Your Field Service Organization: Moving from Cost Center to Profit Center
Your field service personnel provide an essential service to your customers and are therefore vital to your company’s growth and customer satisfaction. But for many organizations, the field service department is viewed as a cost center—a place where money is spent on necessary functions, but for which no revenue is realized. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Field service personnel are in constant contact with your customers long after the sale, providing maintenance, upgrades, repairs, and warranty work. They represent a chance for your company to differentiate itself from the pack and provide a quality customer experience and returning customers.
But how can your company turn your field service organization from a cost center into a profitable revenue stream? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Understand your value
For your customers to want to pay for your services, they first must understand the value these services mean to them. Identify and commit to providing the level of service that earns your customers’ hard-earned dollars. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:
- What value do we provide to our customers?
- What can we do better than anyone else?
- Where can we improve?
- What words do we want to have associated with our company in the marketplace?
The answers to these questions will help you develop a field service department that will help differentiate your company from your competitors.
Increase productivity with collaborative technology
Organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of collaboration tools – applications such as Basecamp, Slack, Trello, Asana, and even Dropbox. These tools can help field personnel share their knowledge and experience, reducing the time it takes to identify and repair problems encountered in the field. For example, service technicians can create and add to a knowledge base of common field issues, including photographs of equipment onsite, user manuals, and parts information.
Use remote technology to your advantage
Two technologies being adopted by field operations are mobile devices and the Internet of Things.
Mobile devices keep your field service personnel in constant contact with each other as well as the central office. Adding a cloud-based knowledge sharing application helps them resolve issues in the field quickly without having to “call somebody” to find out the answer.
The Internet of Things allows web-enabled devices to communicate status updates automatically to service personnel, such as when a part is failing or when warranty service is due, without the need to send personnel onsite. This lets service personnel know about required repairs or maintenance on installed equipment BEFORE there is an issue.
As more and more companies invest in a mobile, web-enabled field service workforce, those companies that cannot or will not adapt will be left behind.
Your field service techs can also be sales reps
Your service technicians represent the face of your company when they are on a customer site. That means they can help advise the customer whenever they ask a question or request a recommendation.
Make sure your field service personnel are prepared to help advise a customer whenever additional products or services are appropriate, whether it’s an equipment upgrade or a move to a better service contract. Your customers will appreciate the attention to their specific needs.
For more tips on turning your field service organization into a profit center, download this Microsoft whitepaper, Nine ways to make your field service organization a profit center.