Magazine Article | January 28, 2013

7 Habits Of Highly Effective Field Service Organizations

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Jerry Edinger, chairman, president & CEO, CSDP,

Follow these seven habits to optimize your service delivery operations and processes.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides great insights, and many of these ideas can be translated to the realm of field service, so I’ve created a list of seven habits for successful field service.

Habit 1: Deliver Proactive Service
Analytics can help by utilizing information gained from companies with the same products or profiles. For example, say several companies experience breakage with a certain machine component after the usage has reached a certain number of cycles. You know this component is expensive to replace, but that it can be repaired cheaper before it reaches maximum usage. Therefore, you can proactively service the machines with the problem component before it needs to be replaced. Careful data analysis and proper use of your service lifecycle management software can uncover trends and ways to differentiate your service.

Habit 2: Begin And End With Customer Feedback
While many companies collect customer feedback, and some use the feedback to take care of immediate concerns, very few companies actually bring the feedback into their service lifecycle management system to analyze the data, take action, and close the loop with the customer. By combining customer satisfaction, service, and operational information, companies can take immediate action on customer feedback and address underlying operational issues that may be adding cost or draining resources.

Habit 3: Prioritize Your Contract Renewals
Many companies have warranty, contract, and other entitlement data in multiple systems that are not connected. It is imperative to connect those systems or use a service lifecycle management solution that uses entitlements as the foundation of the system. You can then put safeguards in place to send notifications when a contract is due or send automatic invoices based on renewal dates, so your service organization will never again miss a contract up for renewal. And with contract information readily available, service staff can recognize out-of-contract and out-of-warranty circumstances.

Habit 4: Think Mobility
Your field technicians need access to your field service software while on-site in order to know the customer’s products and services purchase history. Armed with this information, technicians can do things like identify recurring service issues and recommend replacements or upgrades or have alerts sent to the sales/account manager about up-sell opportunities.

Habit 5: Understand Your Parts Inventory
You need to be able to track the repair process from start to finish, as well as give your service team real-time visibility into the location and status of each product or service part. Good parts inventory/planning software will ensure that you always have the correct parts on hand in order to be fully prepared to make repairs at all times. If the service requires a part that the closest technician is without, then you should be able to route another technician with the correct part to improve first call resolution.

Habit 6: Synergize People, Processes, And Technology
Your people, processes, and technology need to be working with each other, not against each other. Technology cannot fix broken processes, so don’t implement new technology before your processes are analyzed and optimized. Technology also needs to make your people more effective and not hinder processes. Starting with business process mapping and analysis can help uncover all of your people, processes, and technology issues.

Habit 7: Sharpen Dispatch And Scheduling
You need to ensure that service technicians with the right skill set are properly dispatched the first time with the right information and parts. Your dispatch software should track service technicians’ time, parts, and expenses. In addition, you should always have real-time and accurate views of dispatch operations to prevent service dispatch conflicts and to assign multiple service people to a job when necessary.