4 Tips For Creating A Credible Technician Compensation Plan

field_service_compensationAfter he’s finished with the emergency repairs, the field service technician talks with the customer for a few minutes, pointing out some preventive maintenance and parts upgrades that could improve the machine’s efficiency and prevent an expensive breakdown. The technician pulls together a work order on a mobile device and shows the customer what the maintenance would cost. The customer pauses, frowns a little and asks the technician, “OK, but do you get a commission for selling me this extra work?”

For field service organizations, this question is critical to customer satisfaction. Customers are used to regarding a good technician as a trusted adviser, but may see salespeople as willing to say anything to get them to buy. Field service organizations want to give technicians an incentive to sell extra work, but this could damage the technician’s credibility. How can you create a technician compensation plan that reflects company incentives, without sacrificing credibility and customer satisfaction?

About 10 years ago, field service organizations started looking for a compensation plan that would encourage technicians to sell additional work. Consultants offered seminars on how to train technicians to upsell, using all kinds of schemes, including piecework rates and simple percentages (for example, 5 percent of what they sold over the initial work order). Customers eventually caught on that technicians were pushing additional services because they were trying to make more money, not to benefit the customer.

Customers started asking that dreaded question: “Do you get a commission for selling me this extra work?”

In the last few years, especially during the economic downturn, many contractors stopped offering per-piece or percentage incentives. However, with a little strategic restructuring, it is possible to give technicians an incentive to sell without directly tying these sales to a compensation plan.

  1. Start with the answer you want technicians to give: The first step is for contractors to rethink what they want their technicians to say and how they will answer the customer’s question about commissions. When you give technicians a percentage, for example, that is certainly a commission, and the customer is not interested.
  2. Use quarterly goals instead of a direct compensation plan: Some field service organizations will create quarterly goals for technicians, such as, “If you exceed $5,000 of add-on sales in a quarter, you get a bonus of $1,500.” This way, technicians can honestly answer that they do not receive a commission — just a quarterly incentive for meeting a target.
  3. Hold the sales numbers until the end of the quarter: Field service organizations can use software to track these add-on sales, but it may pay to keep these numbers under wraps. Some organizations find that technicians sell a lot more when they aren’t looking at each extra sale as progress toward their quarterly goal.
  4. Offer a bonus for customer satisfaction: The best technicians know they’re good, and want to be acknowledged and compensated for it. Instead of just offering raises for past performance, a compensation plan can include elements that ensure the contractor also gets something extra out of it. One option is to give the technician an incentive through a quarterly customer satisfaction survey. For example, “If you score 4.2 or higher on a 5-point scale on our customer satisfaction survey, you’ll receive a $2,000 bonus.”

With each of these strategies, the goal is to find a compensation plan that ensures customer satisfaction, motivates technicians and provides an overall benefit to the organization. Today’s field service software makes it easy to track these kinds of incentives automatically, encouraging the kinds of actions and behaviors that support company incentives without sacrificing credibility and customer satisfaction.

By John Jazwiec, CEO, WennSoft

http://www.fieldtechnologiesonline.com/doc tips

Why Field Service Has Become More Important In A Tight Economy

service_pro_web_portals http://d1odugabhcp9u9.cloudfront.net/assets/service_pro_web_portals.png


Executives cite field service as a top strategic priority, despite some not having the resources to manage it the way they’d like.

The findings from The Service Council’s most recent survey on The Role of Service Culture in Driving Service Revenues support the case that field service remains a critically important component of the overall services economy and, in fact, is increasing in importance among the most successful services organizations. According to a near majority of more than 500 survey respondents, the top benefits of a strong service culture with respect to their impact on driving service revenues are (1) more satisfied customers (62%), (2) deeper partnerships with customers (48%), and (3) more consistent service performance and delivery (48%). The common thread that ties each of these three factors together is, of course, the field service organization.

Past research has shown that it is primarily field service operations that ultimately define how customers “see” the organization in terms of satisfaction, partnerships, and delivery. It is essentially at the field technician level where (1) customer relationships are first established, (2) the closest customer partnerships evolve, and (3) the performance of the entire organization is measured by customers — quite a significant load falling directly on the shoulders of the field technicians.

Why Field Service Is Crucial
These field service-related factors actually trump other key performance factors in importance, including stronger competitive advantage (33%), enhanced market image and reputation (26%), and a healthier bottom line (20%). Think about it — roughly half or more of the marketplace believes that the greatest benefits of a strong service culture can be realized by focusing on the field organization over and above other key factors such as the competition, market image, and even the bottom line!

Service executives apparently recognize the importance of their field organizations, as nearly all those surveyed (96%) cite their top strategic action over the next 12 months to be proactively marketing and promoting the organization’s services capabilities. This is not only through their use of state-of-the-art technology or their expansive geographic coverage, but more on the specific capabilities and skills of their field technicians and the many other people and technologies (optimized scheduling and dispatch solutions, parts management programs, etc.) that support them in the field.

Not all is rosy, however. While a majority of respondents report that service is a priority currently being wellmanaged within their organizations (53%), more than half (27%) of them confirm that service is also a top priority, but that they are lacking in the resources to manage it effectively. What that typically means is that within these organizations, all aspects of services operations tend to suffer, and — unfortunately — it is typically among field operations where much of the potential “neglect” is manifested.

In a world where more service executives measure customer satisfaction (65%) than service profitability (59%), and more organizations measure service revenue per field technician (28%) than total cost of service resolution (20%), the field organization is likely to remain a top priority. However, it will still need to be fully supported within the organization — from the bottom down, and the top up — with respect to the effective management of all customer touch points.

For example, respondents report that the greatest challenges they face today are (1) obtaining the investment required to support revenue-driving initiatives, (2) building a coordinated services cross-selling/upselling program, and (3) having adequate sales resources readily in place and productive. Other key challenges include gaining internal buy-in from company management and problems caused by a lack of collaboration between the services and product/manufacturing organizations. While not all of these factors are challenges for all respondents, it is among the most successful of these organizations that provide their field operations with all of the tools and resources required to build and sustain partner relationships with their customers.

Field operations was once the only major focus for many services organizations. But there is just so much that an organization can do with respect to call avoidance, Web-enabled customer self-support, and remote services to offset the importance of human interaction. There will always be a human factor that customers will use to define, measure, and assess service performance.


By Bill Pollock, president and chief research officer, The Service Council, www.theservicecouncil.com

Field Service: Before and After

blog-field-service-management http://blog.capterra.com/wp-content/themes/capterra25/assets/images/blog-cta-graphics/blog-field-service-management.png ron palinkas

What a difference a decade makes. Let’s take a look at a quick before-and-after scenario to appreciate the game-changing impact of field service technology. Specifically, we’ll examine the change to the very nature of a field agent’s personal approach to his or her job, prompted by the introduction of real-time connectivity to back-end enterprise information resources.

Before Field Service Management

The year is 2003. Martin’s first job of the day is a high-priority repair on an industrial laundry system. After driving his usual half hour to the office to collect the paperwork, he sets out again, only to become stuck in traffic and arrive 40 minutes late — to face a distressed, and now somewhat aggravated, customer. The tension has already tainted his morning, and he hasn’t even begun the job.

Before entering the building, he calls the office and asks Holly to call and apologize to the remainder of his client contacts for the day: he’ll be at least 40 minutes late. Martin begins the repair after first interviewing the customer and getting a sketchy overview about the repair history of the machine. He makes the repair thumbing through a schematic and part list at his side, and upon returning to his truck grabs his clipboard to log the time, customer comments, and serial numbers of parts he used.

He’s finally ready to set out on to the next stop on his list. When he eventually returns to the office at the end of the day, he’ll drop off all this paperwork for manual data entry by Holly. Martin actually has better handwriting than many of his colleagues, but industrial laundry repair is wet, dirty work and while Holly does her best, mistakes are frequent.

Martin’s ultimate goal, of course, is to meet his customer’s requirements and help them serve their own customers. He’s a people person and his customers like him because it’s clear to them that he’s strongly motivated and eager to do the job right. The limitations of tools and technology are handicapping him (and Holly!) and it causes him as much anxiety and frustration as it does the customers when he can’t meet their expectations.

After Field Service Management

Fast forward to 2013. Before leaving his driveway, Martin reviews the day’s job list, updated on his tablet’s screen, complete with driving instructions to the first stop — only 10 minutes away from his house. Along with the job list on his tablet, he has all the relevant documentation on the equipment he’ll be working on, and information on customers he’ll be visiting.

He immediately receives an alert letting him know that the maintenance plan for his first customer has recently expired, but was still within the renewal period. He looks up his contact phone number and calls them to see if they’d like to renew today before he arrives, so the service is covered. He learns that his contact has left the company and the renewal notices had been lost in the transition. The new contact authorizes the renewal and Martin processes the renewal and updates the contact information real-time.

That settled, he hits a traffic jam, but as he’s automatically redirected to a more efficient route, his customers — all of them — are simultaneously sent a text message with an updated schedule. Upon arrival, he gets right to work, with all the technical reference data he needs accessible on his tablet. Noticing an irregularity, he opens a chat session with a product specialist and then a videoconference to consult on the issue. Finally, repair complete, he scans the barcodes of the parts he used. On his way out, Martin taps the “Job Complete” button to automatically log his hours and invoice the customer for those specific parts and accurate to-the-minute labor at the rates covered by the now active service plan. To complete the job, the customer confirms by signing Martin’s screen.

Martin notes that his next job involves three other team members, and sees that they’re already on the way to the site. He’s pretty sure that he’s not critical to the repair — which would involve a long drive — and his navigation guide tells him that a routine maintenance visit scheduled for later in the week is around the corner from his current location. He calls the client contact, who is delighted to have him arrive early. With the swipe of a finger, the system now knows that he has made the change and his colleagues confirm that they can go on without him.

Software Empowers Field Agents

What dramatically changes the dynamic here is that by providing field agents with easy-to-use tools and real-time access to enterprise information resources — ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, Marketing systems — field service professionals can concentrate all their efforts on providing a great customer experience rather than simply executing tasks and processing paperwork. Marty’s now part of the decision process, taking initiative and offering creative solutions — because he’s got the data to make the right assessments and the ability to take actions. In the past, he worked in his own “space” with a very specific scope of work. The field agent did the physical job, making small, sometimes sub-optimal decisions on the fly when needed, armed with only the limited information physically picked up and brought along. Managing the process and dealing with exceptions and outside issues used up any time and resources available beyond actual service time.

Today, field service management software can automate the overall process and routine tasks so field agents can concentrate on providing quality service and a great customer experience, leading to better morale and reduced turnover.

Software Benefits Customers

Finally, the most important beneficiary: the customer. A connected field agent is one who can not only meet customer expectations every time with the power and resources to handle the unexpected, but can go above and beyond to provide great and memorable customer experiences. Access to resources beyond the traditional scope of the role allows him or her to become a true extension of the enterprise and enhance the customer’s relationship with the company. A connected field agent means a connected customer, and a connected customer is a more stable, more profitable customer.

reposted from http://blog.capterra.com/look at field service

Rethink Your Organizational Structure to Manage Unintentional Conflict

No organizational structure is perfect, but many of them across business today could be a lot better. The challenge is that many structures out there breed unintentional conflict. Does yours?

Creating unintentional conflict was not the intent of organizational designers. They were not taught in Business School, nor as part of their Organizational Development curriculum, the concept of unintentional conflict and how to avoid it when designing an organizational structure. In this article, I will give you, in broad brush strokes, a way to approach that.

2012 08 002I recently introduced a phenomenon at work in our businesses today that I have labeled “Unintentional Conflict.” Unintentional conflict in business occurs when opposing forces are inadvertently activated against one another, causing unfortunate circumstances that interfere with a business interaction, operation, or outcome. I gave an example of how this manifests from organizational structure, and promised to provide a solution in this article.

So while I’m making good on that promise, please remember this about organizational structures: The key is to design a structure that will help create an environment of “shared space”, as opposed to destructive, dysfunctional, and inefficient conflict. I’ll restate the problem below and then discuss the solution.

The Story of an Organizational Structure that Promotes Unintentional Conflict

A healthcare IT company, Excellent Healthcare Systems (EHS), has dozens of long-term projects to customize and implement its software at client hospitals. The resulting systems provide medical record tracking and automation across major service areas in hospitals (e.g., radiology, pharmacy, ambulatory, etc.) Therefore, the project implementation teams must include an array of people with all of the needed knowledge and skillsets.

2012 08 003The EHS organizational structure is a traditional functional structure divided into functional departments. The people with the skills needed by the projects are hired into ten departments that mirror the major service areas in hospitals. Once hired, these people generally take their direction from, and get paid out of, the departments.
Project managers assigned to lead new implementation projects must ask the departments to assign resources to their projects. Sometimes they get the talent they need when they need it, but often they don’t. All of the Project Managers are fighting over the same limited resources.

The EHS Department Managers are doing the best they can to satisfy the needs of all the projects. Their best people are in high demand and assigned to more projects than they can handle effectively. Nevertheless, project teams are far from satisfied. They suffer when departments move staff in and out of projects without consulting them or providing sufficient lead time to recover. Without adequate team resources, Project Managers unsuccessfully fight to prevent schedule slips, and find themselves trying to explain these problems to angry clients while powerless to resolve the real issues.

To make matters worse, the EHS Project Managers have little control over the people on their teams, who “belong to” and take their direction from their departments, even, at times, on matters related to the projects. Conflict is everywhere.

As a result of the unintentional conflict and other consequences caused by a functional company structure that is poorly aligned to a project environment, project performance is poor, clients are moving to other competitors, and EHS is losing revenue and profit.

Realigning the Organizational Structure to Create Shared Space

While the challenges with EHS are formidable, they most certainly can be addressed. In my experience working with companies in similar situations, I learned a very important lesson. The job of designing an organizational structure is not done just because you finished drawing an org chart. More is required.

Below are five major steps for addressing the significant challenges described above and designing an organizational structure that promotes shared space and an effective and harmonious working environment. Notice that only the first two steps are required to draw an org chart. The rest are some of the things required to make it work.

  • Start With Your Mission: It is amazing how often structures run counter to the organization’s mission. 2012 08 004For example, the EHS mission is to serve hospitals, and ultimately patients, by providing customized systems and solutions that assist medical care operations in providing excellent healthcare. To accomplish that, EHS would need its biggest client touch point, the implementation projects, to execute very well. Clearly the structure is not supporting the mission. In this case, the single largest goal of the structure should be to provide the implementation projects what they need to successfully execute. These teams are at the head of the company’s value chain – on the ground providing the EHS products and services.

    If your structure is not doing a good job of supporting your mission, it will drive employee attention inward toward the organization and its fragmentation, instead of on things that ultimately bring value to customers. Create shared space by ensuring that the mission is the primary driver.
  • Formulate Structure and Allocate Major Responsibilities: I will focus here on the Professional Services part of the organization for brevity. We know from step 1 that we need a 2012 08 005well-oiled professional services group to staff and run implementation programs. That means we need the ability to plan and run projects, as well as ongoing access to qualified professionals from a number of medical specialty areas to staff the projects. That means you have a matrix organization.
    2012 08 Breakout Text 001


The point is, recognize what you’ve got as an organizing principle, and make it work well. Don’t pretend you don’t have a matrix or treat it like a functional hierarchy, as our example company did.

Once the matrix is recognized, one can allocate major responsibilities to each side of the matrix. Within Professional Services there are almost always two major responsibility areas: Project Execution [the implementation projects], and Capability and Capacity Development [functional processes and tools, functional training (for capability) and staffing (for proper capacity)]. The assignment is natural: the Project side gets project implementation, and the Functional Departments get functional capability and capacity.

Notice in our EHS story that many of the problems with implementation projects originated with insufficient capability and capacity (e.g., not enough qualified staff when needed). This now becomes an issue for the Functional Departments to solve, so that the Project side can be fully accountable for Project Execution. Without this clarity, the lines of responsibility are blurred.

Unintentional conflict runs rampant when people disagree on how things should be done or who is in charge of, and responsible for, what work. Clearly define what each element of your organization controls and is accountable for.

  • Define Internal and External Relationships: Many companies stop here (with an org chart) and expect their people to work out relationships with others. Big mistake! While we can help people learn how to develop and define their business relationships, which is a good thing, the basic parameters of these relationships need to be defined consistently across the organization.There are essentially two kinds of relationships that we need to focus on here – direct reporting relationships, and client2012 08 006relationships (internal and external). These relationships must be clearly defined and understood among the staff. In our example, the organization must now recognize that most people will have more than one direct reporting relationship – the nature of a matrix organization. It must also be recognized that they report to different people for different things. A Pharmacy professional reports to the project manager of the team he is assigned to, and to his department manager for activities associated with general administration and capability and capacity development (e.g., functional training).At EHS, functional experts assigned to projects did not “report” to their Project Managers while working on the projects. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see “out there.” These should be direct reporting relationships, no less important than the direct reporting relationship to the Functional Department Manager. We need Project Managers, who are responsible for projects, to have direct control over the resources that make up their project teams.External client relationships are relatively obvious, but most client relationships are internal. They exist within the parts of the value chain generally not seen by clients. Where activities are visible to the ultimate clients, we tend to have external client relationships. For the entire value chain to work it is imperative that both types of client relationships be recognized, rewarded, and enforced.Few things create more unintentional conflict than poorly defined and unrecognized relationships. It seems nobody is happy. Create shared space by defining relationships that link individual activities to the organizational mission and the ultimate clients.
  • Define the Flow of Money: At EHS the Project Managers only owned a small portion of their project budgets. That is because functional staff assigned to the 2012 08 007projects drew their salaries from their functional departments regardless of the projects they served. The problem with this is that many functional staff don’t take their reporting relationship to the Project Manager seriously. After all, they know where their bread is buttered! This reinforces dysfunctional behavior and generates unintentional conflict.
    To create shared space, define the flow of money to support and reinforce responsibility. For example, Project Managers should control the total project budgets, and should “buy” staffing resources from the functional departments. In this way, the departments are recognizing that the Project Managers are their internal clients – which they are!Avoid unintentional conflict and create shared space by defining the flow of money to be consistent with, and reinforce, defined responsibilities and relationships.
  • Define Applicable Rules of Engagement: In the EHS story I mentioned that one of the problems was that the Functional Department Managers sometimes move their people from one project to another with little or no prior notice to the Project Managers. This is quite disruptive to project operations. Key people, who are up to speed on the project and clients, are suddenly not available. Even if another qualified resource is assigned, she will have a learning curve on the project before she reaches 2012 08 008full productivity. This fuels unintentional conflict between Project and Department Managers, and is a good example of why we need to define rules of engagement.In this example, the rule should be that project staffing decisions are made jointly between Project and Department Managers. That is, they should be an agreement and, essentially, a contract between the two parties. For example, Project ABC has contracted for Joe, a Pharmacy specialist, for six months starting tomorrow, at full time. If either the PM or Department Manager desire to modify that agreement along the way, they must contact the other to discuss, negotiate if necessary, and reach an agreement. If they can’t reach an agreement, escalation protocols are included in the rules of engagement.Create shared space by defining rules of engagement that systematize key activities and decision making, while recognizing the realities of the business environment, so that people have a way to get to agreement and avoid conflict.


This article is by no means a textbook or cookbook for how to organize a company. However, it does offer a different perspective on how to approach the job. Consider how much unintentional conflict is being created every day by businesses with organizational structures designed without consideration for how they may create ongoing conflict. Also consider the real examples in this article for how we can, company by company, create an environment of shared space where work is much more productive, harmonious, and financially successful.


re-posted form http://advanceconsulting.com

Field Service and Cross-Training

technician discussion http://www.strategy-business.com/media/image/00187e-full.jpgThe topic of cross-training and flexibility of field service technicians (FST’s) is an area of field service management that has been debated over the years. Firms have had to search for a medium between specialization and skill diversity while maintaining national and even international coverage. decisions about this topic have been based on training costs, need for flexibility, and the impact of fulfilling service requests.

D. Simmons in “The Effect of Non-Linear Delay Costs on Workforce Mix” Simmons writes “Although the cross-training of servers increases server flexibility, it also increases service costs.”  The key to understanding (and justifying this cost) is to better understand the “cost” associated with downtime for the customer.  Although some customers may be able to quantify downtime in terms of loss production revenue, there are costs that are not as easily identified.  Brand and customer experience (CX) reputations pay a definite but difficult to quantify price.  A strategic plan to protect brand and better CX must address downtime reputation and it’s costs.

Flexible Servers Simmons, D. E. (2013). The effect of non-linear delay costs on workforce mix. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 64(11), 1622-1629. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jors.2012.158

Critics of this approach point out the additional costs associated with cross training.  Simmons addresses this in his article, “It can be seen that with two flexible servers, the cost of service is $208 and the cost of waiting is approximately $524. By increasing the number of flexible servers to 10, the cost of service only increases by $32, but the cost of waiting decreases by more than $300 to approximately $222. Thus, by moving from two flexible servers to 10, the total cost decreases by approximately 40%. This significant reduction would likely justify having a high level of flexibility.”

The flexibility formula flattens out more as FST’s (servers) are added to the equation.  At some point the benefits of flexibility are maximized but the service call load is insufficient to maintain the FST manpower levels.  The challenge is to construct non-service duties that are also flexible. These duties should benefit the company and must be scalable.

Simmons, D. E. (2013). The effect of non-linear delay costs on workforce mix. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 64(11), 1622-1629. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jors.2012.158





Did Betsy Ross Steal the American Flag?

wtrk_301ahttp://tobinslake.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/wtrk_301a.jpg ron palinkasThe first bill Francis Hopkinson sent to the Continental Board of Admiralty was polite. Dated May 25, 1780, it listed all the design work he’d completed for his newly formed nation — on several seals, Continental currency and “the flag of the United States of America” — and asked for a quarter-cask of wine in payment. The bill, ultimately refused by the U.S. Treasury because Hopkinson was a member of the Continental Congress and thus already on the payroll, adds intrigue into whether Hopkinson designed what we now know as the American flag.



This image from circa 1917 depicts what is presumed to be Betsy Ross and two children presenting the American flag. Source: United States Library Of Congress

The image of Betsy Ross, flag designer and maker, has been ingrained in the popular imagination since the 1870s, when her grandson told the world about his grandma’s singular contribution to the American symbol. But there’s actually little evidence that she had anything to do with the Stars and Stripes. Enter Hopkinson, a polymath who composed operas, signed the Declaration of Independence … and, quite possibly, designed Old Glory.  It’s a powerful symbol of unity — and Francis Hopkinson, forgotten though he may be, might just have been the patron saint of graphic designers nationwide.

Flags mean a lot to those who salute them, as recent events surrounding the Confederate battle flag can attest, and the first American flag was a sound rejection of the new country’s former colonial masters. The first U.S. national flag, now known as the Grand Union flag, had the familiar 13 red stripes — but in the upper left-hand corner was a British Union Jack. Once the Brits were banished, the design needed a rethink, and that’s where Hopkinson came in. He had been on one of the committees working on the Great Seal of the United States, and while his design wasn’t chosen in the end — they went with the iconic bald eagle instead — two elements from his personal sketches made it onto the final choice: the shield on the eagle’s chest, bearing 13 stripes, and the constellation above its head, made of 13 stars. “It’s a matter of historical evidence,” says Marc Leepson, author of Flag: An American Biography, noting how “there is no good evidence that Betsy Ross designed or made the first American flag.” Hopkinson, on the other hand, sent Congress “an itemized bill that included designing ‘the Flag of the United States of America.’ It’s the only contemporary claim that exists.”

Francis hopkinson

Francis Hopkinson Source: CC

One thing that hasn’t survived in the record is what Hopkinson’s design for the flag looked like, but historians believe it would have included 13 stars in some unknown configuration, because the Flag Resolution of 1777 called for “a new constellation.” “The official order of the stars wasn’t codified until 1912,” explains Leepson, so any arrangement of stars was OK, and “there were thousands of them,” he says. Some flag makers arranged stars in neat rows, in star shapes and even in circles. “All flags were made by hand until about 1840,” Leepson says, noting that there were “all kinds of patterns.” In 1912, President Taft signed an executive order calling for a uniform flag design, which lasted until Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959.

Hopkinson’s history with the stars and stripes design, combined with his bill, makes a pretty good case for his involvement with the first American flag. So why doesn’t he get any credit? Leepson thinks the truth lies at the feet of Betsy Ross’ grandson, William Canby. He announced his grandmother’s myth to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870 with a research paper based on family stories that, Leepson says, are “about the worst historical evidence” you can find. Other forms of proof — contemporary receipts and letters, for example — just aren’t there for Ross, who worked as a flag maker in Philadelphia, and even scholars in the 1870s were deeply skeptical of Canby’s chronology. But his timing was impeccable, as he unfurled her story right around the centennial of America’s independence, when Revolutionary War figures loomed large in the national imagination, and Betsy, with her needle and thread, emerged as an industrious and distinctly feminine national symbol in contrast to the crusading suffragettes.

Perhaps Canby was simply in the right place at the right time, but historian Marla R. Miller, author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America, comes to Ross’ defense. “There’s no money to be made; there’s no self-interest in the family apart from the self-interest all families have,” she says, defending Canby’s claim. “It’s family pride.” Also, Canby never claimed that his grandmother designed the flag, just that she met George Washington and suggested that five-pointed stars would be faster to make than six-pointed stars, Miller explains, concluding that “there’s probably a germ of truth at the bottom of the whole thing.”

Hopkinson never got his quarter-cask of wine — no doubt requested in lieu of cash because the Continental currency had tanked and was essentially worthless. But more damaging, he’s been denied public acclaim for designing founding documents and symbols of the United States. The American flag is no Declaration of Independence, but it’s a powerful symbol of unity — and Francis Hopkinson, forgotten though he may be, might just have been the patron saint of graphic designers nationwide.

original article from OZY  http://www.ozy.com/did betsy ross steal the flag?


How Should Service Define Success?

Bluemedal http://gregdetisionlinesuccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Service-297x300.jpg ronpalinkas national field service managerHow should service define success?

Is it good enough to meet SLAs? Should service leaders primarily focus on cutting costs by reducing truck rolls? Do they need to prioritise field productivity; turn as many wrenches in a given day as possible?

These are all noble endeavours, but in 2016 the customer must come first. Internal efficiencies and meeting basic levels of service will keep the lights on, but it won’t grow the business. “Good enough” service is no longer good enough. This evolution demands that service leaders change the metrics they use to define success. As seen in Aberdeen Group’s State of Service research, the top metric which determines success is actually customer satisfaction.

The emergence of customer facing metrics such as customer satisfaction, customer retention, and first-time fix rates, has highlighted the fact that the customer is king.  The emergence of customer facing metrics such as customer satisfaction, customer retention, and first-time fix rates, has highlighted the fact that the customer is king. Service, more so now than in the past, has to deal with empowered customers and competition. No longer can the field team solely be reactive or leave a customer site without resolving the issue. Customers are more knowledgeable and can amplify a bad service experience to a global network of peers.

Top performers understand that happy customers renew service contracts, buy more offerings, and refer new business. For this reason, service organisations have to juggle efficiency goals with customer focused metrics to hit at both at the same time. And with so much technology and analytics at the fingertips of the service executive, it is imperative that they don’t get paralysed looking at too much.   The Best-in-Class focus on the right metrics which drive differentiation and value to the end customer. The rest is great for a spreadsheet. But strategy and innovation needs to focus on the customer. Service leaders that want to excel in 2016 cannot afford to focus on KPI from a bygone era of service. Your customers want you to be successful because that means you can help them grow. But they don’t care if your bottom line is as trim as possible or that your technicians are taking the most optimised route. The customer wants the right technician with the right tools to solve their problem when they get on site to avoid extended (or any) downtime.

This changes the way service must view the metrics that matter both for them and for their customers. Happy customers result in a happy service business.

Don’t lose sight of what matters.

originally posted http://fieldservicenews.com/focus on customerhow should service define success

Counting Value vs. Creating Value

4https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjy0svDvJ7LAhVBJCYKHTykAPsQjBwIBA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.researchgate.net%2Ffile.PostFileLoader.html%3Fid%3D56ab71b65e9d97aa108b4581%26assetKey%3DAS%253A323233763528704%25401454076342259&psig=AFQjCNG6nERVjw3et9AnyjYctCEhQyo5dg&ust=1456886743086946 ron palinkas leadership managementI came across the quote while working on a paper for a Leadership class.  The topic of the paper was to contrast the definitions of management versus leadership.  My paper developed into a theory that effective manager/leaders are a combination of each.  Some situations call for 40% manager and  60% leadership while another requires a mix of 80% management and 20% leadership.   Situational leadership requires that contemporary leaders adapt their technique to situations and flex their skills appropriately.

As you can imagine, book and books have been written on the differences between leadership and management.  I was very happy to find such a short and to the point explanation.

“Counting Value vs. Creating Value” from http://Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders