Sell Up-Time instead of Down-Time

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/US_Navy_090430-N-7280V-334_Aviation_Electrician's_Mate_2nd_Class_Rob_Escue,_assigned_to_the_Warlords_of_Light_Helicopter_Antisubmarine_squadron_(HSL)_51,_performs_preventive_maintenance_on_an_SH-60F_helicopter_aboard_the_amphib.jpg  ron palinkas field service national service manager

Zachary Farrar makes an excellent point in his post in regards to service perspective.  Sometimes we focus on down time instead of up time. As service organizations we should see the benefits of worry free operation rather than the fear of the cost for down-time.  Unfortunately the resistance in that perspective is a reliance on the worst case scenario rather than the best case scenario.

Service agreements that focus on preventative maintenance help even out the peaks and valleys or running a service department.  it allows managers to better forecast manpower needs and service revenue.  One of the most problematic issues with service departments is to balance the number of service reps against the potential revenue of service charges.  Finding the right proportions is what makes a service department sustainable and successful.

Preventative maintenance is less expensive, easier to plan, and more readily executed than emergency service calls.  A service department that manages preventative maintenance will always be more successful than one which exclusively performs emergency calls.

Selling Up-Time Instead of Fear by Zachary Farrar, National Service Supervisor at Caljan Rite-Hite

Field Service Procedures

http://www.netmotionwireless.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Field-Service-Tablets.jpg  ron palinkas field service management national field service managerBill Pollock makes an excellent point in his article that the success of a field service organization is tied to it’s ability  to adopt a standard operating procedure.

“Is there a formal process for handling customer service activities in the field? Are specific responsibilities defined and assigned? Is ownership trackable and accountable?”

Bill Pollock,  http://fieldservice.com/2015/06/11/

This procedure must address the entire customer experience.  From the initial service call placed by the customer, scheduling and completion of service call, and a follow-up that allows you to evaluate your success and failures on every service call.  There will always be service calls that are considered “wins” and also service calls that will be called a “loss.”  Not a financial measurement, but more of an evaluation of how you were able to effectively manage your service calls.  Each individual service call is an opportunity for great success or great failure.

Make the most of each potential experience.

 

Post Manufacturing Service

Manufacturing and Field Service "Steel Engineer With Sparks" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toni-verstandig/manufacturing-the-future-_b_4109088.html  ron palinkas field service

A great quote from Field Service Digital.

“The distinction between service and manufacturing continues to shrink as products get smarter and as manufacturers recognize there are piles of money to be made supplying services after the sale.”

—Derek Korte, Field Service Digital http://fieldservice.com/2015/05/12/

Manufacturing companies continue to close the gap between manufactured products and users.  Smaller gaps help companies become more lean, agile, and effective in satisfying customers.  Customers can  be end-users, dealers, distributors, or even a government halfway around the globe.  The service arm of a manufacturing organization brings the company closer to it’s customers.

Field Service, Long-Term

lgo from www.fbmsolutions.com ron palinkas field serviceAll of us involved in field service management understand the daily crunch of matching up service requests with the resources to meet those demands.  This is the fundamental role of a field service department.  Whether you use full-time employees or sub-contractors does not really matter, the mission is to take care of the customers who require installation, training, or repair of their equipment.  If your company is interested in meeting this role then I am sure it will be successful.  The requirements to be successful with this role is really one of organizing your service department and understanding how to manage your resources.

What about other benefits of a service department, beyond running service calls?  Your field service members are probably some of the most tenured, experienced, and product-wise employees you have.  They will have a level of product knowledge that is more closely aligned to the customer’s perception of your equipment.  Your field service department has a relationship with your customers that is by far closer than anyone else in the company.  These ties may even be more personal between them and the customer than anyone else at your office.

In meeting with customers, field service reps have one trait that trumps almost all efforts by the office –influence.  Your field service reps are in a better position to influence current satisfaction with products, new purchases by the customer,  and feedback on current products.  it is something that we all know happens, and in most cases we are grateful to have.

How do you harness this potential into an existing field service network?

1.  Be hesitant to use sub-contractors for service roles.  Remember you are investing in your customer service reputation, your field service skills, and experience.  The strategy is about all service calls in the future, not just the margin on this one.

2.  Develop a  method that encourages and sustains interaction between field operations and the office.  The success of any organization is based on how well different departments interact.  Remote field service personnel are no exception.  The feedback may not be popular or unique, but it is important to listen to the people who are in front of the customer each day.

3.  Document and recognize the contribution that your field service reps make to the bottom line.  This is calculated in the service revenue of billable calls but also the sales potential that is realized from these relationships.

Field service is the final frontier of customer service.  Development of soft skills as well as hard technical skills are equally important.  Imagine the true realized value of having an additional group of part-time sales reps.  Armed with specific customer knowledge, these reps can qualify sales for full-time  sales reps and prepare the way for the next big sale.  Recognition of the contribution of your field service both inside an organization and outside is what will push your service, products, and sales over the top.

 

 

 

 

10 Tips for Field Service

 

  • ron palinkas field service managerYou are the expert. When you walk through the customer’s door, they need to know that you are the right person at the right time to help them. You need to project an air of confidence while remaining humble.
  • Leave your eccentricities at the door. We all have unique interests and personalities. Some of us stand out of the herd by nature. The customer’s site is not the place to show off our fashion sense, political beliefs, or quirkiness. When you are in front of the customer, they should see only one thing: a professional.
  • Dress the part. Business casual is the longstanding rule for field service. For most of us this has usually equated to khakis and a polo shirt. That said, the reality is that those may not be the best clothes to work in while performing strenuous activity such as installing equipment. Just use common sense.
  • ron palinkas field service managerKnow your place. Every company has conflict, politics, and an unhappy employee or two. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into it. Remember that you are a guest at the site and are not entitled to voice opinions about issues that do not involve you. If you are baited into making a statement, simply state that you do not know anything about it, and move on.
  • Never BS the customer. If you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, say so. We work with some very smart customers. Never make up an answer. It wastes their time and makes you look foolish. Tell them, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you,” and then follow up!
  • ron palinkas field service managerNever criticize the customer. Remember that the duties of a customer’s engineer or technician are very different from yours. You have a limited set of products that you support while they have many. Always acknowledge the customer’s efforts and remember to thank them.
  • Good enough is for chumps. You have been trained in proper procedures and practices. Use them. Taking shortcuts or leaving things in marginal operating condition costs the customer money due to potential downtime and could cost us that customer. Take pride in your work and approach every job as if it were the most important thing you’ve ever done for that customer, because it is.
  • Take the time to listen to your customer. You may already have an idea about what needs to be done. Nevertheless, it can save a lot of time to really understand what was done before you arrived and hear their opinions on what they believe needs to happen next.
  • ron palinkas field service managerLook for opportunities to help. More business is generated while on site that at any other time. As the person in front of the customer, you are an extension of our sales efforts. There are many opportunities to help our customers if you look for them. If you are asked questions about machine software while working on the equipment, answer them, then remind them that we offer training. If you see a piece of equipment that is exhibiting problems but hasn’t failed, let the customer know. If they ask you how to correct the problem, tell them. Not everything has to be billable. If we make our customers successful, they will make us successful.
  • Be honest. Maintain your integrity in all things and treat your customers fairly. Keep their best interest and your own company’s best interest in mind. Sometimes they will conflict. If you ever find yourself having to choose between the two, call your manager.

reprinted from  Aaron Smith https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140702161740-26213926-top-10-tips-for-field-service?trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A746232401434163489277%2CVSRPtargetId%3A5888419837503352832%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary&trk=vsrp_influencer_content_res_name