What is the biggest challenge your service organization faces today? Is it inadequate, outdated technology, customer loyalty and retention, or maybe growing competition? Whatever challenges you’re facing, you’re undoubtedly making the effort to turn them into opportunities and use them as part of your company’s competitive service advantage. But as we all know, sometimes this is easier said than done.
In the recent Worldwide Business Research (WBR) webinar “How to Optimize Field Service Execution for Competitive Advantage” Ed McCarthy, Senior Manager of Operations at Cisco Systems, shared valuable insight into his challenging, yet rewarding experiences around transforming the company’s field service strategy. McCarthy identified the importance of Cisco’s service organization, the service challenges they’ve faced, and how to overcome such challenges. The webinar also highlighted best practices for improving field service execution, metrics, and tips for preparing for future technology advancements that will affect the service landscape, including the Internet of Things (IoT).
Many companies today are challenged by accelerated growth that often comes from acquisitions and mergers. Often this growth places additional pressure on service organizations to continue to maintain and deliver high levels of customer satisfaction which can be even more challenging when growth means new business units and/or an expanding global footprint. During the webinar, McCarthy discussed his view of Cisco’s service layer as the tie between the company’s different acquisitions and separate business unit entities. He gave further detail on their current service priorities and expectations and how these have shifted from those in the past: “The services business is transforming. Customers are no longer asking us for a straight break-fix, but they’re asking us for business outcomes, for IoT connectivity, for a solution, not just service on the hardware. We’re working through all of this in a way to try to improve the revenue rate for services and how much that will be relevant going forward.” Cisco’s ability to power their service technicians with mobile tools, product information, and diagnostics, allows them to quickly find, understand, and trust the service information that can be shared across the organization, thus increasing the ability to service their customers more quickly and effectively.
The webinar also highlighted some significant metrics of best in class service providers that emphasizes how key strategic actions can benefit a company’s service approach. Metrics included attaining a first time fix rate 89% of the time and a ratio of technicians to dispatcher/scheduler of 25:1. Taking a further look into the strategy of best in class service providers also reveals the importance of having centralized scheduling of service resources and investing in mobile tools to provide techs access to better information.
With these best service practices and strategic actions in mind, we can understand how to uncover the value in the Internet of Things and create a connected system for service. The ability to receive the information, understand the action that needs to be taken, and fix issues without sending a technician immediately to the field will improve field service performance, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.