) our customers’ services expectations
  • 62%  To diagnose problems faster, and with greater accuracy 
As a result of an ongoing technology explosion, increased competition and reduced margins, meeting the desired goals of customer satisfaction and services profitability remains a major challenge for many organizations. What is your organization doing to run its field service operations more effectively – and cost-effectively?
 
Please join me, and Webcast host, Help Lightning, for our complimentary Webcast, on Thursday, January 30th from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST to learn:
  • What the leading global Services Organizations are doing with respect to embracing – and incorporating – new technologies into their services operations
  • What the real benefits are associated with moving to a Remote Expertise service delivery model
  • What obstacles and potential pratfalls you might experience along the way
  • How to emulate the strategic and tactical actions presently being taken and/or planned by the leading Services Organizations
I hope you and your team will be able to join us then! In the meantime, please be sure to visit our blogsite at www.PollockOnService.com for more trending thoughts and commentary on the global services market.
 
To register for this complimentary Webcast, please go to: http://tiny.cc/sfg-webcast.
 
I hope to see you there!
Best regards,
Bill

Salesforce Poised to Strike with Its Field Service Lightning Solution (Part 3 of 4)

[This is part 3 of a 4-part series on the launch of Salesforce Field Service Lightning. Part 3 focuses on the Industry’s “Take” on the new offering. Part 4 will follow over the next week or so.]

Field Service Lightning – The Industry’s Take

Early on, CRM Daily cited that “Salesforce is adding some lightning to its customer success platform. The latest iteration of Salesforce Lightning aims to raise the bar on customer relationship management with a platform that taps cloud, mobile, social, IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and data science.” The publication also reported that, “Salesforce launched Lightning in 2015 as a multi-tenant, next-generation metadata platform that enterprise workers can use on any device. It quickly gained traction, boasting 90,000 customers and 55 partners today.”

NewsFactor referred to Salesforce chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff’s, press release statements hyping Lightning as a “game-changer” for Salesforce and its customers as just that – “hype!”. But, in a direct response to the press release, wondered whether Benioff was “overselling the platform.”

However, Mary Wardley, vice president of enterprise applications and CRM Software at research analyst firm, IDC, believes that Salesforce is on to something, as she opined (in a Salesforce statement) that, “Salesforce has set the standard for innovation in the cloud, and by association, CRM, delivering an unprecedented three releases per year for the last 17 years. Maintaining that pace of innovation is even more crucial as both the pace of technology and customer requirements continue to accelerate and become more complex.”

She further went on to say that, ““Field service operations remain a bastion of antiquated systems in many organizations. With the advent of IoT and more objects becoming connected, field service will only become more complex and critical to the success of service organizations. Having a complete end-to-end view of the entire customer service experience – from purchase to installation to maintenance – will allow companies to grow customer loyalty and engagement.”

ChannelBiz reported that Sarah Patterson, Salesforce senior vice president of marketing, after presenting a preliminary demo of the new Field Service Lightning platform, referred to the app by calling it “the Uber of field service apps.”

Also according to ChannelBiz, “the demonstration showed how Field Service Lightning tracks the location of service representatives and has the ability to assign the one closest to a new job. But the system also lets the dispatcher see if that first choice is stuck in traffic and automatically assign the job to someone who can get to the job site faster. An online map shows the field representative’s progress getting to the job and when they’ve arrived.”

However, Diginomica believed the introduction of the new Lightning component to be generally expected on the basis of scuttlebutt … that a field service play would feature at last year’s Dreamforce after Oracle acquired TOA Technologies and Microsoft snapped up FieldOne”. However, it also believed that the announcement was just “another example of Salesforce’s expanding functional footprint putting it on a collision course with partners in the company’s ecosystem”.

Nonetheless, the analyst firm went on to say that “Salesforce’s angle on partner-clash is simple enough – these are big market sectors and the key is to provide customers with choices. That’s also the line being taken by ServiceMax today.”

In support of their belief, Diginomica provides a quote from Spencer Earp, ServiceMax’s Vice President EMEA, saying that:

  • “Field Service is a very big market – it pretty much keeps the world running in just about every sector you can think of from healthcare to energy to manufacturing – and it’s applicable to companies of all sizes. What’s interesting is that it’s not just the size of the market that’s expanding, but also the potential.
  • So it’s not surprising that as both the market for field service grows and the potential for monetising grows with it, that we’ll see multiple players with different levels of offerings. It’s a multi-billion-dollar market, so there’s plenty room for field service leaders like ServiceMax who operate on the Salesforce1 platform to co-exist with Salesforce in this space – partly because of the sheer size of the market, but also because of the diverse set of customer requirements in a market this big.
  • Some companies will want to simply automate the location and scheduling of their service techs, for example, whilst others will need the richer experience and deep sector expertise that a complete end to end field service management solution like ServiceMax provides.”

Information Week sees Salesforce as having, “enhanced the field service and several other capabilities across its platform, reconfigured its packaging, and raised prices. It has also added Accenture as a cloud CRM customer (i.e., on the same day as the announcement)”. In an interview published soon after the initial announcement, in Information Week, Forrester Research senior analyst, Ian Jacobs, was quoted as saying that Salesforce’s approach to adding field service functionality is “lightweight” and internally developed; that it marked a difference from Salesforce competitors, some of whom have sought to add this field and dispatch functionality to their products through acquisition (e.g., Oracle and Microsoft). He also believed that other large global companies may also follow suit.

However, following Salesforce’s March 15, 2016 press release, Jacobs went on to say that, “There are several reasons for Salesforce to jump into this space. The obvious one: they are in a competitive tit-for-tat with Microsoft and Oracle who have both acquired their way into the market. But there are actual benefits to companies of combining field service and customer service on a single platform: better handoff between contact centers, dispatch, and field workers; connecting field service to cases opened in Service Cloud; and a better ability to create a holistic service process.”

In another interview with Jacobs, Elec Café reported that “The company took the unusual step of releasing the new field service product without a pilot or Beta testing period, instead going straight to market. The lack of a pilot did not escape the notice of Forrester’s Jacobs,” who further elaborated in TechCrunch that “The no pilot or beta was a big surprise to me. But the growth in the subscription model across all sorts of industries (HVAC companies offering cold air as a service, for example) dramatically elevates the importance of field service in the B2B world, and the explosion of home automation and ‘smart’ appliances does the same for the B2C realm.”

Fortune also weighed into the mix by reporting that, “The cloud software giant’s latest application launched Tuesday, called Field Service Lightning, automates the management repair or service calls – everything from dispatch alerts to work order creation to wrap-up reports. As you might expect, the service ties closely to the flagship Salesforce customer relationship app. In theory, that turns service technicians into potential sales representatives. For example, if someone notices that a customer might benefit more from a product update – rather than a repair – the technician will be able to suggest that to the customer and note that in his or her report.”

Overall, the various industry analysts’ reports look very positive thus far.

[Watch for part 4, to be published on our Blogsite shortly.]

Building a Best Practices Warranty Management Program for 2016 – and Beyond

How Best Practices Organizations Are Positioning Themselves to Drive Revenues, Reduce Costs and Compete More Effectively

Putting Warranty Management Metrics in Perspective

Each year, Strategies For GrowthSM (SFGSM) conducts a series of Benchmark Surveys among its outreach community of more than 40,000 global services professionals. Total responses for the updated 2015 Warranty Chain Management Benchmark Survey, conducted over a six-month period ending in Q3 2015, are in excess of 225

Overall, global survey respondents identify the following as the top factors that are currently driving their ability to optimize warranty management performance:

  • 56% Desire to improve customer retention
  • 50% Post-sale customer satisfaction issues
  • 37% Customer demand for improved warranty management services
  • 27% Product defect-related costs
  • 24% Mandate to improve service profitability
  • 21% Mandate to drive increased service revenues

However, in order to effectively execute on each of these drivers – and strive to attain Best Practices – respondents then cite the following as the most important strategic actions already in place at their respective organizations:

  • 52% Develop / improve metrics, or KPIs, for advanced warranty chain analytics
  • 39% Streamline parts return process to improve overall efficiency
  • 35% Improve warranty management-related planning and forecasting activities
  • 32% Restructure for improved Warranty Management oversight & accountability
  • 31% Foster a closer working collaboration between product design & service

How well an organization steps up to each of these drivers by taking the most appropriate – and effective – strategic actions will ultimately determine its prospects for successfully attaining a desired Best Practices position in the global warranty management services marketplace.

Based on the updated results of the original SFGSM benchmark survey, this report provides additional insight into each of these and other related areas that may be impacting your organization’s ability to attain Best Practices with respect to its overall warranty chain management processes – and it all starts with the need to have a full understanding of the numerous processes, policies and procedures used to run your warranty management operations, coupled with the development of a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) program that can be used to measure your success all along the way.

For the purposes of this report, we define Best Practices Warranty Management organizations as those that have attained both 90% or higher customer satisfaction, and reflect average warranty claims processing times of four days or less. Accordingly, approximately 11%, or 25, of the total respondents are classified as Best Practices.

[To obtain a copy of the full White Paper report, or to register for the March 3, 2016 Webcast of the same name, please visit the Tavant Technologies Webcast landing page at: http://info.tavant.com/Warranty_Webinar_2016.html.]

Best Practices Field Service Organizations (FSOs) Use an Expanded Variety of Tools and Technologies to Directly Support Their Field Techs and Customers

(Drill-down Results from SFGSMs 2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey – Part 6)

A three-quarters majority of Best Practices organizations (i.e., 75% or more) currently support their field technicians with a variety of online capabilities, including the ability to track and update the current status of work orders (86%), the ability to initiate service orders (81%), access to customer/asset service history (76%), and access to product schematics/documentation (76%). This generally compares to a two-thirds or greater (i.e., 67% or more) majority among the general population. Ability to provide customers with an Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) / Estimated Time to Complete (ETC) is additionally cited by a 65% majority of respondents.

Other capabilities currently being provided by a majority of Best Practice organizations to their respective field technicians include:

  • 60% Access to real-time parts inventory / availability
  • 56% Availability of required parts, either in van or en route
  • 56% Access to problem resolution scenarios

Whether it is access to data and information that represents the past (i.e., customer/asset history), the present (i.e., current status of work orders), or the future (i.e., providing customers with an ETA / ETC), the Best Practices organizations already recognize the importance of real-time data and information access.

However, the key to success for most Best Practices organizations is that they are also providing their customers with a comparable set of online tools to make both their – and their field technician’s – lives much easier. By providing customers with the right mix of Web-enabled self-help capabilities, the leading organizations have essentially been able to run their respective services operations more effectively, while also increasing existing levels of satisfaction by allowing customers to become part of their own “support team”.

The primary online capabilities currently provided to customers of Best Practices organizations include:

  • 71% Ability to order parts (up from 65% among the general population)
  • 65% Ability to view current status of work order (up from 59%)
  • 63% Ability to initiate / create service tickets online (up from 59%)
  • 58% Ability to update status of current work order (up from 55%)
  • 46% Ability to track service parts shipping status (up from 45%)

By making the customer part of the service delivery team, Best Practices organizations can continue to benefit from reduced time and cost-related factors – while increasing existing levels of customer satisfaction. Customer access to online service order data and information is clearly a “win-win” scenario for both parties.

However, the greatest impact on the future of Field Service Management is most likely to come as a result of the growing acceptance of Cloud-based technology. The results may be somewhat surprising to some, as they suggest that there is little difference between Best Practices organizations and the general population with respect to their preferences for how they will be acquiring their next (or first) FSM solution and/or upgrade – the vast majority seem to be leaning toward a Cloud-based solution (i.e., by a ratio of nearly 3:1).

Among those Best Practices organizations currently planning an FSM implementation in the next 12 months (or considering doing so in the next 24 months), a Cloud-based solution is preferred by 56% of respondents, compared to only 19% citing a preference for Premise-based. Another one-quarter (25%) remain undecided at this time. The corresponding percentages for the general population are virtually identical at 54% preferring Cloud-based, 20% preferring Premise-based, and 26% undecided – a corresponding ratio of 2.7:1 in favor of Cloud.

In the two years since the previous Field Service Management Benchmark was conducted, this represents a sea-change from a market that historically had gone Premise-based for a majority of its Field Service Management software solution needs. As such, the Cloud now allows some of the smaller FSOs to attain – and maintain – Best Practices status and, in many cases, compete directly against the historical market leaders who had previously been the only ones invited to join this elite group.

Based on the results of SFG’s 2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey, the key takeaways for Best Practices FSOs are:

  • Best Practices services organizations are significantly more driven than the general population of Field Services Organizations (FSOs) to meet their respective customer demands for quicker response time and improved asset availability; improved workforce utilization, productivity and efficiencies; and increased service revenues.
  • A majority of Best Practices organizations are adding, expanding and/or refining the metrics, or KPIs, they use to measure service performance; they also use a larger variety of KPIs to measure their performance than do their non-Best Practices counterparts.
  • Over the next 12 months, more than 84% of Best Practices organizations will have integrated new technologies into their existing field service operations, and roughly three-quarters (74%) will have invested in mobile tools to support their field technicians.
  • Best Practices organizations are increasingly providing their Field Technicians with enhanced access to real-time data and information to support them in the field; they are also taking the lead in providing customers with an expanded variety of Web-enabled self-help capabilities (i.e., ability to order parts or initiate service calls, track the status of open calls, etc.).
  • Best Practices organizations are currently attaining the industry’s highest levels of Customer Satisfaction and Service Profitability (i.e., 95% satisfaction, and 49.6% service profitability).
  • Best Practices organizations are no different in their preference for Cloud-based FSM solutions – in fact, they share the same preference for Cloud as the general population of services organizations.

In 2014 and beyond, the proliferation of Cloud-based FSM solutions may serve to further normalize the competitive playing field between Best Practices organizations and all others with respect to their ability to use the same tools to reach out to, and serve, their customers. However, the larger enterprises that have already mastered attaining Best Practices status are likely to still maintain a marketing and competitive advantage based at least on their getting there first, and having already dealt with most of the other issues that have historically impeded the ability of smaller organizations to rise to the top.

 

What Best Practices Field Service Organizations (FSOs) Are Doing to Differentiate Themselves from the Rest of the Pack

(Drill-down Results from SFGSMs 2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey – Part 4)

Overall, survey respondents meeting the requirements for Best Practices status (i.e., attaining both 90% or greater Customer Satisfaction, and 30% or greater Services Profitability) identify the following as the top factors, or challenges, that currently drive their desire to optimize field service performance:

  • 50% Customer demand for quicker response time
  • 43% Need to improve workforce utilization and productivity
  • 40% Internal mandate to drive increased service revenues
  • 40% Need to improve service process efficiencies

The data clearly reflect that those Field Service Organizations (FSOs) which have already attained Best Practices status appear to place somewhat more emphasis on key market drivers such as customer demand for quicker response time, and internal mandate to drive increased service revenues than their non-Best Practices counterparts. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they are also attaining the highest levels of Customer Satisfaction and Service Profitability among the overall survey universe.

However, in order to effectively address these key challenges – and strive to maintain their Best Practices status – respondents then cite the following as the top strategic actions they are currently taking:

  • 61% Develop / improve metrics, or KPIs, used to measure field service performance
  • 42% Invest in mobile tools to provide field technicians with real-time access to required data and information in the field
  • 35% Integrate new technologies into existing field service operations (i.e., iPads, Tablets or other devices, etc.)

While the survey results reveal fairly similar patterns reflecting the integration of new technologies and investment in mobile tools to support the field force, the big difference is reflected in the percent of Best Practices services organizations that are currently developing and/or improving the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they will be using to measure their respective performance; i.e., cited as a top strategic action by 61% of Best Practices respondents, compared to only 52% for non-Best Practices respondents.

The remainder of this white paper provides additional insight into each of these and other related areas that may be influencing your organization’s drive to attain Best Practices, as well as highlighting those resources that the leading organizations currently have in place – or are planning to implement – that have already taken them to Best Practices status.

The survey results reveal that 81% of Best Practices respondent organizations currently operate service as an independent profit center (or as a pure, third-party service company), compared with only 66% among non-Best Practices organizations. Even so, there are just under one-in-five (18%) that still operate as cost centers – even though they are attaining high levels of customer satisfaction and overall services profitability. Nonetheless, there are only roughly half as many Best Practices organizations that are still running service as a cost center, compared to all others.

While there has not been a significant change in these percentages from similar surveys conducted over the past two years or so, this 4:1 ratio strongly validates the fact that profit centers now represent the dominant business model within the Best Practices services community.

It is noted, however, that the percentage of organizations running service as an independent profit center varies – sometimes significantly – by size of organization (i.e., based on annual revenue or turnover). The overall survey findings indicate that US$1 billion-plus organizations come in at 74%, while SMBs (i.e., Small and Medium-sized Businesses) report only 55%. Not surprisingly, organizations reporting total annual service profits of greater than 30% come in at 76% – one of the highest levels among all of the segments covered in the survey. As such, they are not only operating service as a profit center – they’re actually making a significant profit by doing so!

The Best Practices respondent base also clearly confirms that the predominant mode of Field Service Management (FSM) solutions currently being deployed is mainly off-the-shelf, either with some customization (40%), or basically right out-of-the-box with no customization (6%), comprising nearly one-half (46%) of the respondent base in total. This figure is just over 10% higher than that cited by non-Best Practices organizations.

More than a third of respondents (34%) are either using home-grown, or internally-developed automated systems (15%), or custom solutions developed by a systems integrator (19%). While this overall percentage appears similar to that cited by the general services community, Best Practices organizations are far more likely to deploy a custom solution by a systems integrator (i.e., 19%, vs. only 12% for non-Best Practices), but far less likely to develop their FSM solution internally (i.e., 15%, vs. 23% for non-Best Practices organizations).

However, the most perplexing statistic may be the fact that nearly one-in-five Best Practices organizations (18%) are still running their field service operations basically via a series of manual processes (and spreadsheets) – the same percentage attributable to the total respondent base!

The key drivers that most influence Best Practices organizations to improve the overall performance of their field service operations are similar to those cited by the general population, although, in a slightly different order – i.e., one that places somewhat more emphasis on the customer. For example, both sets of survey respondents cite customer demand for quicker response time and the need to improve workforce utilization and productivity as their top two market drivers.

However, while the general population focuses more on the need to improve service process efficiencies, the Best Practices organizations, having already done some work to improve this area, are able to turn their focus back to the customer, primarily with respect to meeting their demands for improved asset reliability – while, at the same time, also meeting internal management’s mandate to drive increased service revenues. Thus, for most Best Practices organizations, the need to improve internal service processes comes after these more immediate challenges that focus, first, on the customer; second, on productivity; and third, on driving service revenues – all key components that ultimately contribute directly to the bottom line.

While these market drivers may differ somewhat in intensity in each of the two surveyed populations, it is clear that the main focus remains squarely on the customer – particularly among the Best Practices organizations. They have already recognized that they could not initially attain – nor maintain – their elite status in the services community without having focused first on their customer’s needs and requirements; and, next, on improving the internal services operations necessary to meet their expectations.

As such, the common threads that tie all of these drivers together among Best Practices organizations may be best categorized into three groupings essentially comprising:

  • Customer demand for quicker response and improved asset availability;
  • Field technician utilization, productivity and efficiency improvement; and
  • An internal mandate to drive service revenues – and profits.

We also believe that it is a mistake to dwell only on the “top” factors that are driving the market – and the organization. In fact, there are several other factors that respondents cite as just “bubbling under the surface” with respect to their potential impact on the overall well-being of Best Practices organizations. These include:

  • 38% Competitive pressures / need for market differentiation
  • 21% Escalating field service operations costs
  • 13% Customer demand for more accurate service call scheduling
  •   6% Need to reduce / eliminate incidence of night / weekend work

It is noted, however, that while 6% (i.e., 1-in-sixteen) respondents in the general population cite the need to reduce dispatch-related problems, this factor apparently is not an issue among the Best Practices organizations.

Another key influencing factor revealed through the analysis of the survey findings is that 71% of the Best Practices services organizations surveyed have experienced some improvement in year-over-year field technician productivity (i.e., measured in terms of average calls completed per day), compared to 67% among the general population). However, more than half (i.e., 52%) have also experienced improvements in service revenue, per field technician during the same period. An even greater percentage (i.e., 61%) have also experienced improvements in their year-over-year service profitability.

In fact, these year-over-year increases have led the Best Practices organizations in attaining a mean average of 49.6% service profitability in the most recent reporting period, compared to only 38% among the general population. Further, at a mean average of 95%, Best Practices organizations currently enjoy customer satisfaction levels that are substantially higher than those attained by the general population (i.e., only 85%).

Each of these lofty levels of performance assure that most Best Practices organizations will likely retain their standing in the overall services community: first, through sheer momentum; and finally, by the fact that they already have, in most cases, addressed – and taken steps to improve – each of these key areas of performance, typically leaving them more able to focus on what originally took them to the top – the customer (and the bottom line).

Next up (in Part 5) will be a discussion of which KPIs Best Practices FSOs are using to measure their industry-leading service delivery performance.