Recent field service software advances from MSI Data, ServiceMax, and Microsoft’s Field One, have meant that the role of service in the customer experience (CX) effort is finally getting it’s day. Salesforce has announced the launch of Lightning–their answer to better managing field service operations. Salesforce has over 150,000 customers and millions of users. By introducing Lightning, Salesforce has demonstrated that it is time for field service to have a seat at the customer experience table.
Most companies recognize the need for field service software. What they fear is implementation and integration (I&I). Attending software demos and purchasing the solution is the easy part. The difficulty is implementing that software across an organization in a way that does not interfere with day-to-day operations. Integration will always be a challenge, but whereas operations can recover from an implementation phase, it is very difficult to recover from lost data or revenue from an integration phase.
I have not had the opportunity to work with Lightning, but the launch of this software by Salesforce promises to reduce the negative impact of I & I by being part of Salesforce. (Salesforce Lightning Demo) If the office staff and field sales and service are already accustomed to Salesforce, this I & I pain can be reduced. Easing these two issues makes it easier for organizations to adopt field service management software.
Unfortunately the challenge with the field service management effort within organizations is less a problem of I & I and more a problem of institutionalized behavior. For those within the field service industry, the role of field service in the CX is clear. Service reps generate goodwill with customers, contribute to future sales and upgrades, and generate revenue to function as a stand-alone business unit. Sometimes, there are those in an organization who would attempt to minimize this contribution. Being effective at measuring and detailing contributions of a field service department is the key way to promote recognition of these aspects.
I have not yet seen Lightning in operation so I am unable to critique it’s performance as a field service solution. But, by choosing to develop a field service solution for Salesforce, it shows how field service is beginning to receive the recognition it deserves.
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