Building a Best-in-Class Service Business is a Necessity not an Option

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These metrics highlight the importance of implementing a World Class Service Operation. Unfortunately, economic and competitive pressures signal more tough times ahead:

  • Most service executives will experience a decrease in their operating budgets
  • Decreases in travel, staffing and compensation can be expected
  • Contract Renewals will become less “automatic”
  • Customers may look to “downsize” contracts and take on more risk
  • Incremental business will be hard fought
  • Customers will expect the same level of Service Quality for Less Cost

Considering the upside to Best-in-Class Post Sale Support, while understanding the challenges faced, is critical for success. The following key factors should be considered when transitioning a service organization to a BIC model:

Focus on the Customer
The Service organization has a unique relationship with the customer and the customer is not threatened by their presence. They’re not there to “sell”, rather to “help”. Leveraging this relationship properly is critical. Once mastered, you have an intelligence gathering resource like no other. Combined with regular surveys for feedback and commitment to follow-up/improvement leads to greater customer retention.

Commit to Service Excellence
Most organizations give this factor “lip service” and lack a real strategy to drive service performance. Spend the upfront time to derive a Vision for Service Support. Utilize Benchmarks to see how others drive success and performance. Ensure its consistent with the overall corporate strategy. Then implement an operational strategy using specific and measurable objectives to execute the plan. Use of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) will be critical to measure success and Benchmarks. Lastly, set goals for these indicators and strive for achievement.

Treat your Service Operation as a Profit Center vs. a Cost Center
Many organizations will look at Service Support as a necessary evil. They understand that Customer Support is required post sale but tend to focus more on the next new product introduction, marketing and sales strategies. Budget pressures will often force businesses to compromise on resource allocation leading to the chance Service Support is short changed. It needn’t be… Data shows that high quality service support will drive increased revenue and higher profit margins.

Utilize Technology
This is the age of digital disruption. Take advantage of it. There are many great tools available to take care of the customer. Service velocity is key to improved customer satisfaction. Remote support tools interfaced with equipment is becoming common place, allowing for the prediction of equipment failure. Access to that equipment remotely decreases diagnosis and response time. Recovery time should to be measured in hours not days. Additionally, field support tools to improve Field Engineer productivity have improved immensely. Remote hand held devices, Maintenance Management Cloud based packages to communicate, log data and GPS devices to shorten travel times are just a few available. Invest in technology to drive performance.

Invest in your people
In the past, Customer facing support personnel were viewed as call handlers and technical experts. Driving a BIC service operation requires more…. Field Engineers need to be Field Professionals. They must dress and project professionalism at all times. Superior communication skills both written and speaking are essential. The Field Professional should treat their role as if it was their own business. They must be a team player able to work closely with Sales and Marketing teammates to communicate needs of the customer. Investing in robust and effective training programs is essential to BIC performance. Remember, in service, the Product is your People and the Quality of your Product will lead to A Best-in-Class Support operation.

The importance of providing a Best-in-Class (BIC) service business for your product(s) during these uncertain and turbulent times can best be illustrated by the following Customer Satisfaction Statistics:

  • 59% of your Customers will leave if dissatisfied with your Service.
  • 78% will repurchase when service support is customer centric.
  • 53% will tell others about bad service. 
  • 16% will file a complaint. 
  • 82% will recommend your company or products when service support is customer centric. 
  • A 5% increase in customer retention equals 100% increase in profits. 
  • A 1% improvement in customer satisfaction equates to a 3% market value increase.