4 Metrics That Matter for Service

performance conceptual meter indicate maximum, isolated on white background http://www.businessfluid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ContentMarketing.jpg

It’s now possible for service organizations to collect more data than ever – from workforce performance figures to customer satisfaction rates, to cost per job and more. But often the data comes in various forms and from numerous sources. It is therefore understandable that only 18% of companies believe they have the skills necessary to turn the vast quantity of data they have into useful insight.

But it is important that we find ways to utilize the information because, used wisely, analytics can greatly improve business performance.

The first step in delivering valuable insight is to identify the key metrics. These will vary depending on what success looks like for your organisation, but there are some common measures that you should probably track regardless:

1. Business process – optimized business processes are at the heart of service delivery so should be continually assessed. The goal will be to reduce the number of steps in a process to in turn minimize the opportunity for delays and bottlenecks. The main unit of measure for process is time: time to complete the process, various steps in the process and delays in the process.

2. Service delivery – whether providing a service to an external or internal customer, service delivery metrics need to be recorded. To get a true picture, you will need to match customer metrics against cost. After all, exemplary customer service is something to aim for but not at any financial cost. It is also critical to capture time-to-resolution and downtime.

3. Customer service – the metrics for customer service are closely related to service delivery metrics and some may in fact feed into both. The difference is that customer service must be viewed from the customer perspective and the handling of customer communication, the severity and quantity of complaints, and customer satisfaction scores and feedback. Combined, these factors can give a deep understanding of how your customer service is perceived and enjoyed by your customers.

4. Efficiency – this measure offers a broader snapshot of your service operations. The factors you choose will vary as efficiency is very subjective. Ultimately it will come down to how you define success. But one measure which should be consistently captured is around process delays – so the number of times an alert is raised, the number of reminders and the number of staff involved in a particular process.

Each of these metrics should unlock more in-depth measures for further analysis. Clear actionable insights will be revealed as part of the analysis from which you can make evidence-based decisions and improve the process associated with that measure. It’s important that this exercise isn’t a one-off; to be effective it should be a constant cyclical review process and an integral part of your continuous improvement strategy.

Discover more about the role analytics could play in your organisation by downloading our white paper: The Metrics that Matter: How actionable analytics can transform field service management performance.

From: http://oneserve.com

Developing Global Leaders

world-flags-globe ron palinkasGlobalization in business means that the world is shrinking – and that leaders need to be well equipped to manage a wide swath of employees, policies and cultural differences. According to a report on strategic leadership development by The Conference Board, the top five traits ranking most important now are: leading change, retaining/developing talent, global thinking/mindset, collaboration and integrity. And the five most important traits over the next five years are: leading change, global thinking/mindset, retaining/developing talent, learning agility and creativity.

An incredibly demanding role, it’s clear that global managers must think both intuitively and analytically in order to produce sound decisions that inspire global teams to yield widespread results. Valerie Keller, the CEO of Veritas, recently said at a conference for global young leaders: “[Global] leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it must have context. Leaders need to be flexible and resilient; they need to be generals one day and consensus builders the next.”

The emergence of global managers is changing how companies train leaders, but learning these skills requires time and experience. Certainly highly valued global leaders share common inherent traits and competencies but that does not preclude their development in others. Here are three tips for developing truly global managers:

  1. Train early

Leadership training for the global stage should begin sooner in the average management-track employee’s career. Instead of intensive training in their early 40s, companies should instead offer global mobility and leadership training to staff members a decade younger who are entering supervisorial roles. This provides them with both necessary training and direct experience in other countries, which will prove invaluable as they later transition into global managerial roles.

And while there are costs associated with transporting, subsidizing and training employees for an overseas assignment, the payoff can be substantial when they transform into capable global leaders. It’s especially attractive for millennials who often crave experiences over large paychecks and are willing to immerse themselves in other business cultures and languages.

  1. Encourage collaboration and communication

Global managers must develop an “us” perspective among global team members. If a manager is handling 50 employees ranging in age from 25 to 65 who live in 14 different countries, then it’s imperative to encourage sharing and collaboration. Managers should encourage team members to talk about their cultural differences as they apply to their work in order to develop understanding and connections.

A next step is to present unified goals. The successful global manager will relate each individual’s work to the company’s overall global goals; however, it’s important to remember that global goals and values translate differently across cultures. For example, while “competitiveness” might translate to a goal of “aggressively seeking revenue opportunities in all markets,” that wording would not sit comfortably across all cultures. The balancing act of the global manager is to link global, team and personal goals in a way that is understandable and comfortable to all.

Personal communication is essential for global leadership, despite the challenges of time zones and some language barriers. Successful global managers will take the time to reach out with phone calls to develop a trusting relationship and further team building. This is especially true if the manager expects similar communication among the team. If the expectation is for the developers in Moldova to talk frequently with the Australian design team, then the global leader in New York needs to set the right example.

The manager must understand that “leadership” looks different across the world. The western style is top-down, with leaders pushing down messages that they expect will be followed. Outside of the west is a more consensus-driven approach, where the group agrees to a goal and then develops a corresponding strategy.

Managers also need to adapt their speaking style to accommodate non-native language team members. For example, they should remove slang terms or any pop culture references, and instead speak slowly and clearly. Managers should also encourage staff members to speak up if something isn’t understand, instead of allowing “lost in translation” moments to potentially disrupt important projects. The manager and the team members must learn from one another over time by explaining cultural differences

  1. Encourage international assignments and multicultural teams

Exposure to multicultural teams is also an excellent way to develop managers that can understand different cultural perspectives and styles. Through such work prospective global managers develop the need for geographical context, where they better understand specific markets as well as the corresponding initiatives to reach those audiences.

Global managers also need to develop their communication skills to properly connect with different generational and geographic groups. For example, staff members in their 40’s and 50’s might be more receptive and used to a “command and control” style of interaction from their management teams. Millennials often prefer a softer style that seeks to challenge and inspire them without being autocratic. Effective global leaders will understand how to switch gears quickly between various styles, understanding they need to convey leadership while tailoring interactions for optimal results.

Take another cue from effective politicians such as Hillary Clinton who adjust their style of language depending on the audience. For example, she might utilize more inclusive phrasing such as frequent “we” sentences when trying to build a feeling of unity, and then a more “I” focused language when projecting strength, such as during contentious foreign affairs discussions. Global managers must understand how to shift gears quickly to both give firm direction and build a consensus among disparate groups that must come together.

Encouraging and leveraging diversity is crucial for global managers, as well as their ability to flexibly tackle problems. There is evidence that shows the most highly effective teams are those that leverage diversity—whether its cultural, gender or age based. The least effective teams are homogenous teams or those that minimize or ignore diversity. The most successful global leaders embrace diversity and develop a sound process for the team, one that overcomes any language or cultural barriers and relies on open and frequent communication.

Being a truly global manager and leader requires a lot of effort. Companies that want to thrive in the international arena need to conduct early-stage training of their top performers in order to give them the skills to operate everywhere from the skyscrapers of Singapore to the growing marketplaces of Tunisia. Through training and direct exposure to foreign markets, these managers will understand how to encourage team-building, effectively communicate across various barriers, and how to adapt on the fly to cultural differences.

Even with globalization and the international growth of many businesses, there remain significant cultural differences in both the ways people work together and what is important to local consumers. The idiosyncrasies between various regions are critical, and the best managers will embrace and leverage those differences – not push them to conformity.

joanne-danehl ron palinkas


Joanne Danehl is practice leader for Global Intercultural and Language Training at Crown World Mobility. In this role, Danehl is responsible for leading the Crown intercultural and language training team, and working with Crown clients to incorporate language and cultural training solutions to meet both their corporate goals and the needs of their international assignees. Crown World Mobility helps corporations manage global talent and talented individuals perform on the global stage.   http://www.industryweek.com



How to Improve Global Collaboration

globe-460437_960_720 ron palinkasHow to Improve Global Workforce Collaboration

One of the signature challenges of large organizations today is the unique set of issues they face when trying to improve the way their workers interact, communicate, and collaborate together. The collaborative environment in a typical enterprise is complex: A dozen or more time zones, vast distances between offices, regional cultural differences, corporate politics, bureaucracy, and differing technology capabilities all make it very challenging to improve the status quo.

Even though increasing the effectiveness of collaboration is an activity that is highly likely to provide significant gains to how a business operates, it’s typically a fraught process. Fortunately, updating collaborative methods to meet the dynamic needs of the changing workforce — as well as meeting the needs of the business — is one of the top priorities of digital transformation these days.

It also doesn’t help, however, that some of the highest value collaboration scenarios are typically cross-border: Workers with business partners and suppliers, or workers with customers. That’s typically because the constrained visibility required to protect corporate data in such scenarios is counter to many of the newer, more open techniques, such as social collaboration. In large organizations, this is typically exacerbated by multiple divisions and subunits, many of which have different sets of collaboration platforms and techniques.

In short, driving successful collaborative improvements in the workforce seems counter intuitively more difficult in today’s market precisely because it is saturated with supporting tools, techniques, and too many choices. This often causes analysis paralysis. That means often little changes except the introduction of some easy-to-roll-out generic tooling such as an enterprise social network, a video conferencing capability, or new virtual meeting space. However, without closely tying collaborative processes to the value chain of the organization, it is a long, slow road to reaping benefits through hit-or-miss usage and largely accidental organic returns.

Connect collaborative processes directly to high-value outcomes that create significant business impact.

workforce_collaboration_value_chain ron palinkas ron palinkas national service manager


Of course, like many things that are worthwhile, this is quite a bit easier said than done. For one, global workforces are made of people. And people, even when they want to embrace change — in this case, adopting better practices, tools, and techniques for collaboration — need time and help to do so. Not surprisingly, the more help they get, the more rapid and impactful the outcome is.

To help understand and build a mental model of how better to directly connect collaborative improvement to business value, it’s helpful to look at what I call the workforce collaboration value chain.

Yes, it sounds like corporate speak, but it’s also a powerful way of mapping the array of inputs we have to bring to bear on collaboration, along with tools, activities, and desired outputs. By understand all of our collaborative assets to their fullest extent, only then do we have the best chance of producing results that really matter.

Workforce Collaboration: High Value Requires High Impact

When we look at the collaboration value chain we can see five key elements (see visual above), a careful focus on understanding of which is required to ensure you aren’t engaged in what’s a highly visible, enterprise-wide improve effort that’s also largely tactical exercise and will therefore under perform.

  • Inputs. To develop and realize a successful collaboration strategy that delivers desired results, means tapping into the full wealth and richness of the organization’s resources. This includes existing interaction processes, collaboration projects (and their existing knowledge and assets), work artifacts, corporate structure, language, culture, overall business objectives, known collaborative constraints (something will I cover in detail in a future post), internally respected measures of performance, and governance. This is the full palette from which a meaningfully impactful workforce collaboration strategy must draw.
  • Tools. Collaboration can be greatly improved by the right supporting technology, which has been true since at least the advent of the telephone. But we’ve come an enormous way since then, and today’s digital collaboration tools have consistently been able to support double digit returns in performance, and sometimes more. You can certainly improve collaboration without tools to help — and collaboration is always about people in the end — but you’ll also leave much of the gains behind.
  • Activities. Understanding how you collaborate and on what is absolutely key to driving performance gains. An effective collaboration strategy will map existing collaboration models onto new ones and identify a process of getting to the target approach over time, using specific methods that are known to drive behavior change in an organization.
  • Output. Managing the structure and processes of collaboration so that desired outcomes take place is the key to the whole exercise. Most organizations are looking for specific benefits, even though they’re often highly emergent as well with today’s approaches, which will spin off many important 2nd order results. These benefits typically are gains in measurable workforce productivity, capturing of tacit institutional knowledge, employee engagement, corporate efficiency, cost reduction (travel especially), business agility, and better cross-divisional corporate alignment.
  • Impact. Of course, specific collaborative outputs lead to more strategic benefits for our enterprises as well. This includes often hard to quantify outcomes like better responding to changing markets(because collaborative workforces are more amenable to adopting change), creating more innovative products and services (because you can tap into more and better ideas over open networks), addressing competition, and creating resilient and sustainable new institutional practices that are self-organizing and perpetuating (again, though mass connectedness, collaboration, and peer production of said practices via better collaborative methods.

How can we build our own version of this value chain for our organization? It’s not difficult but it does require planning and critical thinking. While some organizations today still eschew strategy, such exercises, as long as they aren’t overly massive and rigid constructs, greatly aid in understanding the promise, value proposition, and often most importantly, the hidden obstacles that — if you only understood them upfront — would help you understand how to move ahead confidently and with least risk.

The simple fact is that our workforces are the single biggest investment that most businesses have. Better collaboration is the key to unlocking the untapped value and innovation in them, which we know is considerable.April 4, 2014

Veterans Day

0026_come_prepared_cropped_crp-16-9Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day–a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
  • medals-miniIn 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
  • In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
  • Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.

The brave men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children and grandparents. They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, and an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.

  • 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • 2 million veterans are women.
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975).
  • 5.5 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II (1941-1945), about 620,000 are still alive.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million), Texas (1.7 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

http://history.com/veterans day

First Time Fix

first-time-fix-juni-2016 http://www.kwh.nl/uploads/images/1/1/first%20time%20fix%20juni%202016.jpg  ron palinkas first time fix national service managerWant to know the number one customer complaint in field service? An Aberdeen Research survey “First-Time Fix: A Metric That Drives Success” found that 61% of customers complained that techs did not resolve their issue the first time; this percentage was higher than complaints about waiting times for an appointment or technicians not arriving on time.

Competition is higher than it’s ever been for field service organizations, so it’s important that technicians feel empowered. From the very first time they show up on site, they should be equipped with field service software and the mobile tools necessary to know everything from customer history to where to get replacements parts to steps on fixing problems for certain machines. Customers are no longer satisfied with a tech arriving and checking out their problem, but then not sticking the landing with a first-time fix. This type of unsatisfactory service could mean losing customers who need their machines to have very little downtime for their business to be profitable.

Here are a few reasons why first-time fixes drive success in field service:

More Customer Satisfaction and Revenue

For field service organizations with first-time fix rates above 71%, the goal of field service is to increase customer satisfaction; it’s a top priority of 66% of Aberdeen’s survey respondents compared to 46% of those organizations with first-time fix rates below 70%. The second goal is increased revenue according to 60% of organizations with high first-time fix rates vs. 38% of the lower performing organizations.

To satisfy more customers and build more revenue, field service technicians must have access to mobile tools so that they can have the history, insights, dynamic checklists, and invoicing capabilities that mobile field service software makes possible. Field service mobility also means customer data can be collected on-site or remotely for predictive maintenance. All of these tools put the customer first and will increase the customer’s uptime, which is what customers are most concerned about.

More Growth in Your Service Organization

First-time fixes are the key to helping your field service organization grow. Companies with first-time fix rates above 70% have KPIs at 84% or above in areas including customer retention, SLA compliance, customer satisfaction, and asset uptimes; that’s 10 percentage points higher than organizations with lower first-time fix rates.

This means that the service your techs provide today will directly influence your organization’s future possibilities for customer growth. Furthermore, return customers and more service revenue from new contracts are directly related to first-time fixes.

CSOs Help Increase First-Time Fix Rates

When it comes to planning and implementing a strategy for first-time fixes, having a Chief Service Officer (CSO) plays a crucial role in doing so effectively. Field service organizations need a leader who can take ownership of the strategy and engage with employees. And 65% of companies that are in the top percentile for first-time fix rates, have employed a service executive who is in charge of allocating resources. The person with this leadership role helps employees value delivering great service to customers using the CSO’s strategy.

The CSO is the leader who can help ensure that field service techs are given the tools and skills training needed to execute first-time fixes on a technical level. However, the CSO must also instill a sense of engagement with the field techs, because if they do not buy into the CSO’s strategy, then your organization won’t be as successful as it could be in delivering first time-fixes.

http://coresystems/first time fix

Health Effects of Daylight Savings Time

screen-shot-2012-11-12-at-12-40-25-pmDaylight saving time (DST) is about to start, and an interesting thing that you might not realize is how such a small shift in our time can have a large impact on our body clock and our health.These negative impacts of daylight saving time even cost us real money in lost productivity.

DST starts at 2 a.m. (the clock gets turned forward to 3 a.m.) on the second Sunday in March and ends at 2 a.m. (the clock gets turned back to 1 a.m.) on the first Sunday of November.  That means our clocks spring forward an hour this Sunday, March 9. This is the “bad” time change, since it means we lose an hour of sleep over night.

It was enacted during World War I to decrease energy use. Benjamin Franklin first advocated for the practice in 1784 because he noticed people used candles at night and slept past dawn in the morning. By shifting time by an hour during the summer, they would burn fewer candles and not sleep through the morning sunlight. The debate still rages as to whether this time-switch does save energy, but along the way we’ve seen signs that it has negative effects on our health and the economy.

Surprising health impacts

The time change causes daytime sleepiness. Transitions associated with the start and end of DST disturb sleep patterns and make people restless at night, which results in sleepiness the next day. This is true even during a “Fall Back” period, since when we Fall Back, we might have trouble adjusting to going to sleep “later” after the time change. One pretty obvious study in Neuroscience Letters found that when people were transitioning their schedules after “springing forward,” the quality of their sleep decreased and they slept an average of an hour less per night.

The resulting sleepiness leads to a loss of productivity and an increase in “cyberloafing,” in which people muck around more on the computer instead of working. That finding was from a 2012 report in the Journal of Applied Psychology.During the first week of DST (in the late winter) there’s a spike in heart attacks, according to a study in the The American Journal of Cardiology (and other previous studies). That’s because losing an hour of sleep increases stress and provides less time to recover overnight.The opposite is true when we gain an extra hour of sleep. The end of daylight saving time causes a decrease in heart attacks.

Deadly car crashes decrease during DST (the spring, summer, and fall), because it’s more likely to be light out when there are more people on the road, for example going to and returning from work or school.But that’s not likely true on the Monday after DST starts. Groggy people driving in the dark are more prone to accidents. Getting some extra sun in the morning, going to sleep earlier or sleeping in slightly could help.

Accidents increase when we have more sunlight after work. Flickr/Loz Flowers

Research has found that having DST all year round could decrease deaths from traffic accidents even more — saving up to 366 lives, according to a 2004 study in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Accidents at work happen more often and are more severe after springing forward, according to a study of miners published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2009. A study published in 2008 in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms found an uptick in suicides in Australian men during the first weeks after daylight saving time. There may be cognitive effects as well. A 2011 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics found that students in counties where DST was observed had SAT scores that were 2% lower than those of students who didn’t have to spring forward or fall back.

How DST gets us down

The impacts of DST are likely related to our body’s internal circadian rhythm, the still-slightly-mysterious molecular cycles that regulate when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy, as well as our hunger and hormone production schedules.Light dictates how much melatonin our bodies produce. When it’s bright out, we make less. When it’s dark, our body ramps up synthesis of this sleep-inducing substance.Just like how jet-lag makes you feel all out of whack, daylight saving time is similar to scooting one time zone over for a few months.

The problems with DST are the worst in the spring, when we’ve all just lost one hour of sleep. The sun rises later, making it more difficult to wake in the morning. This is because we reset our natural clocks using the light. When out of nowhere (at least to our bodies) these cues change, it causes major confusion.Like anytime you lose sleep, springing forward causes decreases in performance, concentration, and memory common to sleep-deprived individuals, as well as fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Night owls are more bothered by the time changes than morning people. For some, it can take up to three weeks to recover from the sleep schedule changes, according to a 2009 study in the journal Sleep Medicine. For others, it may only take a day to adjust to this new schedule.

That’s not all

All of these impacts have economic costs too. An index from Chmura Economics & Analytics, released in 2013, suggests that the cost could be up to $434 million in the U.S. alone. That’s an estimated total of all of the health effects and lost productivity mentioned above.

Other calculations suggest this cost could be up to $2 billion — just from the 10 minutes twice a year that it takes for every person in the U.S. to change their clocks. (If you calculate 10 minutes per household instead of per person this “opportunity cost” is only $1 billion.)

    in Economic Health


The Fuel Pump Comes to You


To fuel a car is not always expeditious, and is certainly boring. Besides the detour to get there, there are still waiting lines, to fuel and to pay, that always end up taking more time than the actual refueling. The american start-up Booster Fuels http://boosterfuels.com has created a service that solves this kind of problem.

In a world where smartphones are an almost mandatory part in our lives, it is inevitable the emergence of business based on mobile applications. That’s what Booster Fuels did, founded in 2014 in the United States of America (USA), when they revolutionized refuelling vehicles. The company was able to remove the need to refuel in filling stations.

The co-founder and CEO of Booster, Frank Mycroft had the idea when he was filling his wife’s car after a long workday. He idealized getting the fuel pump to the client and not the other way around. For that, it was created a simple operation service: all that is needed is to park the car as you usually do, order the service through the app, and make the payment.

The mobile application recognizes the location where the car is parked and a service truck is sent to refuel the vehicle. After the refuelling is completed, the app sends the information that the service is completed to the client’s smartphone. Afterwards, the client only has to make the payment of the price established upon the order.

For now, Booster Fuels has a small fleet of trucks and operates only in some states of the USA but the aim is to make the service countrywide until the end of the decade. Frank Mycroft states that the ultimate goal is to actually eliminate the trips to the fuel station for 90% of car drivers until 2020.

According to the company, the prices are very competitive, but they mention that in some cases it is even lower, since Booster acquires its fuel in a large-scale basis, and is able to avoid certain costs, such as expensive real estate costs, that other fuel companies have.

Currently, this service is only available for company and business campuses, that in this manner ensure the refuelling of its own fleet, anywhere in the states where the company operates. however, home service is a future option that is being taken into consideration by Booster Fuels.