We all know that we can’t improve what we don’t measure. As field service has become modernized and more sophisticated, so too have the metrics by which field service organizations measure progress and determine success. I’m commonly asked “what is the most important metric used to determine field service success?” and while I think it does depend on both your service model and the areas in which your company needs to improve most, you’ll see below there are some definite commonalities.
I asked some of our board members to share what they would consider the #1 metric by which their organization measures field service success. By and large, metrics surrounding customer satisfaction were the most common answer – although there are different nuances within that umbrella.
“We put a lot of focus on customer attention and, consequently, retention. Our metrics focus largely around how well we are serving the customers we have, the customers we could have, and learning from past experiences. All of our metrics focus largely in how we can optimize our collective duty to the customer, and I would say its importance to our culture is almost as central as our commitment to ethical conduct,” says Jeremy Jones, CIO of Comfort Systems.
Why has customer satisfaction become so critical a measurement? Because field service organizations have realized that no matter what else they do right, if they can’t make their customers happy it is all for naught. “We emphasize customer satisfaction as a measure of our success. Obviously we have utilization, cost, and margin measures — but we could achieve each of those objectives with a less-than-desirable customer experience and we’d still lose,” says Robb Origer, VP of In-Home Services at Dish Network.
There’s also the recognition that upset customers can be detrimental to you brand, so from a competitive standpoint it is imperative to ensure satisfaction. “Customer satisfaction is the most important metric that we track because the brand and revenue impact of a dissatisfied customer is our greatest threat. Having a reputation for quality service, responsiveness, and technical competency has given us a competitive advantage in the market, so keeping customers happy is of great importance,” says Roy Dockery, VP of Customer Care at Swisslog.
Let’s look at a few examples of exactly how companies are measuring customer satisfaction. KONE uses NPS (Net Promoter Score) to gauge customer loyalty. “Field service success is largely about our relationship with our customers. Our measure of success in field services hinges on the NPS measuring customer loyalty. We have seen that by focusing on this metric we obtain insights into critical customer satisfaction areas, strengthen customer loyalty, and secure repeat business as well as KONE promoters who help extend our brand and grow our business throughout a market,” says Jeff Blum, senior VP, West Region at KONE.
Fresenius Kabi uses both event-based and annual surveys to gather feedback from its customer base. “We rely heavily on customer experience insight from event and annual surveys. You can glean some pretty eye-opening information — both positive and negative — especially from the comments associated with the surveys,” explains Ryan Snellings, VP of Operations at Fresenius Kabi.
For Trane, customer experience is measured through the renewal of service agreements. “We look most closely at service agreement base growth with renewal. The renewed service agreement is a real testimony of how well we are performing for our customers and the value that we are delivering,” says Greg Parker, Portfolio Director, Building Services at Trane.
As you can see, the measure of customer experience was the most common response to the question of #1 metric used. For Markem Imaje, the top metric is service profitability. “The number one measure for us is service profitability. It proves we deliver sustainable value-added services that our customers are willing to pay for using an effective and efficient service delivery structure,” explains Jack Rijnenberg, Director of Global Customer Service at Markem Imaje.
And at Gosiger, Roger O’Connor,VP of Product Support, explains that the top metric is always a moving target. For us this is a moving target. “We focus most heavily on whichever metric we are currently not meeting. We have five key metrics we track: response time, first-call fix rate, average install time, average travel time, and realized revenue per hour worked. I can’t really say any of these beats out another as the #1, just that we focus where we need to. I can also say there are times when another issue will come up that is not one of these metrics, and we’ll put significant energy onto that. For example, recently we have been looking at average time per call by individual tech to determine where we have the greatest training opportunities,” he says.
What’s your company’s top metric? I’d love to hear how similar or different it is from the folks that contributed to this article. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.