By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
In a space like field service that is becoming increasingly competitive, it may seem counterintuitive for me to suggest that you start ignoring what your competition is doing — but hear me out. As field service organizations struggle more and more to differentiate themselves, I think it becomes increasingly important to tune out what other companies in your industry are doing. Here are two big reasons why.
A Competitive Focus Inhibits True Innovation
We’re taught to work hard to beat the competition — that we should measure our success based on how well we’re winning against those around us. But in reality, competition stamps out creativity. When you are hyper-focused on beating your competitors, you tend to spend your time and energy thinking of ways you can provide the same services better or faster than they can instead of brainstorming out-of-the-box ways you can create new or different services or offerings. Living in a world of competition tends to tie you down and limit your potential.
A better practice is to ignore what your competitors are doing and focus in on what your customers can tell you. Ask not just for feedback on the services you provide or how you’re doing business, but ask them for insight on their greatest needs and desires. Then use this perspective as fuel for creativity. Think beyond what you’re doing now or what’s happening in your corner of field service at the moment, and allow yourself and your employees to throw ideas out that have never been discussed before. Freeing yourself from thinking only about the world you’re currently in will enable you to think of ways to truly innovate and transform your business.
Your Competition Is Greater Than Field Service
The second compelling reason to tune out your field service competitors is that, at this point, your competition is far more encompassing than companies in field service. The reality is that your customers are weighing the service you provide against the service they receive from companies like Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, and so on. These brands focus heavily on making the lives of their customers easier — on delivering seamless, transparent service. These companies have become the bar against which service is held, and your customers no longer differentiate “field service” from “service.” They expect the same level of ease and satisfaction from the experiences they have with your company as they do with these big brands.
Instead of thinking about what other field service organizations are doing well, you need to be thinking about how service expectations are being elevated in general. How can your company deliver a more “Uber-like” experience? How can you make your customers feel more involved in their service experience? What kinds of things could you do differently to make the service interaction seamless and to deliver a more positive experience? Thinking on this larger scale and taking a broader view than just field service will get you closer to what your customers want.