The Many Fields of Service
By Ron Kaufman
My entire professional life has been in Sales and Marketing. In the early years, I juggled the responsibilities of single motherhood and of a working professional.
Each day when my children were young, I would pick them up from school, and we would share stories about the day. Many days as a Regional Sales Manager, my days were spent in the car. The freeways of Southern California were my office, as I would work with the members of my team, preparing for, and debriefing from client meetings.
When my daughter (who was about six years old at the time) asked about my day, I would respond, “It was a good day, Sweetie. I was out in the field”. I never gave any thought to the fact she had no idea what “the field” meant. One day she asked me “Mommy… is the field always green?” Ah… yes, the field.
Ron Kaufman and I had a wonderful opportunity recently to work with the team from The Service Council. This was the first of their “Smarter Services Executive Symposium”. It was a highly successful conference, held in Chicago, IL. Ron delivered the keynote presentation and moderated round table discussions at the Symposium. His message of Uplifting Service was warmly embraced, and there were many discussions about the issues of service throughout the conference. Many professional members of The Service Council are out “in the field” of “Field Services”. Companies such as Pitney Bowes, Sears Home Services, Motorola, Ingersoll Rand, United Seating, Wright Express, and Cross Country Home Services discussed the needs of Field Services from the vantage point of technology, measures and metrics, expectations, and performance.
The definition of field service is “The maintenance and repair of equipment at the customer’s location”. When the experts in field service gather to learn more about service from each other, the conversations become very interesting. When members of your company are out in the field providing field services, they are interacting with customers when service is needed most: during installations, repairs, upgrades, and training. At these moments, field service technicians are representatives of the entire company. Isn’t it vital that levels and standards of service be clearly outlined, understood, and delivered?
Unfortunately, statistics show that many field service organizations are not taking care and concern about the quality of service their team members provide. A recent media release “According to a recent survey of field service industry professionals, only 66 percent of respondents rank customer service as a top priority at their place of employment…”
In an excerpt from The Service Council™’s 2012 Remote Services Benchmark Survey, “In a perfect world, improved product efficiency would lessen the need for service, and less product failures would reduce or eliminate customer demand for improved service performance.” We know, however, that providing a great product is only one part of the Client Satisfaction cycle. Providing a great service experience, managing and understanding client expectations, bouncing back in service recovery situations, and creating new pathways for increased customer loyalty can set a competitive standard that others will have a hard time surpassing.
Members of The Service Council understand that maximizing the service experience improves the productivity (and joyful engagement) of staff, improves the demand for your products and services (competitive advantage), reduces client churn, and increases customer and staff loyalty.
Uplifting service is essential before and during the sale. It is vital to retaining customers and ensuring after-the-sale satisfaction. Uplifting service can add value in every field of service: in the office, on the phone, over the web, and when providing “maintenance and repair of equipment at the customer’s location in the field.”
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