By Randy Hodgson, Tech Data
Global IT spending continues to rise, due in part to large-scale upgrades to outdated infrastructure and increased investments in remote work capabilities. In this environment, technology companies are increasing their focus on seamless product installation and migration, as well as ongoing support to foster customer loyalty. Today, especially for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and value-added resellers (VARs), the company’s reputation is only as positive as the customer’s last support call or service visit.
A long, frustrating and expensive service experience can threaten any technology company’s relationship with its customers. But an efficient and high-quality service experience can foster long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. Providing the best service possible, however, can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive if employees are balancing heavy workloads. Reducing or streamlining those workloads could require an increase in the number of resources and investments, in addition to infrastructure expansion to handle such increases. A more cost-efficient way to reduce or streamline those workloads is outsourcing services to an experienced global field services partner, which can help technology companies avoid the extra overhead costs, deliver a consistently high-quality customer experience and gain a competitive, multi-vendor advantage.
How The Right Global Field Services Partner Can Help Boost Customer Satisfaction
Providing customers with top-quality support services helps ensure long-term customer satisfaction. But it also can significantly consume company resources, money, and time. Training and managing support staff, deploying, and maintaining a service-focused infrastructure, and keeping up with global requirements all require resources that don’t often directly contribute to the company’s core revenue-creating business activities. Partnering with a global field services organization can reduce this type of resource drain by freeing up resources to focus on those core activities while the partner handles everything else.
When choosing an outsourcing partner to handle deployment and maintenance services specifically, there are many providers available, but not all of them can deliver the service quality excellence that customers deserve. Look for a partner with the following capabilities and experience:
- Customized Services
A primary goal for field services companies is to deliver a quality end user experience. When it comes to fostering customer loyalty, customer experience is both the new reality and the new battlefield. One-size-fits-all service offerings are inadequate since support services can range from basic deployments to complex implementations, and because service requirements also vary by geography and product.
An expert global field services partner should be able to customize its service offerings to fit your company’s needs and priorities. Exceptional, white-labeled, multi-vendor maintenance and support services and tools such as interactive voice response (IVR), email, or online portals that can be branded all help support ongoing customer relationships. Or, for example, a hybrid approach to service can allow the OEM or VAR to handle Tier 1 service calls itself while the field services partner manages more complex problems that require on-site service. Whether outsourcing all or part of certain operations, customized services that foster a seamless, simplified end user experience lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Global Experience
A key challenge for businesses as they expand globally is understanding and adhering to regional laws, regulations, and cultures. Taxation, employment, support capabilities, and customs — including Importer of Record (IOR) and Exporter of Record (EOR) policies — differ from country to country, so outsourcing to a global field services partner who understands these differences and can provide well-defined engagement models for different regions can help alleviate some of the challenges that come with global expansion. With a partner navigating these complexities on the company’s behalf, the company can then enter new markets with more confidence and expand its global reach while maintaining its focus and investments on managing core initiatives.
- Intelligent Tools
Effectively managing a global field service workforce requires an adept management team empowered by the right tools, which, unfortunately, can be costly and time-consuming to both purchase and learn. An experienced outsourcing partner will already have these tools in place and know how to use them. Consider global field services partners who utilize systems that use intelligent scheduling and analytics to help deliver on-time service to customers, track SLA compliance and other data and provide actionable analyses in easy-to-consume dashboards. Using these tools, a field services partner can help the company deploy intelligent self-service customer portals that assist with convenient scheduling, personalized and customized service offerings, and instant updates without needing to speak to a representative each time.
- Noncompetitive Approach
When outsourcing services to a global support provider, it is important to carefully review the prospective provider’s noncompete policies, as it is not unusual for support providers to compete with OEM and channel partners for service contracts. Technology companies need to choose a global field services partner who respects their customer and partner relationships. With a trusted partnership in place, engaging service contracts through the channel allows the channel partner to leverage the provider’s infrastructure to provide global service and warranty support.
- Dedication to Customers
With 60 to 70 percent of new business coming from current customers, the management of existing customer relationships is a critical business priority. Maintaining a positive customer experience is so important that nearly 90 percent of companies now prioritize the full customer experience life cycle. A global field services partner should have the capability to focus on revenue retention and support for existing customers, helping to strengthen customer relationships and maximize overall lifetime value. Taking it a step further, strategic accounts may benefit from having a dedicated client success manager or technical account manager to serve as a single point of contact and manage the relationship. Outsourcing to a global field services partner with this type of 24x7x365 global support helps ensure that your customers receive quality care anytime, anywhere.
Choosing A Global Partner To Maximize Customer Satisfaction
When outsourcing to a global field services partner, finding one that can offer customized, multi-vendor services to help build long-lasting, productive customer relationships is key. Implementing a global field services strategy that includes customized, high-touch, quality-driven support can reduce the risk of problems while demonstrating the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction. And a global field services partner can help companies manage every step of the service delivery process, thus freeing up their internal resources to hone their attention on core initiatives and business transformation rather than service management or legacy operations.
Every company has unique capabilities and objectives, which means its outsourcing strategy and needs are equally as unique. Successfully entrusting any part of your business to a global outsourcing partner starts with finding an experienced provider you can trust like your own team — a partner that offers customized services, a global experience, and a flexible, adept team to help both you and your customers reach your objectives. By understanding what a global field services partner can do for you, you can reshape the way you do business and free up your employees’ time to focus on your company’s future.
About The Author
Randy Hodgson joined Tech Data in 2017 and serves as the Director of Regional Lifecycle Delivery for the Global Field Services division of Global Lifecycle Management (GLM), a provider of specialized solutions within Tech Data. Randy’s key responsibilities include leading GLM’s 24x7x365 Global Technical Assistance Center, strategic Client Success team and service coordination for field services delivery.