4 Ways to Transition Your Service in 2014

As January fades, some of us are starting to realize that our new year’s resolutions require more than just the constant reminder to stick to it.

Real change entails a more complex transition of thoughts, processes, and overall approach to our daily routines. For service leaders, achieving 2014 goals requires a similar approach.

In 2013, Aberdeen’s research showed that the role of the field service technician was in transition mode. Service organizations looked hard at ways to make field technicians more efficient, effective and successful in solving customer issues. This year, top-performing organizations are focused on improving revenue creation while still maintaining operational efficiency and exceptional customer experience.

Here are four major transitions we’re likely to see within service organizations this year:

1. Transition in cultureship among service providers. In Aberdeen’s State of Service report, increasing competition in service was reported for 54% of sampled companies, highlighting the importance of delivering exceptional service and retaining valued customers.

But excellent service requires an excellent culture within the organization. Service is no longer just the responsibility of the service team (i.e., field service). All functions that have an impact on the customer must work together to ensure service exceeds customer expectations.

2. Transition in the role of the field technician. The field service technician is being asked to complete more tasks and employ more technologies in 2014. Ultimately, their responsibility is to complete the task (the first time) – to service the part or asset as initially requested. But now more so than ever organizations understand that the field technician is the face of the company, and someone who often has the most customer engagement. Should technicians sell more or just service? Are customers happy if a technician just fixes the (current) problem and then leaves?

3. Transition in how we view service parts. Developing a clear strategy around service parts management remains a challenge for many organizations. The value of the part is often wasted on the shelves of the warehouse. In field service, pricing remains an underused solution.

In a recent report titled, Service Parts Pricing Optimization (January 2014), Aberdeen discusses which pricing models are the most widely used and effective in driving increased profitability without losing sight of the customer. Currently only 23% of the companies are using a parts pricing solution, but an additional 21% plan to transition to a pricing solution, suggesting a sharp increase in the future.

4. Transition from product-centric to service-centric. In the coming year, Aberdeen will provide context around value-added services and the importance of not just providing service because a product was sold to a customer but instead delivering valuable services to customers who are willing to pay for this value. For example, are some customers willing to pay for a premium service timeframe? Preliminary results from our 2014 Field Service survey suggest that a majority of customers are.

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