Service transformation is top of mind for most manufacturers. Moving from a cost-based service strategy to one that is profit-based is critical to driving revenues and profitability.
Getting ahead no longer rest solely on the features and functionality of a company’s products. Today’s market leaders are not only providing their customers with good products but they are helping them achieve their business goals. In short, the service you deliver is becoming the fundamental reason for your customer’s success.
The question is: How do you transform service to enable your customer’s success?
Recently, I got the opportunity to sit in on a couple of roundtable discussions with service executives at The Service Council’s Smarter Services Executive Symposium. The conversations highlighted the drivers influencing service transformation and best practices for reaching service goals. While the group consisted of service leaders from myriad industries, the themes driving transformation were common and included:
- Arming sales with the right tools to effectively sell service
- Making sure that employees receive the right training and access to knowledge to drive better service
- Better utilization of inventory
- Creating a better service value proposition to drive strategic and competitive differentiation
- Expanding into new regional and global markets with service offerings
- Keeping up with higher customer expectations due to technology acceleration
For the service executives in the room, tackling these drivers required big changes in the company vision and goals for service which often meant changes that directly affect the structure and overall culture of the organization.
Have you heard the saying “culture eats strategy for lunch?” These changes do not create an easy environment to navigate when transforming service. While everyone can agree that service transformation is needed and will produce positive outcomes in both the near and long term, the steps you take to bring about this transformation within your organization can make or break your ability to excel in service.
During the roundtable discussion, five best-practices stood out as critical to implementing a smoother, more positive transformation.
1. Communication. Communicating what you are trying to accomplish internally is vital to navigating not only the organizational changes but the culture changes inherent with service transformation.
You have to keep service transformation from becoming the “flavor of the month.” Every stakeholder within your organization plays a role in its success and having a consistent message from leadership across functions is key to achieving your goals.
It is also equally important to make sure that each individual/group understands what the transformation means for them directly and how it will benefit the way they execute good service for the customer. Keeping an open dialogue that includes feedback from your workforce to understand their capabilities and what they need in the field to help institute successful change is essential. If you don’t make this a priority, you risk a disconnect between concept and the field. Your entire workforce needs to feel empowered and involved with the transformation along the way.
2. Focus on voice of the customer. Always connect the service transformation journey with the voice of your customer. Your service transformation vision should come from the “outside in”. You are trying to show your customers that you are a partner that can support them through your service offerings better than they can support themselves. Focusing on how you can provide your customer more value can help you and your technicians in the field not lose focus on the key measurement of your service transformation’s success – customer satisfaction and retention. And never forget that your employees on the front lines have the most knowledge about your customers.
3. Discipline. Set the scope of your service transformation goals in the beginning and stick to it. Make sure you have executive buy-in early and a commitment to the resources needed to ensure long-term success.
4. Measurement and recognition. In addition to having a good plan, you need to clearly define the measures of success at the start of your service transformation. These measures need to be visible along the way so you can celebrate them as they are achieved. Recognizing small accomplishments along the journey is good for employee morale and retention and can help keep your employees invested in the transformation.
5. Change doesn’t have to be “grand”. Remember transformation doesn’t have to be “grand.” If you approach it thinking it has to be grand, it can be daunting and can paralyze your progress. Incremental changes can get you going on the journey. It is important to remember that even small changes can make a big impact not only to your bottom line but to your customer’s satisfaction levels. Celebrate small wins along the way!
Interested in learning best practices and insight to help you transform service? Attend PTC Live Service Exchange June 11-12 in Anaheim, California.