By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
There’s much debate on whether New Year’s resolutions are worthwhile, but in my opinion, it can never hurt to pause and set some intentions. Service has made strides in the past couple of years when it comes to being seen for its competitive worth and being prioritized within businesses, so there is more focus than ever on how to succeed in service. This comes at the perfect time, because there is also more pressure from customers to deliver not only better service, but new and unique experiences. As we kick off 2020, here are four areas of focus that will help you capitalize on the opportunity of service this year.
1: Become More Agile
Agility is a key theme for 2020 and is important in numerous areas of the business. Today’s fast-paced world is demanding a more nimble response from those looking to remain competitive. Focusing on the ability to more quickly respond to your customers’ needs is important. Adopting the mentality of being more agile in course correcting your objectives and strategy is necessary. And migrating to more agile technology methodology is important to leverage today’s latest advancements. Agility isn’t a word that would historically be associated with service organizations – many have been doing things the same way for a long time and have been pretty slow to make changes. That means of operating is a thing of the past – if you want to survive, let alone succeed, in today’s environment you must work on becoming more agile.
2: Improve Your Company Culture
A focus on company culture has become increasingly important for service organizations and will continue to need to be prioritized. Why? Well, for a few reasons. First, for your vision of service success to be achieved, you are relying on your frontline employees to be on board and carry it out. You can’t do this without employees that are engaged, feel valued, and feel heard. Second, with all the changes taking place in service today as company’s redefine themselves and their offerings, you are asking more of your employees – you are asking them to step outside of their comfort zones, and they won’t be willing to do that in a poor culture. Finally, as companies struggle to recruit, hire, and retain new talent, creating a culture that people want to be a part of becomes an important part of your value proposition. So, in 2020, take stock of your company culture (what it really is – not what you’d like to think it is). Determine where you can make some improvements and prioritize doing so. This could be more methods of making employees feel appreciated, it could be better defining career paths, it could be more ample training, more effective onboarding, gathering and implementing more feedback. It could be mentorship programs, revisiting incentives, or thinking of new perks. The answer will be different for every company, but the point is – as you go into 2020 expecting more of your employees, make sure you prioritize giving more back to them as well.
3: Up Your Tech Game
To progress your business in the ways you would like to, you must embrace technology as your key enabler. While a solid technology strategy was once in its own right a competitive advantage, it has become table stakes for effectively doing business today. Digital transformation isn’t a finish line that you will cross, but a forever journey of continuous improvement and ongoing advancements. Tying back to the resolution of becoming more agile, you have to become comfortable iterating technology advancements regularly. What this looks like for your organization depends on what your current state is – but the opportunities are endless. From AI-powered scheduling and IoT-enabled predictive maintenance to AR-based remote service and ML-powered knowledge management, the tools you have at your disposal to take your service to the next level are powerful and attainable. What new technology will you use in 2020 to better equip your employees and delight your customers?
4: Chart Your Path to Outcomes-Based Service
If your main objective for 2020 is reducing your service windows to less than four hours, you are drastically missing the mark. Service success is no longer measured by incremental improvements, but by the ability to provide outcomes and experiences to your customers. Outcomes-based service is the end game, and you need to figure out how you’re going to get there. This is an easier adjustment for some industries and some organizations than others, but it is the reality for everyone. Customers no longer want a good service visit – they want peace of mind, a seamlessness meeting of their needs, an exceptional experience. I’ve witnessed powerful examples of companies getting this right, like Cubic Transportation Systems, Tetra Pak, and KONE. I’ve also talked with service leaders struggling to determine what this looks like for their organizations. In 2020, you need to prioritize charting your path to outcomes-based service – your future relies on it.