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March 30, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

The Anatomy of a Well-Executed Service Experience

March 30, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

The Anatomy of a Well-Executed Service Experience

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

This week we had a home security upgrade installed by Vivint. I always find it interesting to be on the receiving end of a field service experience because I’m more intimately aware than many of what’s being demanded of these companies, what the areas of focus are in terms of innovation, and what technologies are available to them to streamline and improve the customer experience. I liken it to my level of awareness when I go to a restaurant having worked in the restaurant industry for many years – when you know what to watch for, you are a tougher critique than the average bear.

That said, while I was quite frankly expecting my overly critical eye to poke holes in the Vivint service experience, there was really no opportunity to do so. The company’s execution of the service experience, from initial outreach through follow-up, was really quite impressive. Being that it went so well, I thought it would be worth sharing what I appreciated about Vivint’s service.

Convenience, Communication & Timeliness – I am one of those people that prefers to be able to book appointments electronically whenever possible. For this appointment, since it was an upgrade to our existing system and required a discussion about the extension of our contract, I appreciated the fact that a Vivint representative emailed me in response to my inquiry to ask when a good time to call and discuss would be. When we spoke, they offered various service windows and once we’d agreed on our terms and selected a window, I received confirmation of the appointment by email – including an overview of what work would be done, four-hour appointment window, and length of the visit. I then received two reminder emails, one a few days before the appointment and one the day before as well as an email providing us with the information of who our technician would be.

The day of the appointment, our technician called me 45 minutes before his arrival to ensure we were aware he was coming and that the appointment time still worked for us. He was prompt in his arrival and upon arriving reviewed with me in detail what he planned to do during the appointment, how long each step would take, and confirming the placement of the systems we were adding. The communication from Vivint and the technician himself was comprehensive and clear, and the timeliness of the technician much appreciated.

Efficiency & Effectiveness – Our appointment was about three hours long. The technician began with a review of the work he intended to do, confirmation of the terms we’d agreed to, completion of contract, and a rundown of the order in which he’d be completing the job. He asked permission for every area of our home he needed to enter, ensured we agreed with the placement of systems and details of wiring, etc., and then got to work. He worked efficiently and effectively from his iPad and completed the appointment about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. All of the “paperwork” for the installation was completed electronically, using a combination of signatures on the iPad as well as a facial/voice recognition survey to accept terms and ensure the technician had accurately relayed the information.

Technician demeanor & soft skills – The technician was very upbeat and friendly, from his initial phone call prior to arrival through to completion of the job. He explained things well and asked for questions along the way. He was polite and respectful of our home, putting booties on to cover his shoes as soon as he entered and asking permission as he needed access to areas of the house. I asked him toward the end of the visit if he liked working for Vivint, and emphatically said that he did – he explained that he worked for a competitor prior and that Vivint is preferable. He noted that he feels his direct management really cares about the technicians and ensure they feel valued. I asked if he was happy with the technology they use, and he said yes with few exceptions – surveys like the one he gave me upon completion of the contract with facial/voice recognition, he said, are new and seem to still have a few kinks to work out.

Post-visit follow-up – Vivint’s post-visit communication was equally good as its pre-visit outreach. We received a survey via email within a day of our appointment asking for insight on how our visit was. Luckily, we had nothing but good news to report, but this is an important step in allowing those that do have constructive feedback a method to relay it. My only suggestion here would be to add a text delivery of the survey as well since I’m more apt to take a few moments to reply to a text than open an unnecessary email.

Management of COVID-19 sensitivity – We’d scheduled this upgrade prior to the current COVID-19 crisis reaching the point it is at now but decided to keep the appointment rather than rescheduling. Vivint’s management of service given the unprecedented circumstances seemed thorough, including:

  • Email communication prior to the visit outlining the steps the company is taking to ensure safety of its customers and employees
  • When our technician called prior to the appointment, he asked if anyone in the house was experiencing any symptoms of illness and explained that, if so, he needed to reschedule
  • Our technician wore an N-95 mask the entirety of the visits, put booties over his shoes each time he entered our house, and wore gloves any time he touched anything in our home
  • Our technician explained that in addition to those precautions, each Vivint technician is required to complete a health assessment before beginning each shift

Well done, Vivint! It may seem reading this that all service organizations should be providing equally satisfactory service, but in my experience that simply isn’t always the case.

March 26, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

New Metrics for A New World of Service Delivery

March 26, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

New Metrics for A New World of Service Delivery

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By Bill Pollock

The transition from the historical Service Level Agreement (SLA) model to a more broadly defined Servitization model is upending the global field services community. In fact, the movement away from a decades-old SLA service delivery model that typically guaranteed 4- or 8-hour on-site response, quarterly PMs (Preventive Maintenance) and online customer technical support is quickly being replaced by a “new” model that is built on a foundation of outcomes-based performance targets and metrics.

For example, in a typical food or beverage processing facility, the “old” way of executing an SLA may have been based on an assortment of contractual line items, such as guaranteed 4-hour, 8-hour or next day on-site arrival; four or more preventive maintenance visits per year; access to a customer portal to initiate a service call, track the status of open call activity or order parts, etc. However, the “new” way of constructing a service agreement may now consist simply of delivering guaranteed system uptime, guaranteed minimum level of productivity throughput (e.g., gallons of milk processed per day, etc.), and an accompanying array of predictive and remote monitoring, diagnostics and system fixes.

Along with this service delivery model transition also comes a major transition in the way services are priced. Over the past several years, the shift from perpetual license pricing to subscription pricing had taken some time to be fully embraced by the global services community; but the change has since become widely accepted and fairly universal.

However, each of these major “disruptions” to the services marketplace have led to additional changes that may actually be even more disruptive – at least in the short term.

For example, changes to the way services are now being delivered – and priced – are, in turn, leading to the need for an entirely “new” way of measuring performance. Basically, the old Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will no longer work for those services organizations that have since transitioned to a Servitization model.

As recently as 10 years ago, arguably two of the most commonly used KPIs were Mean-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF) and Mean-Time-to-Repair (MTTR). However, the advent and proliferation of predictive and preventive diagnostics, remote service and support, and other Artificial Intelligence-based service capabilities have rendered these two historical staples as relatively unnecessary in a “new” world where equipment never (or, rarely ever) fails, and the “fix” is now performed prior to a failure, rather than following the failure.

Accordingly, MTBF can easily be replaced by MTBPF (i.e., Mean-Time-Between-Prevented-Failures), and MTTR can be retired completely. Essentially, services organizations are becoming more attuned to understanding – and measuring – equipment failures in terms of “How many times has a failure been prevented?” rather than “How many times has a failure occurred?”

But the conundrum is, how do you compare this year’s KPIs for MTBPF against last year’s MTBF? The short answer is, “you can’t!” As such, year-to-year performance comparisons must now start all over again – oftentimes with a clean slate with respect to the ability to compare performance levels over time.

Other examples of soon-to-be-bygone KPIs include OTR (On-Time-Response), FTFR (First-Time-Fix-Rate) and PM (Preventive Maintenance). Through the use of predictive diagnostics and predictive maintenance the need for an On-Time Response metric will be highly diminished, as will the need for FTFR and other traditional KPIs/metrics. For example, OTR will be largely diminished in importance as a majority of service calls are now being handled remotely. In addition, FTFRs will be normalized as everything will likely get fixed in a single event, whether it requires a single “try” or multiple “tries;” and PMs will virtually disappear (or at least be replaced by another PM - Predictive Maintenance).As such, there will be a whole “new” way of delivering service, as well as measuring the success of the organization through an entirely “new” set of KPIs, or metrics.

Customers no longer will be pleased simply with equipment that is working, sensors that are communicating, and devices that are operating – they are now beginning to look more closely at how their systems, equipment, sensors and devices are working together, in their behalf to get the job done. A services organization that merely keeps individual systems or equipment up and running (i.e., maintaining high levels of uptime), but does not ensure that they are all working together to effectively and efficiently execute the company’s business, will ultimately find themselves being replaced by other services organizations that do. The clear winners will be those organizations that “get” Servitization, and not those that do not.

In 1974, the California-based surreal comedy group, The Firesign Theatre, released an album titled, “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” They may not have known it at the time, but they were essentially describing today’s (and tomorrow’s) global services community!

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March 25, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

The Art of Diversifying Service Revenue Streams

March 25, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

The Art of Diversifying Service Revenue Streams

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Sarah welcomes Jason Cocco, SVP of Sales at Restaurant Technologies Inc. to discuss the art – and science – of how RTI has successfully diversified its revenue streams.

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March 23, 2020 | 3 Mins Read

Adopting Agile: Methodology Vs. Mindset

March 23, 2020 | 3 Mins Read

Adopting Agile: Methodology Vs. Mindset

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

There’s a widespread recognition among the organizations I speak with that they need to become more agile, but there’s also a common struggle when it comes to actually adopting more agile principles and practices. In a recent interview I conducted with Amanda Moore, Head of IT - Customer Projects, Support & Field Services at Schneider Electric for a must-listen episode of the Future of Field Service podcast, she attributed much of the reason for this shared challenge to three things: a lack of understanding on what agile is, alignment not just within IT but across company functions on why and how to become more agile, and the need to rethink agile from simply a software methodology to more of an overarching business mindset.

“The term agile grew out of software development, but the concepts within the mindset are critical to the entire modern enterprise,” says Amanda. “Incremental change, autonomous and cross-functional teams, better accountability, and working across functions are aspects of agile that benefit all areas of the business. Companies from a focus on adopting agile as a mindset across the business rather than just for software development within IT.” Amanda summarizes the biggest challenges in adopting a more agile mindset to four main areas:

  • Lack of understanding. “Agile isn’t just moving fast, it’s far more than that. One of the biggest barriers to companies becoming agile is not having a clear definition or vision for what it is they are working to become. Landing on a common understanding of agile is imperative,” explains Amanda.
  • Alignment. “Again, agile is most impactful when it’s adopted as a company mindset versus just as a methodology within IT,” says Amanda. “This requires alignment across groups and functions of the business – a common goal and breakdown of silos.”
  • Skepticism. “As with any change, people are uncomfortable giving up what they know. Within IT, those experienced in linear waterfall development are most comfortable with a detailed project plan – an agile approach is out of that comfort zone, and it causes skepticism,” says Amanda. Clear communication on objectives and a plan for change management will help you navigate this challenge.
  • Support from finance. “Agile presents a major shift for most companies’ finance processes – finance departments are typically accustomed to funding projects, in terms of ROI on a business case, versus the ongoing prioritized work of teams,” says Amanda. This fundamental change can be challenging to overcome.

Amanda is experienced in facing these challenges and has some advice to offer you if you are in the midst of the quest to become more agile. First, she suggests training everybody on agile. “It’s worth hiring an expert to give your company a common vernacular and toolkit around what an agile mindset is and how adoption will impact the organization,” she says. Second, she suggests starting small and proving yourself. “Don’t try to boil the ocean to start – take a small first step,” Amanda says. “Focus on this small start and prove yourself. Earn the trust of your peers and don’t forget to promote the success beyond your own team so that others can see how agile is paying off.” And finally, build on your success. “Be flexible. Focus on putting the right people on your team and trust them to make the right decisions. Constantly review your progress and look for where you need to pivot and change.”

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March 19, 2020 | 5 Mins Read

How Do we Do Service Right Now?

March 19, 2020 | 5 Mins Read

How Do we Do Service Right Now?

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By Tom Paquin

Back during the financial crisis, I happened to meet a man who was volunteering at a food bank in Providence, Rhode Island. He had recently been laid off from his manufacturing job and was moving boxes and stocking shelves because he needed something to do.

I think about that man a lot. I think about what it took for him to get out of bed, get dressed every day, and drive to a place to work for no money, gain no transferrable experience, and receive no benefits. I think about the integrity, the discipline, and the desire to help others that he expressed. The inspiration that he offered me has stuck with me, simple as it was. I often wonder about the man, and where he is now.

I think about that man quite a bit right now, in the context of our current health, social, and economic crisis. I think about the challenges faced by the people that I write about; Technicians and front-line service workers, who, stripped of work, lack even the simple dignity to volunteer at a place that, today, doesn’t want crowds, but also needs our help more than ever right now.

I wish I knew how we, as a service community, navigate this crisis, but it’s a question that I don’t think any of us can realistically answer right now. Sarah did a great job tackling this on Monday, and with a few days more to process what’s been a scenario that changes by the hour, I thought I’d share some of my own thoughts.

What we do know is that, in spite of the temporary economic contraction that we all face, the need for service functions, both in B2B and B2C settings does not simply erode in the face of a global pandemic, and with it comes challenges and dangers for the technicians on the front line. There are things we can do today to manage some of those challenges, and there are things that, when the dust settles and we return to a state of normalcy, we will need to consider for the future. Like I said before, these are mitigants and means to blunt damage. I cannot absolve the entire service sector of illness or economic strife, as much as I wish I could. But these can begin to make things a bit better.

What to Do Today

There is of course the obvious litany of safety measures currently at our disposal: Wash hands, maintain social distance, etc. I hopefully do not need to reiterate them here in detail, but here is the CDC’s guidance on mitigating health risks for businesses.

From a business standpoint, I’ve seen some companies declare business as usual, I’ve seen some manufacturers consider a pivot the desperately-needed utilities that are within their scope, like masks and ventilators, I’ve seen some firms reallocate field workers to internal positions to give them less exposure and help maintain business continuity, and I’ve seen others say nothing.

The bottom line is this—your technicians are the lifeblood of your company, and their wellbeing, both bodily and economically, should remain a top priority. We have remained on the precipice of a labor shortage among many areas of service for some time now, and it’s up to us to do our best to mitigate that shortage in the long run. I can’t dictate how that happens for your business, and without bills and budget it is easy for me to say all this, and yes, austerity measures might be necessary, but I think that, across service, organizations have a fiduciary duty to hold on to their talent. How that happens relies on your creativity, your compassion, and the unique machinations of your industry.

What to Think About Tomorrow

I truly believe that when recovery comes, service will be the driver. Service already accounts for more than 60% of the US GDP, and the importance of getting service right—and managing what might end up being a huge influx of business—will be key to owning and championing that recovery.

Chief among that are, as we will continue to discuss around here, the technological considerations attached to proper service delivery. I truly believe that, for all industries, not just service, we are now going to have a very serious conversation about the implication of zero-touch commerce, and building a stronger zero-touch infrastructure.

In service, that typically resides down two avenues: Augmented Reality and IoT capabilities. I think that we’ll begin to see an influx of interest and development in those areas, both in manufacturing, and across other business categories. Within IoT, self-diagnostic, and even self-healing systems are a thing of the present, and smart upfront investment can mean that the stage is set for more deliberately-managed appointment time to mitigate on-site interactions. This obviously limits person-to-person contact, but also saves on truck rolls.

Another IoT-capable utility not explicitly tied to the asset itself is, for organizations with large SLA agreements, remote locking mechanisms so as to allow service to perform tasks in off hours or in unmanned plants. All of these things are in use today, and will ultimately help businesses work more efficiently and effectively.

The benefits of Augmented Reality are more obviously in play today, with many companies using shared view to walk customers through repairs remotely, or loading automated repair instructions into apps and tutorials that activate when pointed at an asset. These functions, like IoT, serve a similar purpose, while saving  time, money, and materials.

These are obviously small measures, and it’s important to know that this discussion, these ideas, and plans for how we lift one another up when we come out the other side of this will be ongoing. We’ll be right here with you with more content and considerations on service, both in this context, and looking ahead to the future (as is our titular mission after all).

And Sarah and I will see you at the next big service event, sooner or later.

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March 18, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

Humanizing Your Brand

March 18, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

Humanizing Your Brand

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Sarah talks with Rich Malachy, CEO of Malachy Parts and Service, about the importance of humanizing your brand and what that looks like based on Rich’s experience.

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March 16, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Considerations for Field Service Organizations Grappling with Covid-19

March 16, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Considerations for Field Service Organizations Grappling with Covid-19

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I had an internal debate on whether or not I wanted to write an article this week on Covid-19. For one, I am in awe of what’s happening in the world as much as the next person. And I most certainly don’t have answers, a real grasp on all of the ways this pandemic will impact businesses or even each of our lives, or even feel equipped to speak on the topic. That said, despite my hesitance in commenting on something that I don’t feel overly qualified to discuss, it also just feels awkward to forge ahead with our coverage and not address something that is so significantly weighing on everyone’s minds.

I realize there are companies within our audience for which this pandemic means your customers need you now more than ever, and the issue is more around how to safely and effectively deliver the service that’s needed. However, there are also companies within our audience for which this disruption will cause immense struggle. Moreover, there is the fact that this impacts each of us on a very personal level. We’re all learning more about the situation day-by-day and working to navigate this uncharted territory. While I’m not full of answers, I most certainly am full of empathy. Our human connection is more important now more than ever, and I hope that we can continue to use Future of Field Service as a platform to connect, learn, and grow.

For now, I want to share a few articles and resources I’ve come across that I believe are worth considering as you navigate this difficult time (it goes without saying, safety of your customers, workforce, and the general public should be considered first and all CDC guidelines followed):

  • Consider Your Company Culture. As I said, this is uncharted territory for us all – but you have to think about how to protect, preserve, and evolve your company culture. Employees are fearful, anxious, and facing isolation. This article by Dom Nicastro of CMS Wire (the same last name is a coincidence!) provides good food for thought on some of the issues that will need to be addressed in this unprecedented situation. As he says, a company’s ability to pivot and flex is critical. He suggests that leaders need to “overcommunicate and be available.” He also discusses the need to balance practical steps to ensure continuity with the need for empathy and emotional support.
  • Consider Your Technology Resources and Options. Hopefully your company already has a solid foundation of technology in place to enable collaboration and communication as teams work remotely – if not, you’ll need to quickly determine how best to accommodate this. For field service, there’s been an influx of interest in tools like augmented reality to significantly reduce the need for on-site, in-person visits and to better enable remote repair and resolution. AR can also be used for remote team training and collaboration.
  • Consider Your Customers. As challenging as this crisis may be for your company, it’s imperative to continue to keep your customers at the center of your thinking and decisions. From protecting their safety in every way possible, to looking for ways to provide further human connection and empathy, I do believe that how you tackle this tough time will leave an impression for years to come. I’ve seen companies of all sorts thinking outside of the box on how to continue to connect with and provide value to their customers – from adjusting offerings to accommodate social distancing to providing free resources and connection through social media and video platforms. Think of how you can support your customers during this time, both in terms of how your service offerings need to be modified but also in what you can do to stay connected and add value.
  • Consider Your Network for Connection. I’ve been a part of the service community for a long time, and I genuinely care for you all. So do many others. With industry events rescheduled and cancelled and travel bans in place, we can all begin to feel isolated and a bit stuck. But rest assured, I am here and committed to continuing to connect and discuss and learn alongside you. Our friends at Field Service News just announced a an 'Emergency Symposium: Coronavirus and its potential impact on field service delivery' happening this Friday, March 20th at 12PM ET as well as an ongoing digital symposium to provide insight and resources in a time that many events are being postponed. You can register for the event here. Let’s stay connected and support one another through this uncharted challenging time.

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March 12, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Women in Field Service: 3 Valuable Lessons Learned from a Female IT Professional

March 12, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Women in Field Service: 3 Valuable Lessons Learned from a Female IT Professional

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I recently interviewed Amanda Moore, Head of IT - Customer Projects, Support & Field Services at Schneider Electric, for an episode of the Future of Field Service podcast on becoming more agile, both as an IT organization and as a company. It’s a must-listen if you haven’t already, but what I wanted to share here is Amanda’s insight and advice around being a woman in a historically male-dominated industry.

“I've been in an IT role for almost 25 years, which is a male-dominated field just like services,” says Amanda. “I thank my parents for a few formative experiences that helped me survive through the last 25 years. My dad was a fire fighter and an electrician. And when I was small, women were not allowed upstairs in the fire house, but my dad didn't abide by those rules. He also took me on electrical jobs, to help run cables in small spaces or to hold his flashlight. When he was a repair technician for a chain of laundromats, he took me to work. I learned an appreciation for a hard day's work and for wanting to understand how machines worked. He bought me a computer when I was 10, and I learned to code at the dining room table. My mom supported all of this. They treated me like a curious, eager child. Not like a little girl that needed to be treated differently from my three brothers. My dad was really my first male advocate, and I'm super grateful for this.”

Like most women have, Amanda has overcome challenges and learned some hard lessons along the way – but the experience she had as a child set her up well to tackle these challenges with confidence. I asked Amanda to share with our readers her advice for other women based on her own experiences.

Stand Up for Yourself

“My childhood experiences gave me the self-confidence to stand up for myself through the years,” says Amanda. But it even with self-confidence, the act of standing up for yourself in certain situations can be difficult. “I learned the hard way that not all men are allies. I wish I had learned to have courage earlier in my career to stand up for myself when it came to way men treated me,” explains Amanda. “The first time I stood up to sexual harassment in the workplace was really powerful, but it took me a while to get there. And I truly believe that things are better in most workplaces in the U.S.A. today, but unfortunately, the first half of my career was full of me-too moments.”

Stretch to Grow

Amanda also suggests that it is important to push outside of your comfort zone. "Stretch yourself,” she says. “Volunteer for roles even if you don't think you're ready. No one is ever 100 percent ready, kind of like being a parent. You're never really ready to be a parent. You're never ready for that career move 100 percent. But you'll figure it out as you go. Don't be afraid to volunteer.”

Build Your Tribe

Finally, Amanda urges readers to always remember the value of connection. "You need a strong tribe,” she says. “So build that tribe. Surround yourself with the best people, even if they're smarter than you. And people who are different than you, because you need that to attack all the angles and to be the most effective that you can in your job and to grow. Together you and your tribe will help you achieve your goals.”

She also suggests making an investment in connecting others. "Looking for opportunities to connect people is like an investment in your future,” Amanda says. “Even if it's not about you, if you say, ‘Hey, I recently met someone who's struggling with the same thing. Let me connect you.’ It's really about building a bank account of goodwill among your connections, and some day you'll be able to withdraw in that investment that you've made.”

Amanda has not only witnessed a positive evolution in her 25 years in IT, but she’s excited about where the future is headed for women. “The culture around women in technology has changed in general. The focus on science, technology, engineering and math education the last few years has started to remove the stigma around girls in tech or engineering fields,” she says. “As more women study these fields, there are more candidates to balance the pool. It is moving in the right direction. I've been working with the services teams for five years, and during those years, Schneider has really intentionally focused on increasing female hires. And in setting percentage targets and holding themselves accountable publicly, reviewing and adjusting, making sure there's equal pay for equal work and shifting that culture to include really embracing different perspectives and backgrounds. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be in a company that walks the talk and truly believes in the value that women bring.”

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March 11, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

Bureau Veritas North America CEO Speaks On IWD

March 11, 2020 | 1 Mins Read

Bureau Veritas North America CEO Speaks On IWD

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Natalia Shuman, CEO of Bureau Veritas North America, talks with Sarah about her experiences as a female leader, what IWD means to her, and how BV is working sincerely and diligently to foster diversity and inclusion.

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March 9, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Women in Field Service: It’s Personal to Me

March 9, 2020 | 4 Mins Read

Women in Field Service: It’s Personal to Me

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

Last year around International Women’s Day, we at Future of Field Service launched a Women in Field Service series of content and we’ve continued that series since. Along the way, I’ve received mostly support from women (and men) in the industry and have had the wonderful opportunity to hear many women’s stories of hurdles, growth, and triumph. But I’ve also faced a few questions of, “If you really want equality for women, why keep calling them out?” The first time a woman asked me this, I had to really think about what my answer was. What I landed on, and still stand by, is that while it would be ideal NOT to have to call women’s issues out so that they get the attention they deserve – and even more ideal to live in a world of equality where these issues didn’t even exist – we’re simply not there yet. And until we are, it’s important to normalize the discussion so that we can continue to advocate for equality and drive change where it needs to occur.

The theme for this year’s IWD is #EachforEqual, and as the site says, “We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.” For me, writing the Women in Field Service series has been an honor – I have really enjoyed hearing each woman’s story and helping share those perspectives with our broader audience. I think we all learn so much when we’re willing to be open and honest. We have a great lineup of women for upcoming additions to our series, but as I began putting the interviews in place I started thinking about the fact that I have never really shared my own story and thought it only fitting in asking these women to open up that I do the same.

The first question I usually ask women in the interview is around the challenges she has faced. When I think of my own experiences, there are three cringe-worthy moments that immediately come to mind:

  • “Maybe if you offered to sleep with our clients we’d make more money!” This was said jokingly to me by a male colleague when I was a young woman just starting out in her career. I should’ve stood up for myself and asked him if he’d ever dream of saying that to a man, but I wasn’t confident enough so I forced myself to laugh along even though I didn’t find it the least bit funny. I faced other instances of sexual harassment as well before I felt able to stand up for myself, including inappropriate comments and unwanted physical touch.
  • “Why don’t you just stay home and take care of your kids? Childcare is too expensive.” I heard this the week I returned to work after maternity leave with my second son. I was so taken aback at this question and was deeply offended to have my desire to continue my career minimized in this way. I’ve also been unfairly paid for my work as compared to my male peers and have been told I have poor emotional control for voicing strong opinions with conviction in the exact same way male colleagues had.
  • “So who takes care of your kids when you travel for work? My wife could never leave our children like you do.” As a working mom of two small children, I always feel I’m failing somewhere despite having a track record of somehow making it all work. Questions like this, which I hear often, feed the inner voice that tells me I can’t simultaneously excel in my career and be a good mother to my children.

The second question I women in interviews is to discuss the flip side of these challenges – the opportunities that exist for women in service. And as service, tech, and IT evolve the opportunities are immense. There are so many organizations working hard toward diversity, inclusion, and equality. My employer, IFS, is a great example that I’ve had the benefit to experience personally, but I also see it in the companies I interview – Otis Elevator, DISH, Bureau Veritas, and Schneider Electric are just a few great examples. Service itself is changing, how it’s delivered and what it takes to succeed – there are more career paths and options for women than ever before. It’s a very exiting time and while I think it’s important to discuss the challenges we’ve had, it’s also important to acknowledge those embracing the work it takes to improve the work environment for women and for everyone.

Finally, I ask what advice interviewees would give a fellow woman just starting out in her career. Mine would be to get comfortable pushing beyond your comfort zone. Whether that’s speaking up when it’s hard to advocate for yourself, deciding to learn a new skill that you find challenging, or taking on a new opportunity even when change is scary. Go for it even when you don’t feel ready. And always look for ways to help others. Building authentic relationships and being willing to offer your time or insight or help freely is always a wise investment.

Thank you for reading my story! I am excited for the content we have coming up this week to honor IWD and am so thankful to have the opportunity to help these women share their stories. I truly love this industry and, having been a part of it for 13 years, I have had a front-row seat for the progress that has been made. While we still have work to do, it’s apparent in the conversations I am having with service leaders – women and men alike – that there’s immense commitment to continuing to build diversity and achieve true equality.

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