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March 31, 2021 | 30 Mins Read

A CMO’s View on Mastering Service Marketing

March 31, 2021 | 30 Mins Read

A CMO’s View on Mastering Service Marketing

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Sarah talks with Jennifer Deutsch, CMO of Park Place Technologies, about the musts and must nots of marketing service.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. I'm super excited for today's podcast, because we're going to be tackling a topic that I think a lot of listeners can benefit from digging into, which is understanding a CMO’s view on how to master service marketing. As companies move more toward advanced services, outcomes based services, as some of our manufacturing listeners move towards Servitizing their businesses, it's becoming more and more important to rethink marketing strategies, or in some cases, develop new marketing strategies to be effective at marketing those new service offerings. I'm excited to welcome to the podcast today, Jennifer Deutsch, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Park Place Technologies. Jennifer, welcome to the podcast.

Jennifer Deutsch: Thanks so much, Sarah. It's great to be here with you today.

Sarah Nicastro: We are excited to have you. Okay. To get started, Jennifer, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, your role, and just make sure you tell folks a little bit about Park Place.

Jennifer Deutsch: Sure. Just to kick things off, Park Place Technologies is the world's largest TPM, third-party maintenance, provider for data centers, but we're much more than that. We've been very acquisitive over the last three years. We've had 16 acquisitions, which has taken us way beyond TPM. We're now in the software business. We have actually an entire portfolio of products that includes Entuity, which is network analytics, and ParkView, which includes discovery, hardware monitoring, and much more. I'm actually going to talk a little bit about that later.

Jennifer Deutsch: A bit about me, I have a long history of marketing. I've been in marketing for the last 38 years. I have marketed food, hotel brands like Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels and Resorts. I even did a stint on branding Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts. I worked for Nestle, where I launched Lean Cuisine globally. I worked on also Nestle ice cream. I ran an advertising agency for 10 years. That was also very interesting because I worked on businesses, anything from industrial vibrators, which was pretty fascinating, too GE light bulbs, Sherwin-Williams paint.

Jennifer Deutsch: I did work in the retail space, did an awful lot in the healthcare space where we focused on hospital systems. That gave me a really interesting background on lots of different categories. I've also had global experience. I've had a great opportunity to prepare for my role at Park Place Technologies.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. That sounds like they're very lucky to have you and have all of that experience. I think, Jennifer, some of what our listeners grapple a bit with is there's companies that I would say are similar to Park Place in the sense of really expanding core offerings, the same way you said that you've acquired these different companies, and you've really expanded the capabilities of the organization, and therefore the services you provide to customers.

Sarah Nicastro: A lot of our listeners are in that process, whether that's through acquisition or just through the exploration and addition of different services. Then as I mentioned at the beginning, the folks within our audience that are in the manufacturing sector, a lot of those are really focusing on moving away from the habit and the process and the skills that it takes to market products and learning how to better market services. I think your insights are going to be really helpful on both fronts. We'll dig in by starting, if you had to summarize Park Place's approach to marketing IT services, how would you describe that?

Jennifer Deutsch: I would say that we lead through innovation. I would say that we're an organization and also a marketing department that's fearless in our innovation. Through innovation, we've been able to change the dynamics of our brand, our products, but also the category. We work hard to position Park Place as a thought leader and an innovator, and we do that on lots of different fronts. We use lots of different marketing tactics to do that from analyst relations to public relations, to truly innovating new products, innovating claims, et cetera. I can talk a little bit about that later.

Jennifer Deutsch: Innovation helps differentiate your product from the competition, helping to set you apart. Because at the end of the day, customers want to know, what's the difference? Why did I buy your product or service versus somebody else's? If you can add features and benefits that go beyond price like innovation, that helps differentiate your product and brand. I think that's key. I guess I can say that there are some recent examples of innovation in our category, which quite, frankly, has left our competitors flatfooted, and some of these things take a while.

Jennifer Deutsch: About two weeks ago, we introduced something called the First-Time Fix Guarantee. Because in our business, it's all about uptime. Uptime is actually our brand promise. We promise to drive uptime. Because if you're running a data center, it must be up. To offer the First-Time Fix Guarantee, we are really putting our money where our mouth is that the first time we are going to fix it. Guarantee means that if we don't fix it, we're actually going to service that piece of equipment for a month. There's a penalty for us. That was such an innovation that is such an innovation for the category. It took three years for us to get it together to make sure that we could actually fix things truly.

Sarah Nicastro: Right, deliver on that claim.

Jennifer Deutsch: Exactly. It's three years in the making. Another example is when we grew beyond pure play TPM and we were bringing to the market discovery products, marketing products, and products to help organizations optimize, we knew that we had to create and invent a new category, and we did that. We launched a category in December called DMSO, discover, monitor, support, and optimize. That was two-and-a-half years in the making. Quite frankly, these ideas come from listening to your customers, listening to their pain points, and hearing opportunities.

Jennifer Deutsch: Also, you must innovate. Because if you don't innovate, you die, you lose your relevancy. Could we have continued and been an organization that's simply focused on TPM? Absolutely. We have a dual brand promise, it's not only uptime, it's also future proofing our customers, so that we're staying ahead of the customers, we're staying ahead of the puck to bring innovation. I think it's important for marketers to have a roadmap for innovation, not only new product development, but claims and features, all of that takes time.

Jennifer Deutsch: You've got to have essentially a portfolio of what you're going to be bringing to the market. If you think about it, the First-Time Fix Guarantee took three-and-a-half years. DMSO took two-and-a-half years. There are lots of other pieces and parts, but you've got to have short tail, mid, and long tail tactics to keep your brand fresh. The other thing for us is to clearly communicate features and benefits simply. As Aristotle said, "The real genius is simplicity."

Jennifer Deutsch: When you take a look at our tagline all about uptime, it's a very simple tagline, which quite frankly, delivers a message, what we're focusing on. We're using one of the most impactful important words in our category, which is uptime. We drive uptime. It's important that when you have new products or you have new features that it's easy to understand, the messaging is simple, and that immediately, customers understand what it is that you're launching.

Sarah Nicastro: Very good. I want to go back to a couple points. I, especially, like how you gave the example of the time that it took to bring the First-Time Fix Guarantee to life in terms of messaging. It was in the works for three years before you went public facing. I think a lot of our listeners have innovation in the works. I think that, generally speaking, there's different degrees, I suppose, and different struggles along the way. I think many of them are working hard at innovating.

Sarah Nicastro: I think though that one of the things that's lacking is the articulation of that new value proposition in a way that really resonates with the customers. I've had countless people say, we invested in an IoT solutions so that we could monitor our customers assets in real-time and none of them want to buy it. It's because they're selling on the innovation, not the value of that innovation. I think that's one of the biggest struggles. It is, I think, important for our listeners to hear you say some of the things that you're working on now.

Sarah Nicastro: I think for a lot of the folks within our audience that could be their remote service strategy or their migration toward predictive analytics and things like that, those things that you're working on now you need to be thinking, now, what the message will be in a year or two years or three years when you bring that to fruition. The other thing I was hoping you could just expand on a bit is the advice you have on how to articulate that value in the language that is going to have the greatest impact for customers.

Jennifer Deutsch: Yeah. You bring up a really great point. I'll also say it also works in the reverse. You may have product innovation, but from a marketer's perspective, we might want to make a claim. For example, we did claim research where we threw a whole bunch of claims out things that we could put a stake in the ground and had customers respond and react. Three-and-a-half years ago, we tested the First-Time-Fix. We did not have a solution for it. What we then had to do is develop the technology, so we could actually launch the claim and make the guarantee.

Jennifer Deutsch: Sometimes it starts with the product. Sometimes it starts with the idea. We actually had a product, ParkView, that was in the works. Literally, we could make the guarantee once we had enough of our customers that had actually installed ParkView. The end of the day, you can start with an idea and then work backwards or you can have the product. The most important aspect is to take the proof points and explain to the customer what the benefits are, how will this help you.

Jennifer Deutsch: By the way, if a product sits on the shelf and isn't really gaining traction, sometimes there are trends or things that happen in the environment that may actually help you to accelerate your product. I must say the pandemic helped us with ParkView, because remote monitoring became a necessity, during a pandemic, when people could go into their data centers. You have to be able to also very quickly respond. I've given some examples of things that took two-and-a-half years, three-and-a-half years, et cetera.

Jennifer Deutsch: You also must be able to respond to trends, respond immediately to needs and be very quick on your feet. At the end of the day, to be able to very simply explain the benefits to the customer is the real beauty in communicating and marketing very simply, very quickly. If you can do it in an arresting way, so you have a headline that catches somebody so that they proceed to read more and learn more, then you have a winner.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that's a really good point. I love what you said about it can start as an idea as well. I want to come back to talk about that a little bit more in a moment. Before we do that, there's a couple things that I want to have you speak on. The first is something that you mentioned to me when we spoke before called a brand activator. You talked about the importance of a brand activator. Explain what that is and how it works, and any advice you have on developing brand activators.

Jennifer Deutsch: Sure. A brand activator is a tactic that brings the brand to life. When you think about a brand and the personality of the brand and you've gone through your branding exercise, at the end of the day, you need proof points, so that you can say, yes, that is my brand. I think a great example might be the Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz-Carlton is known as the ultimate and luxury. Their credo was ladies and gentlemen. The message there is the staff are ladies and gentlemen, they're genteel folks who are serving connoisseurs of consumption, someone who stays at the Ritz-Carlton.

Jennifer Deutsch: A Room is a room is a room for $79 at the Red Roof Inn or $779 at the Ritz-Carlton. It's four-walled, got a bed, what is the difference? The Ritz-Carlton brand is a brand that caters to connoisseurs of consumption, people who want to be recognized, people who want the best of the best. Brand activators, which are very easy to understand for a brand like Ritz-Carlton would be that in the brand guidelines, and by the way, I developed the brand guidelines for the Ritz-Carlton, there are no fake flowers at Ritz-Carlton. All flowers are real, and they're fragrant.

Jennifer Deutsch: Because when someone walks into a Ritz-Carlton, they should be able to tell with all of their senses that they're at the Ritz-Carlton. It's what they see, what they smell, and what they touch. It's fine silks for the furniture, fresh flowers, like a Stargazer, lily, et cetera. When they're greeted by the staff, there's a language guide. Very often, someone at the Ritz-Carlton will say, "My pleasure." Staff is different at the Ritz-Carlton than it is at another Marriott brand, let's say, Renaissance Hotels. People are screened for their service orientation.

Jennifer Deutsch: I think it's easy to be able to identify and source brand activators for a brand like the Ritz-Carlton. Everything from their blue water glasses to dress code, et cetera. At a technology company like Park Place, a brand activator might be a little more difficult to define. I would say that we had to invent them. Some brand activators for us would actually include our client advisory board. We've got 36 customers. We're on our advisory board, and we touch base with them. We provide them the opportunity to beta test new products. We listen to them.

Jennifer Deutsch: We understand what's going on in their environment. We provide them with the opportunity to surface topics that they want to talk about, et cetera. We have a huge E-services initiative that Nicola has really been spearheading, and included in that is, is that we were the first to bring a mobile app to the marketplace. We have live chat on our portal. We conduct business in real-time in 170 different languages. We actually also have what we call PPT tracker. That's like a pizza tracker. You can track your pizza from Pizza Hut.

Jennifer Deutsch: You can actually track your parts and your engineer from Park Place, so you know when the part will arrive and the engineer will arrive. The First-Time Fix Guarantee actually also is a brand activator. Other things that we do, we have an end of service library. It's not just that we keep the information to ourselves, we push it out to all of our customers. Because if they have something in their infrastructure that will become end of service life, they should know and we can help them. Those are tactics that bring the brand to life for us as a brand that positions ourselves as all about uptime, that we're driving uptime, and that we're helping our customers to future proof.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay, I love those examples. I think that talking about the Ritz-Carlton example first helped, because like you said, it is very easy to visualize. You're right that it's a little more challenging for a marketer like yourself as you come into this world. I think that a long, long time ago now, we had Joe Pine on the podcast, who wrote the book the Experience Economy. I think that it's similar to that thinking in terms of what are the things we can do big to small that differentiate the experience we can provide our customers from the experience our competitors are providing and thinking about how to bring that to life. That's really good advice. Let's talk ... Go ahead.

Jennifer Deutsch: I just wanted to jump in, Sarah, and say that I think that if you really want to make an impact in the category, you should own the best customer experience. That's something that drives us, something that Nicola is working on, we all work on it, that that is a core differentiator that our customer has the best experience given the competitive set. Everything again, from the cab to First-Time Fix, to all the E-services that we provide, from billing options, et cetera, but the entire experience should be the best.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, I want to talk next a little bit about taglines. You said yours is uptime all the time?

Jennifer Deutsch: All about uptime.

Sarah Nicastro: All about uptime, okay. Very intuitive to me in why that matters so much to your customer base, and I like it. What is your advice for listeners on developing a tagline that grabs the attention of customers?

Jennifer Deutsch: Well, I think first, when someone is thinking about a tagline, a new campaign, et cetera, you need to start by listening to your customers, understand their pain points, what are they struggling with, understand keywords, et cetera. What's really important, aside from getting insights and input from customers, is creating a message that's very short, very simple, very easy to understand, it's arresting, the line should be evergreen, it should be able to last, it should be memorable, it should be short, and it should be easy to understand and easy to play back and ownable.

Jennifer Deutsch: If you think about “just do it” from Nike. Just do it from Nike means the freedom to perform. In those shoes, you can do anything, you can jump higher, you can run faster. With us, all about uptime, we do everything to make sure that your data center is up. It is more than just a data center now, it's your infrastructure. We do network analytics to make sure that your VPN tunnels are open, that you know how to give your users, your customers, if you're an IT, the best experience possible as the workforce is bifurcated.

Jennifer Deutsch: Some people in the office, a lot of people are at home right now, making sure the people have access to a VPN that they can use and is open, is extremely important. Getting back to the tagline, that's a lot that I just said. It should be lasting, it should be memorable, it should be short. In other words, your tagline really should not be more than five words. It should be easy to understand so that somebody gets it. All about uptime is pretty easy to understand, just do it, quite frankly, makes you think of a lot of different things, and your performance, but it must be ownable. It must be easy to play back and easy to read. Those are a lot of the same criteria, quite frankly, that you evaluate as you're looking at logos.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay, that makes sense. I think I love all about uptime. I mean, I think that's great work and really, really well done, very relevant for the industry. I want to talk about a couple more things before we come back to I want to ask you a question around the customer advisory board. Let's talk next, and you mentioned earlier, that the key to much of this is simplicity. Okay. I think that there can be this tendency, particularly in a company, not only, but particularly in a company evolving away from products to maybe be too detailed, too verbose, and thinking that the more we explain upfront, the greater our chances of getting the attention of our customers.

Sarah Nicastro: If you could, maybe just talk a little bit about why the opposite of that is actually more effective. If you have an example of how to take a more complex offering and summarize it down to something very simple, but how you can leverage that simplicity to capture enough attention to talk about some of the details.

Jennifer Deutsch: I think simplification is so important, because for a number of reasons, people have shorter attention spans than ever. Space is limited the way that we're consuming messaging, whether it's a social media post, et cetera. You can't have a lot of words. Also, you need to work hard to find a few words that really communicate your message. When I first got to Park Place, one of the things that was very interesting to me is, is that our engineers have 15 years of OEM experience.

Jennifer Deutsch: Then we train them to be able to essentially fix all the different models that are out there, all the OEM product, et cetera. They can fix anything, but how do you say that in shorthand? We came up with a line, been there, fix that. That's the headline. You read that headline, you have confidence that Park Place, with 22,000 customers and 154 countries, probably has seen it before, knows how to fix it. The headline is arresting and it draws you into the body copy, so that you can then receive and read the proof points so that you know that the headline is true.

Jennifer Deutsch: If you don't have an arresting headline, you're not getting the reader to read the rest. I think that briefer is better. As I said earlier, Aristotle said, the real genius is taking the complex and making it simple. I have another example, and that is, is that the entire infrastructure scenario is very complex. I'm a marketer that came from the food industry and the hotel industry, really, into the tech space. I needed to make things easy for me to understand. When environments are really cluttered and they're complex, we have a product that simplifies things, what does that mean?

Jennifer Deutsch: We came up with the line, from chaos to order. We actually created an infographic that showed chaos, and then streamlined. That was the line that we use to introduce Entuity, network analytics. Because if you have the analytics, you can take your chaos and turn it into order.

Sarah Nicastro: One of the thoughts I just had, and certainly, I don't want to speak out of turn or paint the picture that we don't have any listeners that are doing a good job at marketing, I mean, you guys are doing a great job, which is why I asked you to come on. There are others as well, but I do think the point you just made about coming into this space having been marketing for food and beverage or hotels or different consumer things, it does make me want to pause and point out to our listeners that if you're really looking to innovate around the way that you're marketing, it may be worth looking to get some outside perspective.

Sarah Nicastro: I think there can be a real thing of being too close to what you've always done or too close to those details, and that need you had to simplify the messaging in a way that you could understand it coming from the outside in, I think, is what helps make it so catchy for all of your customers to understand it. If you think about the different personas within your customer base, of course, there are technical people that would understand all of this complex message. There's also business leaders, business owners that don't care about all of those specifics.

Sarah Nicastro: They want to know that they can come to Park Place for uptime. It's the synopsis of what matters to them. I think that what you just said just made me think about the fact that for some of our listeners that are struggling with marketing in a new or different way, the benefit of some outside perspective might be worth considering.

Jennifer Deutsch: Yeah. I was also in banking for a while and marketing is marketing. If you learn the industry and you put some filters and lenses on them, it works. The other thing that I will share with you is, is that if you can draw somebody in with a short, concise, easy to understand headline, et cetera, then you have the ability to explain more to them. I'll give you an example. When we debuted all about uptime, we did it at Gartner. We had a big booth. The banner up on top was all about uptime. People were streaming over to our booth. I said, "What drew you here?"

Jennifer Deutsch: They said the word uptime, because that's what drives us. It's not stumbling upon it because it really is research. There's a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to make things simple. It's much easier to describe a concept in 25 words than to describe it in five words.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. Talk a little bit about with the different messages you've developed for the different services you provide, for the company tagline, all of those things. Talk about how you AB test some different options to find what's going to resonate best.

Jennifer Deutsch: Long, long ago, you would AB test in controlled environments, and it was expensive. Today, with digital, it's very easy to AB test. You just simply run two campaigns and see which one tests better and then change your variables in real-time. That's what the digital environment has provided to us. You can analyze your data against very easy with digital. We've got some technology that we employ from Sigstr to Drift chatbot. We can change things immediately and see if there's lift. Because for us, at the end of the day, it's all about getting the lead. [inaudible 00:30:18] the lead, then we're winning and we have a very high conversion rate. AB testing today is easier and more cost effective than it's ever been because of the digital environment.

Sarah Nicastro: With all about uptime, what was an alternative that you tested out? I know I'm putting you on the spot.

Jennifer Deutsch: We actually have three campaigns. One of them was literally focused on the hardware, showing the hardware. When you develop an ad, when you develop creative, there are really two parts, there's the design and the graphic and then there are the words. Sometimes you can change them around to make things better, to make it more impactful because the site of the visual and also the words need to be impactful. The truth of the matter is, is that all about uptime was so overwhelmingly positive, that concepts two and three didn't make it.

Jennifer Deutsch: The other truth of the matter is, is that when you find other concepts that are actually strong, you keep them. Often, they swap out a tagline in four to five years, et cetera, or if it starts to get stale or if you get negative feedback. That hasn't been the case with us. If you do come across something that is very positive, it lasts a very long time. You're building equity in your tagline, in your logo for your brand. It all ladders up to be positive. Because in addition to driving leads, we were also, as marketers, very, very focused on driving brand awareness. If you don't have brand awareness, you're really challenged, and we’ve been able to drive Park Place brand awareness tremendously over the last three-and-a-half years.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. How long have you been at Park Place? You may have said at the beginning and I didn't catch if you did.

Jennifer Deutsch: I'm coming up on my fourth anniversary.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. I want to talk a little bit about your customer advisory board. Because I think if there's a general theme that I think is really important, in every answer you've given during our conversation so far, it's really that you need to be speaking the language of your customers. You have to know what that uptime term is to them. You need to be developing around what is going to draw them over to your booth and droves and make them line up to want to see what the heck you're talking about. Tell us a little bit about the customer advisory board.

Sarah Nicastro: You mentioned that you have it. I'm curious, what other functions within Park Place engage in that group? Do you have your own just for marketing? Is their involvement on the product side, et cetera? How frequently are you engaging with them? Because, again, not to make too many assumptions, but I think that that might be another missing connection point for some of the folks that are having challenges in this, is that while they may be gathering customer feedback in different ad hoc ways or not, I don't know that there's that sort of concerted effort to really dig deep, understand the challenges, understand their businesses enough to identify that language that's going to have the biggest impact.

Jennifer Deutsch: I am an insights-driven, customer driven marketer, because I am a focus group of one. My opinion is one individual. I must talk to customers and have a very, very deep understanding of what they face, what their environment is like, and what they need. That's the greatest inspiration for me, personally, as a marketer. Our customer advisory board is made up of, as I said, 36 customers who have varying titles from CIO to data center manager and everything in between. It's great, because we get a diversity of thoughts and opinions.

Jennifer Deutsch: From our side, from the Park Place Technology side, the chief revenue officer participates. The COO participates in it. Our CIO participates. Our CSO participates and Nicola participates. In fact, she drives quite a bit of it, as does the SVP of ParkView and Entuity. It's the senior leadership team, because we all need to be hearing the same thing from our customers. We might be hearing the same thing from our customers, but interpreting it differently, but also working on our end on how to improve the customer experience, how to evolve our roadmap, and then how to develop our messaging.

Jennifer Deutsch: I will tell you, and I hate to say this, but when we have our client advisory meetings, which is on a quarterly basis, our participants actually, I think, have the most fun with the marketing section, where they can be creative, they love it. They love when we ask them to evaluate creative. Separately, I send invitations out to our cab members to participate in focus groups, where we'll be chatting about anything from what are your plans for the edge to, can you take a look at these wireframes from our new website.

Jennifer Deutsch: Just want to understand whether the organization is right and intuitive to you. We have a huge cross section from Park Place participating. We meet on a quarterly basis, but I do reach out probably once a quarter for focus groups. We have limited times, and by the way, our cab is global. We have people from the UK, from Ireland. We have our first member from Singapore who's going to be joining us in June. All the cab meetings have been in-person until the pandemic. Now, they've been virtual for the last year.

Sarah Nicastro: I assume you're looking forward to getting back to in-person.

Jennifer Deutsch: I am. In fact, we have the next cab meeting June 24th. I had a couple of cab members tell me that they've been fully vaccinated. They're hoping that they can come to Cleveland, to Park Place, to have the cab session in-person, optional in-person or virtual.

Sarah Nicastro: That's great. I think this is another super important point. I mean, the things that you're talking about, how do you take the complex and make it simple, how do you create a tagline that resonate, to your point throughout your answers, it all starts with understanding the voice, the language, the needs of your customers. I think that having that regular communication, having that open dialogue is critical, and perhaps something that other folks aren't doing enough of. I have to just guess that the First-Time Fix concept came from customers, right? I mean ...

Jennifer Deutsch: Actually, it didn't.

Sarah Nicastro: No?

Jennifer Deutsch: No. I'll tell you the evolution. Claim generation is an art. I learned claim generation when I was working in the health and wellness sector, specifically for hospital systems. Because if you can make a claim about a condition, so if you can cure someone and you can claim it that your cure rate is higher, you win. If you say that you're curing cancer every day, which was the line that we came up with for university hospitals in Cleveland, people are coming to you because you say you're curing cancer, but you have to be able to justify the claim.

Jennifer Deutsch: When I first got to Park Place, I wanted to do some claim testing. We did ask customers, if we could make a claim, what type of claim would you want? We generated claims internally, and then presented all of those claims, let's say about 15 of them, and the claim that bubbled up to the top was that we could fix it the first time and guarantee it. It was so strong, that when we spoke to customers who were not our customers, but they were prospects, they said that if we could make the First-Time Fix Guarantee, if we could support it, they would switch to Park Place.

Jennifer Deutsch: It then became a switcher strategy. Again, we had to be able to deliver it. When I was at Renaissance Hotels, we made an offer to guests that we could deliver fresh hot coffee with their wake up call. That's before people were using their cell phone alarm. Obviously, dating myself, but even if you have a cell phone, I think people still ask for a wakeup call. To have the wakeup call timed to, I answer the phone, it's 7:30 in the morning, thank you for calling me. You get up.

Jennifer Deutsch: You walk outside your door and there is a fresh pot of coffee just the way you want it with all of your condiments, et cetera, is pretty amazing. Okay. Now that's marketing and operations connected at the hip. You make the claim, you'll have coffee, at the very same time that you have your wakeup call, and it's going to be hot, and it's going to be perfect. We had to make sure that we could deliver. We had to make sure at Park Place that we could deliver the First-Time Fix Guarantee, that we're fixing it first the very first time.

Jennifer Deutsch: What if you got your wakeup call, you went outside and your coffee was cold? That's useless. You want hot coffee when you first wake up. You want it not only to be hot, but you want it to taste good. That was a real operational challenge. That's why in my lifetime as a marketer, I have literally always been connected to operations very, very closely, and also if we say that we can do it, we must be able to deliver. It is a promise. If you can't deliver on the promise, you've let your customers down.

Sarah Nicastro: You just gave me a really good idea for another podcast we could do together, which is talking about the alignment and the sync between marketing and operations. It's a very good point. If you start making these claims and then don't make good on them, you go from improving your brand awareness to ruining your brand perception pretty quickly. That's a really good point. Okay. I know we're running out of time. Two more questions for you, Jennifer. The first is, what would you say are the biggest lessons you've learned in marketing Park Place Technology services?

Jennifer Deutsch: I think that the first thing that I really synthesized and crystallized, for me, was really the value of customer service and to be the best in the category and that you need to keep innovating. Because I have to tell you something, we run so fast and we run so hard to come up with innovative thoughts and ideas. Our competitors sit back, watch, and then they emulate. I can tell you that we have the tools to see who was sitting on our website. Literally, seven minutes after we launched the First-Time Fix Guarantee, we had 15 people from our key competitors sitting on our website evaluating the claim.

Jennifer Deutsch: We see competitors sitting on our site. We know that they're going to spend the next six months probably coming up with something to attack us on the First-Time Fix. We've got to be thinking ahead. The customer experience is paramount. The other thing which is not only learning from Park Place, but it's a sign of the times, really, is the impact of video content, the reach of video content and quite frankly, supporting it with a little bit of social goes a long way, the number of views, et cetera, so serving up your video content to the right people hopefully at the right time goes a long way.

Jennifer Deutsch: Here's something else, about two years ago, I read an article that said that by 2025, marketing teams will be sitting besides AI, next to artificial intelligence. I remember reading the article and telling my team that we're ahead of the game. Because three years ago, we adopted AI through our chatbot who we named Parker, we personified him, we've turned him into not only a character, but a trademarked visual identity. We are working beside AI. I can tell you that Parker has a revenue stream. He converts people online. We are sitting beside AI.

Jennifer Deutsch: I consider Parker our Drift bot, which is about $1200 a month to be part of a team. We are so pushing our Drift bot that we're on the advisory board for the organization, basically, for Drift. Because we are pushing it and pushing it so they can do more. To summarize, I know it's a long-winded answer, the three biggest lessons, the value of customer service, the impact of video content, and quite frankly, boosting it, and then also the impact of working alongside artificial intelligence.

Sarah Nicastro: I love that, and Parker is another brand activator, right?

Jennifer Deutsch: Parker is another brand activator.

Sarah Nicastro: I love it. Good, good. Alright. Last question, Jennifer, for today is, as a marketer and just as a leader, what are your favorite resources for marketing knowledge, inspiration? How do you keep feeding your own continual education and keep your innovative hat on?

Jennifer Deutsch: I'll break that into two parts, one is knowledge and the other is inspiration. From a knowledge perspective, I read the Wall Street Journal, and I read it because it comes as a business perspective that I spin in my brain into marketing. How can I take this knowledge? What does it mean for me, my business, our brand, and our category? I read the Wall Street Journal and I find it too ... I think it's inspirational, but it's also stimulating. It really makes me think. The other ...

Sarah Nicastro: Do you read paper or online?

Jennifer Deutsch: I read paper. I have it delivered to my house every day.

Sarah Nicastro: I like it.

Jennifer Deutsch: Yeah. I also think that analyst relations is extremely important. I can't read everything. I can't know everything. Having a conversation with an analyst is extremely important. I'll say there are some analysts who can break it down and speak to me as a marketer, and vice versa. We have a relationship with a fellow by the name of Roy Illsley, who is from Omdia. He is the fifth most influential analyst in the tech space. Talking to him is like taking a rocket ship into the future. He explains things so simplistically that I feel that I'm really ahead of the curve.

Jennifer Deutsch: The guy who reads all the technical papers, talks to all the technologists, and he synthesizes it, and conserve it up to me in a way that makes it very easy to digest. Then that helps me to understand where we should be taking our roadmap, how we, in marketing, should be creating content and how we should be talking to our customers. From an inspirational perspective, I get inspiration from my team. For the size of our business, I have a fairly small team, I've got 11 people on my team, and I am the oldest on my team.

Jennifer Deutsch: We have people that range in age from, I'll say, 23 to 58, on the team. From the young talent and the diversity, I learned an awful lot. A 25-year-old looks at social very differently than I look at social. I've got a 25-year-old who runs our social program, and I've got a content guy who used to write for Rolling Stone. I also have a guy on my team who was an agency veteran for 20 years, who was never in the tech space. He writes copy for us beautifully. The team inspires me.

Jennifer Deutsch: Again, I think that the diversity in age, interests, et cetera, really helps us to be a very well rounded team. The other thing that I do for my team, which I actually think is really helpful and beneficial, is we have a ... First of all, we meet every day. Now, during the pandemic, its cameras on mandatory. Everybody has to be in the daily meeting with the camera on. Once a week, we do a deep dive into technology, into our own technology. Because if we don't understand the technology, we can't write about it. We can't speak eloquently about it. We can't explain it.

Jennifer Deutsch: We can't develop pitches. We also work with HR. If HR can't have a recruiting script that clearly communicates, we're not going to have the right people on our team. Again, another long-winded answer, but I'm inspired by my team and by folks within the organization.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that's really cool. Jennifer, thank you so much. I really, really appreciate you coming and sharing openly and giving such great examples and food for thought. I would say to our listeners, I approached Nicola who, who's been on the podcast before to connect me with Jennifer. Because just through watching what you guys are doing on LinkedIn and the different messaging that you're creating, I was impressed. I think that you probably don't need any more companies coming and sitting on your website looking for inspiration, but I would actually urge everyone that listens to this to do just that.

Sarah Nicastro: Follow Park Place on social and check out what they're doing, because it really is good. It's something that I think a lot of folks could learn from. Good for you for setting the bar and doing such a great job. Thank you very much for coming and sharing. I'd love to have you back sometime.

Jennifer Deutsch: Well, thank you. It's been a pleasure chatting with you. If any of your listeners would like to have a conversation, I'm very open to it. I would love for you to check out our website. I would also love for you to be our customer and join our client advisory board. Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.

Sarah Nicastro: Thank you, Jennifer. You can check out more of our content by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn, as well as Twitter at the future of FS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more about IFS service management by visiting www.ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.

March 29, 2021 | 5 Mins Read

Inside the CMO’s Mind: 4 “Musts” for Impactful Service Marketing

March 29, 2021 | 5 Mins Read

Inside the CMO’s Mind: 4 “Musts” for Impactful Service Marketing

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I believe the vast majority of our audience – that’s you! – understand that services are a strong path to differentiation and growth for their businesses. I’d even go so far as to say that many have refined or created services that create value for their customers – examples like moving from reactive to predictive models or introducing net new services that help enable customer outcomes. Where I think many still struggle, however, is in articulating their value proposition in a way that resonates and marketing their services in a manner that drives success.

Lucky for you all, we have an excellent podcast episode coming this week with Jennifer Deutsch, Chief Marketing Officer at Park Place Technologies. Park Place is the world's largest third-party maintenance provider for data centers who, through 16 acquisitions, has expanded beyond TPM into the software business with an entire portfolio of products that includes network analytics, hardware monitoring, and more. Prior to her role at Park Place, Jennifer has marketing experience with brands like Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, Nestle, and many more.

In this week’s podcast, Jennifer gives some excellent examples and illustrations around what impactful service marketing looks like. I won’t give it all away – you’ll have to tune in – but I do want to recap some of the major points. So, here are Jennifer’s top four “musts” when it comes to seeing success with your service marketing.

Must #1: Innovate with an Eye Toward Operational Realities

Jennifer is clear that innovation is a key ingredient of marketing. “We lead through innovation. As an organization and also a marketing department, we are fearless in our innovation,” she says. “It’s through this innovation that we've been able to change the dynamics of our brand, our products, but also the category. We recently introduced we introduced our First-Time Fix Guarantee. We are really putting our money where our mouth is that the first time, we are going to fix it. If we don't fix it, there’s a penalty for us – we’re going to service that piece of equipment for a month. That was such an innovation for the category.”

The caution here, though, is that as you’re innovating your marketing you must be sure that innovation is grounded in operational realities. Making the claim is bold, and it gets attention, but you have to be able to back it up with results. “Claim generation is an art. It took three years for us to be able to offer the First-Time Fix Guarantee and know we could deliver,” explains Jennifer. “When I was at Renaissance Hotels, we made an offer to guests that we could deliver fresh hot coffee with their wake-up call. You walk outside your door and there is a fresh pot of coffee, just the way you want it, which is pretty amazing. That's marketing and operations connected at the hip. You make the claim, you'll have coffee, at the very same time that you have your wakeup call, and it's going to be hot, and it's going to be perfect. We had to make sure that we could deliver. We had to make sure at Park Place that we could deliver the First-Time Fix Guarantee, that we're fixing it first the very first time.”

Must #2: Remember that Simplicity is King

It is easier to be verbose that it is to streamline, but when it comes to impactful marketing you must work to simplify. “As Aristotle said, ‘The real genius is simplicity,’ says Jennifer. “You must clearly communicate features and benefits simply. When you look at our tagline, ‘All about uptime,’ it's a very simple tagline. It uses one of the most impactful important words in our category: uptime. It's important that it's easy to understand, the messaging is simple, and that immediately, customers understand what it is that you're launching.”

The goal here is to create a simple hook that gets your audience to want to learn more, then you can deliver the details. “Simplification is so important because people have shorter attention spans than ever. Space is limited the way that we're consuming messaging, whether it's a social media post, et cetera. You need to work hard to find a few words that really communicate your message,” explains Jennifer. “If you don't have an arresting headline, you're not getting the reader to read the rest. I think that briefer is better.”

You’ll have the details when you need to provide them to someone that is interested in what you have to offer – but what you lead with needs to be simple. It also needs to be in the terminology of what your customers care more about. Note the difference between Park Place’s “All about uptime” versus “IoT-enabled predictive maintenance” – Park Place’s tagline is impactful because it speaks to how the company helps alleviate customer pain points.

Must #3: Get a Fresh Perspective

Innovation always benefits from diversity of thought and getting input on marketing messages is a valuable way to refine and polish your ideas. “I am an insights-driven, customer-driven marketer, because I am a focus group of one. My opinion is one individual. I must talk to customers and have a very, very deep understanding of what they face, what their environment is like, and what they need. That's the greatest inspiration for me, personally, as a marketer,” says Jennifer.

Park Place regularly obtains insights from its customers for marketing and many other purposes through its Customer Advisory Board. “Our customer advisory board is made up of 36 customers who have varying titles from CIO to data center manager and everything in between. It's great because we get a diversity of thoughts and opinions,” explains Jennifer. “Our entire senior leadership team participates, because we all need to be hearing the same thing from our customers to work on our end on how to improve the customer experience, how to evolve our roadmap, and then how to develop our messaging.”

I was also struck during my conversation with Jennifer by how valuable her own fresh perspective is to Park Place. She has had experience marketing for a variety of industries and brands, and I think her outside-in views have helped the company to excel in developing its simple, customer-centric messaging that is proving highly impactful. This is something to consider in terms of consulting with experts outside of your industry when developing your messaging, whether that’s a full-time hire or leveraging some agency expertise to get that fresh perspective.

Must #4: When in Doubt, Test it Out

Our final “must” is to know how simple and affordable it is to test messaging in today’s digital world to ensure you are landing on something that will achieve the results you desire. “Long ago, you would AB test in controlled environments, and it was expensive,” explains Jennifer. “Today, with digital, it's very easy to AB test. You just simply run two campaigns and see which one tests better and then change your variables in real-time; you can analyze your data very easy with digital. AB testing today is easier and more cost effective than it's ever been because of the digital environment.”

These four points are just the beginning of the excellent insights Jennifer provides during this podcast episode. Be sure to check out the full-length interview to learn more.

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March 26, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Gamifying Service

March 26, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Gamifying Service

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By Tom Paquin

Anyone who’s read more than a passing article from me knows that I am a gaming enthusiast. Whether it’s Baseball, computer Solitaire, Dungeons and Dragons, Jeopardy, or Super Mario, give me something with a score, and objective, and a repeatable loop of actions and behaviors, and I’m in the zone. Even if I am terrible at it, I’m having a really nice time.

I know that I am not alone in my pro-games predelictions (partially because they are so vaguely defined in this article), as the concept of games and gaming have seeped heavily into the world of organizational behavior for businesses.

For the uninitiated, let’s ask the obvious question: What is gamification? We’ll define gamification as the act of building a system of scoring, objectives, and rewards (not punishment…games are supposed to be fun) behind performance in some sort of measurable way.

I recall, for instance, working at a big-box retailer, where speed was the #1 priority. Each transaction was ranked, and your cumulative score was presented as one of three colors—Green for excellent, yellow for average, and red for poor. While it was perhaps a bit reductive a benchmark by the standards of a post-Amazon world, it certainly kept lines moving quickly.

This has permeated across businesses of all disciplines and is far from a new concept in service. There have been benchmarks, KPI scoreboards, team goals, and good old-fashioned performance metrics for decades, all of which have been influenced by and benefitted from increasingly complex technology. Digital performance lobbies are industry standard today. Gamification has landed, but the key is figuring out how to take these measurements and benchmarks and coordinating them in a way that’s more valuable than numbers on a screen. While numbers alone might be enough of a motivator for someone like me, who needs to collect all 900 seeds in a Zelda game, it can be useful (and instructive!) to contextualize those numbers as having a specific benefit for your service teams. With that in mind, here’s an example of how to make gamification work for service:

Aligning Objectives with Dealer Networks

As I mentioned last week, manufacturers are moving at an accelerated pace towards a fully circular model of development. While manufacturers are incentivized to do this for their bottom-line, if manufacturers do not manage their own service, their service deliverers—through dealer networks, or perhaps just people certified to repair specific equipment—don’t necessarily care if widget #4 is returned to the supply chain. Gamification could be a way to strengthen relationships with these dealer networks, and by measuring reverse logistics and remittance of parts, and establishing rewards for something like value of parts returned to manufacturer (or something that works better for you—I’m throwing out a completely arbitrary example here) could improve a manufacturer’s bottom-line and keep materials in the circular workflow for remanufacturing.

As always, a certain technology infrastructure needs to be in place for this to work. You’ll need to have a reverse logistics system that extends beyond the borders of your own organization, and you’ll need to have at least superficial data about how your partners perform service. A tall order, for sure, but in the name of a more servitized economy, doing some legwork on the technology side now will help you capitalize on this today and se you up for tomorrow.

This is obviously one somewhat specific example, but there are of course hundreds of different ways to turn the data wells available to you into scoreboards that inspire and motive your service workers.

Have you used gamification in a particularly interesting way for your business? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line and let’s talk!

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March 24, 2021 | 31 Mins Read

Panasonic Sets its Sights on Service‬

March 24, 2021 | 31 Mins Read

Panasonic Sets its Sights on Service‬

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Karl Lowe, Head of Panasonic European Service at Panasonic Heating & Cooling Solutions Europe, joins to talk with Sarah about the company’s strategic objectives around service, incorporation of remote assistance, and customer focus.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast, I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we're going to be talking about how Panasonic has set its sights on service. I'm excited to welcome today to the podcast Karl Lowe, Head of Panasonic European Service at Panasonic Heating and Cooling Solutions Europe. Karl, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Karl Lowe: Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: Some of you may have had seen we did an article with Panasonic on Future Field Service in 2020 and talked a bit about the then new role that Karl was taking on with the company and some of the things that, that he had planned. So today we're going to dig into that a little bit further and talk about some of the lessons learned and evolution of that strategy and what Karl is working on. So Karl, before we dig in to the conversation, why don't you tell our listeners a bit about yourself and your role with Panasonic?

Karl Lowe: Yeah. So as you said, my name is Karl Lowe I'm Head of Service for a Europeans Panasonic organization which is known as Pappy Heating and Cooling division. And I joined Panasonic actually a year ago in two weeks from now, so nearly a year. But my history within service is it goes back around 24 years. So I've been in the HPAC, the organization for that time started as an apprentice and had done various different roles as an engineer, project manager, service sales, and so on and so forth.

Karl Lowe: And now I've in the last 10 years, spent my time really developing service organizations for OEMs in Europe. So actually this is the first time I've worked for an organization outside of Europe and so it's different. But fundamentally the core elements of what I do in service are the same no matter what the company.

Sarah Nicastro: Good. And you were brought on to Panasonic's specifically to really evolving the company's strategy and mission around service. So tell us a little bit about what Panasonic sees in terms of the service opportunity and kind of evolving the organization and in its service mindset, its service offerings, et cetera.

Karl Lowe: Yeah. So I think Panasonic is no different than many organizations I've worked for within the HPAC industry and that they're very product centric, but that is changing. I think fundamentally companies are now starting to realize that the product is of course massively important, but actually more customers are focusing on the solution and satisfaction in general. And Panasonic has recognized that, hence why I've joined the company is to help try and provide first of all a better solution all round to the products that we provide.

Karl Lowe: That may be things such as including switching based contracts, obviously the consumer sort of monitorize our service offerings as well but also providing a better end-to-end customer experience. What we're aiming to do within a service is to become a differentiator between our competitors and what we can offer within the service and that may be around, as I said, subscription based service contracts, maybe trying to offer generally better support around the products that we sell. But it's moving away from simply being a solely product manufacturer to kind of a solution driven organization.

Sarah Nicastro: It makes sense. It's so interesting to me to hear anyone that I interview summarize it so simply, but knowing the complexity that's really underneath that evolution, right. I mean, you think of how in many manufacturing organizations service has just historically been a bolt-on and an afterthought, a cost center and that shift to thinking about how it can be a strategic differentiator.

Sarah Nicastro: How it can set you apart from your competition, how it can be a huge brand impact is a really big change. So, when you joined the company the first thing you did was conducted a maturity assessment to sort of get a lay of the land and really to understand where you needed to start from. So I think it's interesting for you to share a bit about what you looked at and, and how you did that, because I think an important starting point for anyone new to a company or not to really begin this journey from. So tell us about how you did that.

Karl Lowe: Yeah, so that was quite actually an interesting project for when I joined the business is, was to really understand where the lay of the land was. So I think I said to you before Sarah, is that we tend to operate as a siloed approach within Panasonic. And that's simply because what we call NSCs, National Sales Companies have been kind of independent sales organizations.

Karl Lowe: So, they've been reasonably autonomous but obviously within service, what we're trying to offer is a sort of a little bit more of a top-down approach adding some governance and structures to what we do. Because what we're aiming for is a consistent customer journey. So a little bit like going into a, sort of a Mercedes, BMW garage, something like that, it doesn't really matter where you enter what country, you'll probably get the similar kind of service and that's really what we're trying to aim for.

Karl Lowe: At the moment different just because every organization that we have in Europe within Panasonic Heating and Cooling is a fundamentally a standalone organization. So it was important for me to really understand the maturity of each organization so that we could effectively see where our strengths and weaknesses were. So we conducted a maturity survey we asked each of the countries including the country manager and the service manager and their associated teams to really ask these questions to provide an understanding of where they are now, from there we asked them to put in a target of where they would like to be in the future so a year from now and then what they would need for that to happen. So the emphasis is not purely just on them it's also on me as the service tied on the organization to perhaps provide certain resources for them to mature their organization.

Karl Lowe: So we've done that now we've conducted that survey and we assess all of the targets. And the idea is that each NSC should create or should complete survey about 40% of those. And if they do, we will see the maturity of the business increase, but also there's a correlation between the maturity and the I suppose the service sales [inaudible 00:07:08] a business. If we mature the business, we should see that their profit should also increase as well. We should also see things like customer satisfaction improve. So there's a lot of benefits. It's not just about effectively moving and shifting to the right, because it's a number that we want to increase by. There's a correlation between that benefit in other parts of the business and service in general so...

Sarah Nicastro: So when you conducted that assessment what were you asking on the survey? And by that, I don't mean necessarily every individual question, but were you looking at... I'm curious what all categories you looked at. Are you looking at mindset? You're obviously looking at status, like actual numbers and factual data. Are you looking at mindset? Are you looking at processes? Are you looking at technologies and use? Like, what was the gist of the view you were trying to gain by doing that research?

Karl Lowe: Yeah, so we broke it down into kind of three topics. And really what we were looking for is, I suppose the first part was the collaboration. Did we see strong collaboration between the traditional product sales teams and the service teams. In my experience, you don't always get that. I think sometimes the product sales team will work completely autonomous from the service team and vice versa. And I've seen the good and the bad from that as well. I've seen it when you have very high collaboration, that actually it benefits the business and the customer as well.

Karl Lowe: So I was really keen to see actually, how was the collaboration, was it bad? Was it good? And actually generally that seemed to be pretty strong within Panasonic, which was good to see. But really what we were offering fundamentally is warranty support. So we were on the first run really of the service stylization model with generally around full product support. There was nothing more that was fundamentally added other than that.

Karl Lowe: A few countries offered service contracts, but not a great deal more. So I really wanted to see how the collaboration was. We also asked questions that were related to service sales. To did we proactively drive sales through spans, through upgrades, through service contracts. And we also asked a little bit about sort of the operational sides of the business. Did they have a CRM, did they track KPIs, that sort of thing. So we had a rounded kind of a survey. Only 18 questions, but it really kind of tried to target each point fairly quickly. So we could then kind of understand where we sat. We took that data we then we're able to put that onto I suppose an overview, a bird's eye view where all of the countries sat within the maturity organization.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. That makes sense. So, you said one of the overarching goals is to create more cohesiveness and improve the customer experience. Now, in a situation where you're only directly providing that service that is challenging enough. But in a situation where you have these NSCs even more so, because as you said, they're accustomed to operate in quite independently. So how are you handling that challenge? How are you navigating the need to take a little bit more control, provide more governance, but still allow them to feel as though they have some autonomy?

Karl Lowe: Well, I think what we found from doing the survey was that we had 10 points between the lowest maturing organization and the highest mature organization. Actually, in reality, that's quite a big difference and that's a difference between an organization making zero service sales, making around 3 million U.S service sales per year. It's a difference between a team of three and a team of say 16.

Karl Lowe: So there's a lot of complexity with the maturity, the higher you go up as well. And what we found was that the best thing for us as part of our service strategy was to really focus on the operational side of the business to begin with. So that was very clear to us because we had a lot of different systems and processes simply because each organization worked independently. And we wanted to create that, as I said, that sort of governance structure to be able to support the NSC with kind of best in practice.

Karl Lowe: So a single CRM, rather than many different versions of CRMs. The IFS solution, which is now the C rolled out and so on and so forth. Adding sort of structure around the P&L reporting. We have many different ways of effects would be called in labor. And that's because it was reported within our ERP system with different codes. So it was impossible to see how many service contracts that we solved this year, because quite frankly each country just reported the code in a different way.

Karl Lowe: So they're the sort of the things that we've tried to focus on first to really help the NSCs to first of all kind of work and report in the same way. It would be very easy of us to say, "Okay, we're going to really focus on driving service sales and service salespeople into the organizations." But frankly that just wouldn't have worked because the support function, the operational function just wasn't there to begin with.

Karl Lowe: So we're on that kind of roadmap first of all, operations, then it's kind of the monitorization of service sales of support that's going to be coming in sort of the phase two parts of the strategy. And then it's kind of phase three continuous improvement and taking that to the next step.

Sarah Nicastro: How has this mission been received? How are the NSCs reacting to the change and to what you're looking to accomplish?

Karl Lowe: I think generally and actually it's an interesting time for us because we've just gone through employee survey time. So generally I think it's been positive. It would be wrong to say that everybody's happy because I think that's just impossible. But I think generally we need to do a better job of communicating a strategy at the lower level. That's where we we've perhaps not been a particularly great at making sure that that message is filtering and cascading down. There's a few reasons for that, we're working on a service development program to train, not just from a physical training on products, but also development of our managers, our leaders, and that takes time to kind of implement and then cascade down to kind of the next level and so on and so forth.

Karl Lowe: So we are trying to create a little bit of a movement and I hope the next time round we'll have a better connect between what we're trying to do at strategic level and how that works as maybe an engineer in the field and how they link to that as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Karl Lowe: So I think also as well in the current time that we're in, that's been difficult because we're not able to able to travel, we're not able to go on meetings physically and that's what I personally love to do is to go out and see organizations and ask the questions, get the kind of feel on the ground as it may be. It's difficult doing that kind of in a Teams meeting, you don't get that same kind of touch and feel that you perhaps would in person.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. And even being able to pick up on... I just think it's different being in a room with people you can kind of read people's body language and engagement, and you can kind of tell if someone's maybe has a concern and isn't speaking up and it gives you an opportunity to dig in or speak with them one-on-one. It's far easier to miss those things when you're doing all of that communication virtually there is a big difference for sure.

Karl Lowe: Yeah, I agree. And I think that fundamentally sort of going back to your original question, I think that there is still work for us to do. Fundamentally we're a technical organization at the moment. We've got a lot of technical people and me talking about service sales or attachment ratio, it's very foreign at the moment for us. So, I think we have to be kind of careful in how we approach this. It's not to go too fast, too quickly. It's to be kind of in a steady and stable in our approach and making sure that, first of all, I think our organization feel supported. We're here to help. We want to kind of give them the tools and resources to do a good job.

Karl Lowe: And I think the monitorization and the service sound's elements of what we're trying to do by adding a value to service will come in time. I don't want to run that down their freight we must make money from service that's the wrong approach to happen and I think we would fail if we took that approach. So it's support first and then a slow gradual kind of movement towards servitization and selling services as a solution, rather than in almost a kind of freebie that we give for free just to support the product. So that helps the business as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I mean, it's undoubtedly the right approach. We talk a lot about building a strong foundation and you can talk about that from a technology perspective, but you can also talk about that from a cultural and change management perspective and I always say, you don't just... In this situation particularly when you're talking about frontline workers you can't just force compliance.

Sarah Nicastro: Compliance will not give you the customer experience you're wanting to achieve, you really need buy-in, and it takes time in a company that has a legacy that has a history that has a certain way of doing things. It takes time to create that buy-in, but I wholeheartedly believe that doing that on the front end before you try and build on it will be far more successful than trying to rush through it.

Karl Lowe: I agree. I think fundamentally as well, I think it's like trying to create some movement. It's trying to create a culture. And as you said, that takes a little bit of time. We're trying to kind of make sure that the, certainly the service managers are in a position where they can do less of the doing the more of the being. Take them out and have a helicopter view so they can see their organizations. At the moment we're very much kind of reactive on a day-to-day basis. And that's just purely because we are kind of a technical team and we deal when we act in that way. I think services is a bit of both. You have to be both proactive and reactive. It's a dynamic organization for sure. And as a dynamic industry. Sorry. So I think we need to make sure that we can respond accordingly.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. There's a lot of psychology in it really and it is really interesting but it's multilayered and a lot of hard work. The other thing I was going to say, I don't want to get us too off track, but this point has been coming up a lot in my recent conversations. So I wrote quite a bit last year, and even in my predictions article looking at 2021 about how there's this greater openness to change as a result of COVID. Right. So we've seen companies that have just by force or just in terms of recognition have realized, "Okay, we need to do some things differently. We could use this new technology or we could change and do things this way."

Sarah Nicastro: And there kind of been this increased acceptance of evolution and agility and the need to become creative, et cetera. And I do believe that, that's true and I think that's still true and I think it will continue to be true. But what I've been thinking a little bit more about this year is while that, that openness to change at the organizational level is true. There is a weariness when you really get into employees. Like there's a personal weariness that I think exists this far into the situation we're all in.

Sarah Nicastro: It's been quite a while since we've all experienced "Normal life" and so I think that when you think about what people are going through, all of us as human beings personally, and then you think about coming to work and having it be change, change, change, change, it is lot. And so I think the other thing is while there's this maybe increase in awareness at the organizational level for how we need to evolve we need to be very cognizant of the fact that the employees we have are humans and they're going through a lot as human beings and we can't lay too much on at once. We need to just be conscious of that weariness, I think at the individual level. Does that make sense?

Karl Lowe: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sarah Nicastro: It's just something that's been on my mind a lot lately. Anyway very typical for me to divert. So, let's go back to.... I wanted to talk quickly about one of the first, I guess things that you did from, I don't know that it was one of the first things, but one of the things that I'm aware of that you've done from the operational level is introduced remote assistance.

Karl Lowe: You're right.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. And so talk a little bit about the role that remote assistance plays in really trying to drive that unification, and create more consistency. And then we'll talk a little bit about how we see the use of that technology evolving.

Karl Lowe: So, I think I said before we implemented around the start of kind of COVID period, actually, so when it first started to become a quiet prevalence in around the world, it was actually coincidentally, but it just seemed to happen at that point. And we introduced this into two countries as child pilots so effectively UK and Germany. We've gone those consecutively for a period of a month and then we decided to roll it out across the rest of the organization. I think actually it was interesting to begin with because to me seeing the technology, it seems like a little bit of a no-brainer, but I think seeing the engineer's feedback initially it was mixed, I would say to be fair. And I think sometimes we all have different filters in front of our faces.

Karl Lowe: And I think sometimes the message coming through is not always the same. So I think in some cases, engineers were like, "This is pretty cool. This is really going to help." Could see kind of what we were looking to do. I think our engineers were, "This is going to change the way I work. And what this means is you don't want me to travel anymore and you don't want me to go out and see customers, and you don't want me to do site visits."

Karl Lowe: Actually, that wasn't the case. What we always saw this as was effectively a tool in the toolbox. We also saw that there was a lot of inefficiencies around when we dispatch an engineer. We would sometimes maybe go to site and then realized it was not actually not a product issue, it was an installation error or something that was not related to warranty.

Karl Lowe: And that was quite common actually. And that's nobody's fault it was just the case that maybe there was a wire installed the wrong way rounds. And that was kind of for us, a good trigger points to say, "Okay, we can help the customer quicker. We can reduce inefficiencies and reduce costs by using the lights as technology."

Karl Lowe: And that for us is where we've kind of now each month gone from strength to strength. So we saw very little uptake on the data for the first few months. The UK team too adopted it pretty quickly. And actually for many months they were kind of the highest usage across the whole of Europe. So what we decided to do then was to create a monthly kind of score report, not to kind of name and change, but effectively just to let everybody know the systems here. Actually the UK are ahead of everybody to kind of create a little bit of competition.

Karl Lowe: And we send that to everybody in the organization, including our MD actually, he gets a copy of that. And it was interesting to see afterwards that we started to see a little bit of kind of internal competition come in. The Germans started to kind of climb up and that's, you're able to tip the Brits. And actually now we see the Italians coming in and they're overtaken. So it's quite interesting to see now that each month the usage is going higher and higher and higher. So it's been used as we wanted we're starting to see teams network together which is great because it's not a chairman because of the siloed approach before we may have a technical expert in Germany that has the answer that maybe the UK guy doesn't, and now we can bring in that expert. So we've linked teams together, which is obviously a real benefit.

Karl Lowe: So we see it going from strength to strength actually. So it's been nice to get to this point nearly a year on, and to have it integrated into all of the NSCs and to see a lot of the countries now using it as a daily tool.

Sarah Nicastro: So if you had to kind of summarize the you know, the wins or the value you've realized so far, and then sort of how you see the use of the technology evolving how would you summarize that?

Karl Lowe: I would see it not as a quick win. I think it's something that you, I suppose, depending on your size of organization, we've got quite a large service organization here of maybe sort of around 60 to 70 people. So actually it takes time when you're working at organizations of that size and bigger. We didn't force it as something that this must happen. We sort of placed it there and then we just monitored and saw that because I think fundamentally engineers, and I can say this because I've been one myself, they're an unusual breed sometimes. And I think that because they can be remote and they can be in the field and they're disconnected from what's happening within the office or that are more strategic level, they don't always see kind of what the good intention is.

Karl Lowe: So it may be that they worry about something that is not the case. And that certainly was something we experienced in some of the NSCs that they were perhaps a little bit worried about what we've been trying to do with the technology. I think now that seems to have subsided and we've seen that as I said, that the uptake is increasing month by month, so we're quite excited about it. So my advice, I think for anyone implemented would be to look at this as something that maybe will take a few months to get to kind of where you wanted to be. It wouldn't be something that I think you could drive instantly.

Sarah Nicastro: Well, and again, that comes back to compliance versus buy-in. Maybe if you wanted to force it, you could, but you don't want to do so where there's more of a resistance. You want people to actually see the value in using it. Think it is a good idea, though, what you said about the visibility into use and kind of making it a little bit of a game or a competition and just getting people excited about competing with one another a little bit.

Karl Lowe: Yeah. That's right and actually it was interesting as well, because we saw examples where we would have a guy on the phone for three hours trying to explain the technical issue and then actually just pointing, but why were you on the phone for three hours?

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Karl Lowe: We had a very similar scenario where we were able to show a free hour call versus a 10 minute remote assistance call. And the difference it was the same problem and the solution was the same, but actually it took two hours and 50 minutes quicker than the phone call in that way, a picture paints a thousand words. So there's very good examples of that. And I think if you keep pushing that message, eventually it tends to kind of come into the play and say, "Okay, I get that message now. Yeah. Okay the tool."

Sarah Nicastro: Well, and there's kind of that certain element of, I think of it in relation to parenting right, where you can say something 300 times, but sometimes it takes them doing it themselves to learn the lesson. Right. So, you obviously have to keep saying it, you have to keep showing it, but sometimes it's that first use of that technician being like, "Oh my gosh, that took 10 minutes and then it's like, I'm sold now this is a great tool." Right. So, you have to look at both sides of that.

Sarah Nicastro: So you're using it for, I don't want to speak for you, but let me just recap a couple of the points that I'm assuming. You're using it to have remote resolution of things that really didn't warrant an onsite visit and in certain instances, right. So like you said, if it was just something quick and easy where you would have had a trip onsite before, if you're able to see it, then you may be able to just do remote resolution. Is that accurate?

Karl Lowe: Yeah. I mean, if fundamentally in the time that we're in at the moment, health and safety is paramount to us to what we've asked for is effectively, if it's not a hundred percent necessary. Don't ever send an engineer use IFS to begin with anyway. Just purely from a health and safety point of view, obviously that's really important to us. Beyond that normal times, we would be sort of looking for the use to be used where we've got, say a warranty claim and very often if it's a warranty claim, no problem at all, it's our responsibility we'll sort that.

Karl Lowe: But we do see from time to time where it's not a warranty claim, it's an installation problem, or it's something has happened that's not actually a Panasonic issue. It's very difficult for us as a manufacturer to be able to say, "Well, I'm sorry, we can't fix this unless you pay us for this." Just generally we'll do it as a gesture of goodwill, but that's a cost us.

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Karl Lowe: We can still provide that service, but now we're just doing it remotely and of course the costs are dramatically reduced in that way. And also it's more efficient in addition to that as well, where you have customers that have maybe heating products in the winter periods. No, hot water and no heating is a really big deal so again, we've had cases where we've been able to provide rapid response in minutes where normally it may be a day or two days wait for a technician or at the very least several hours where we've been able to help the customer remotely have the heating operational again, in the matter of the few minutes so...

Sarah Nicastro: So, I want to kind of segue into an adjacent conversation, but it's interesting because from an outsider's perspective this technology it's super powerful and it's really exciting. And I understand some of the emotions that can be tied to it from the technician perspective. But when you really look at, like you said, how to just make it a tool in your toolbox it's really pretty cool, right. Because you're able to... Things that didn't need to be handled on site can be handled remotely.

Sarah Nicastro: That improves customer experience, it saves Panasonic time and money makes everyone's lives easier. In a situation where you do ultimately use the technology and realize you do need to go onsite oftentimes you have a better idea of what you're going in for, right. So you kind of have a little bit of information going into the visit on what you might be tackling, right.

Sarah Nicastro: So that can improve your, your first time fix rate, resolution rates, et cetera. And the other thing is, like you said, that collaboration, that knowledge sharing, the connection of those remote teams to be able to draw on one another and leverage each other's expertise is huge. And we also see companies doing quite a bit when it relates to knowledge management. So not just allowing that collaboration, but capturing some of that so that you can use that in future scenarios.

Sarah Nicastro: And then the other thing that I think is really cool, that's possible with this is the idea of how you can use it for training. Right. Maybe you get in a situation where you have an older technician that doesn't want to be out traveling all the time anymore, but he can be in the back office, he or she instructing folks that are out in the field.

Sarah Nicastro: So it's really cool, but I want to go back to your point, which is like any new thing, you talked about how that communication from the top on what that strategy, what that vision is, can take some time to trickle down. And in the meantime, when you're introducing things like this if there can be some question. So to your point you've had some folks that maybe were a little put off by this because they like traveling and they want to be out in the field and they feel like maybe this is something that's going to take that away from them. Or in other situations I've heard stories of technicians thinking like, "Is this gonna replace my job? Is this taking my job?"

Karl Lowe: Right.

Sarah Nicastro: So, I guess there's a couple of topics here. The one is what you spoke about earlier, which is how you communicate that strategy to folks so that they feel more at ease. But I think the other thing that's important to talk about is the strategy itself. I think that a remote first strategy is really smart, but people need to understand it's not remote only so that's kind of the differentiation that is important for the workforce to understand that you're not trying to take that away from them. So, what are your thoughts on this? How are you tackling it? What are some of the ways that you're furthering those communications and trying to address some of those concerns?

Karl Lowe: I mean, it's such that this technology I think, has evolved reasonably quickly with recent times almost of kind of pushing that as a necessity. So I think in some sense, it's caught some industries off on the back foot a little bit, because we're so used to doing a physical intervention rather than a remote intervention that's happened for years and years and years. So it takes time to get used to that to say, "Okay, it's remote first. And then physical seconds."

Karl Lowe: As you said, it will never replace, there will always be a need to have to go out and do a physical intervention. But we are only now just getting sort of starting to really look at the data with regards to what is the ratio now I think is for me, it will be very interesting to see where we can really make those savings and efficiency.

Karl Lowe: I think for us, where it's a steady as she goes kind of concept still for us. And as I said earlier, the main thing that we're doing it's almost a slight nudge each month. Here's the report usage by country. These are the people not using it and these are the people using it these are the amount of calls.

Karl Lowe: It's just creating a little bit of internal competition, friendly competition, of course. So for us, we found that's the way that works for us is to provide that kind of gentle nudge in that direction, rather than the really hard push. Of course, we've emphasized the need for health and safety. And that goes without doubt. But I think we found because of, we can see the increases month, a month, a month that strategy is working for us. So, we'll continue to do that and hopefully we'll see these increases in continued to go in the right direction.

Karl Lowe: And I think as we grow and evolve our service organization as well, we'll find new ways certainly to do that. And I think I said in another conversation with you, it's sparked conversation around Panasonic, around training, for example. Do we have a physical training room? Or can we have a training room, but then it has cameras that we can do remote training in that way? Rather than trying to get everybody together from different organizations, different countries that's a hard task, it's expensive flights, so on and so forth, people's time out. But actually, if we can do that training in a remote way, then again, that's something that we can do. So it's interesting how that topic is kind of sparked off other conversations.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, and it's so interesting to me, that's why I say this technology is exciting to me because I do feel like the companies that ultimately deploy it for our specific need or opportunity, then you start seeing the light bulbs go off like, "Oh, and we could also do this. We could also do this. We could also do this." So, I liked the point about promoting, but not pushing the use of the technology.

Sarah Nicastro: You referenced earlier when you spoke about the employee survey that you just said, you're also looking to improve communication to the frontline workforce on exactly what that strategy is, right. To also put them at ease of, "Look, no, one's trying to tell you that you'll never go onsite and all of those things." Right. So that, that's kind of the other part.

Sarah Nicastro: I have two more questions for you, Karl and the next is because you were a technician yourself, it makes me interested to ask you where you do see this going, because I think that no one is saying remote only, but I think it is inevitable that the field technicians role is changing and will change. Right. So, if you just look at Panasonic's journey, you're in the earlier phases of this Servitization life cycle, right.

Sarah Nicastro: You're really kind of getting some strong foundations set to really begin that journey. But, ultimately the skillset that you need a technician to have in a servitized business model is different in some ways than in a more technical service operation. You need to think more about soft skills and customer relations and stuff like that. And so what are your thoughts on that evolution? Like what do you think a field technicians role will look like? And I'm not just saying at Panasonic's, I'm not asking you to speak about plans I'm asking you more as a former technician. Like where do you kind of think this is heading?

Karl Lowe: I think it's without doubt, I think it's evolving and I think it's evolving pace. I think remote assist is one part of that in whatever technology is used. I think we, again, we've talked about this in a previous conversation, but dispatching an engineer it's an inefficient process. Most of the time is traveling to and from site very often that a good technician, whatever industry they are in will probably have a good idea of what's needed and be able to fix the issue relatively quickly when they're on site. So that inefficiency can be removed, but it will always be a need to physical intervention. But I think in combination of that is this technologies, for example, 3D printing. If you look at a technician, they will often go to site they'll then say, I need this part. I don't have that part.

Karl Lowe: We then have to set the quotation to the customer and so on and so forth, and then revisit the site again. So again, a lot of waste, a lot of inefficiency, but then what if you could say, "Okay, I can use remote assist. I know what the part is that's needed. And I print the part now." Say a fan blade or something by that, or even if he has to visit sites, he can print the part physically in his van using the 3D printing technology.

Karl Lowe: So I think that's, again, will start to happen in the future as well, so that you make sure to supply chains, quicker resolution times and so on and so forth. So I think it's a natural evolution of kind of the technician. And I think as we start to kind of... We're only scratching the surface, I think at the moment. So I think it's exciting to see what will happen in the next few years and how different technologies combined with the motor system will make the process even more efficient.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I agree. And I think we've talked about this quite a bit today, but it's exciting when you're setting the strategy. But you have to remember that the people whose roles are evolving it can be less exciting. Right.

Karl Lowe: Oh, yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: So, that's kind of part of the theme of what we're talking about is, it's important to temper your excitement for the company and the future with some of that anxiety that that frontline workforce can feel. And another thing we haven't even talked about today, and we certainly don't have time to, but maybe another day is the next generation of what that workforce is going to look like. Right.

Sarah Nicastro: So, they'll have yet different emotions about how all of this should be done and whatnot, then, some of the incumbent workforce. So it's a really interesting topic and I'm excited to see where things go. I think there's a really interesting handful of years ahead of us. But I think it's a good reminder for service leaders to remember that there are real people on the front lines that have emotions and that needs to be considered.

Karl Lowe: Yeah, I agree. I think also as well, that the thing I think to remember in any implementation of things that are sort of more technologically advanced than the previous is that, that technology doesn't necessarily kind of get taken up by the people at the same rates. Some people will just naturally get it and they will say, "Yeah, this is brilliant. This is the coolest thing ever."

Karl Lowe: Other people may actually be a bit worried about that and that's something that we've certainly learned is that some people may have been resistant, but only because they're not comfortable sitting in front of a screen and talking to somebody like this, not everyone wants a camera shoved in their face. And I think for maybe a slightly older generations, that will be a very foreign thing for them. We've all gotten used to this, I think in this way of the last year, but I think for many people it's still a little bit unusual.

Karl Lowe: So that takes time. I think it takes time and it takes a little bit more of a kind of a salesman's approach to say, "This is not a bad thing. This is just a new way of doing things. And people will adapt over time for sure." But it's certainly at different rates.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Okay. Last question, Karl you've had a hell of a year you came into this role and then everything changed, and this is a big journey that you're spearheading and a lot going on. What would you say is the biggest lesson you, yourself, as a leader have learned over the last year?

Karl Lowe: Patience. That's what I would say, patience.

Sarah Nicastro: That's a good one. Not my strong suit, but I am also working on.

Karl Lowe: It's not mine either but, yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Well, for us then it takes... But we've gotten plenty of practice the last year. Right. And so that's, I guess a good thing in some ways. But yes, and I think that's evident in the conversation we've had today. Right. And I think that, as I said earlier, this type of transformation is just not something you can rush through not if you want to ultimately have success you really do have to be patient and be pragmatic and look at it the way you're looking at it in terms of, okay, this is a long sell. We have a ways to go. Here's, you know, we need to build this foundation and, and go from there. so, kudos to you for a year of really hard work and I'm excited to stay in touch and see how things go. Really appreciate you joining the podcast and sharing your insights today.

Karl Lowe: No problem at all. Happy to help.

Sarah Nicastro: Thanks. You can find more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn, as well as Twitter at the @TheFutureOfFS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more about IFS Service Management Solutions by visiting www.ifs.com. As always thank you for listening.

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March 22, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Is Your View of Outcomes-Based Service Limiting Your Potential?

March 22, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Is Your View of Outcomes-Based Service Limiting Your Potential?

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

We talk a lot about the move to delivering outcomes and experiences rather than products and services. Why? Because that’s what today’s customers demand, and that evolution is what it will take to remain competitive and to differentiate your brand. There’s a near universal understanding among service businesses – and manufacturers servitizing their business – at this point that determining how to transform operations and internal complexity in a way that enables a more seamless, complete customer experience is critical.

What I think is less universally understood is the breadth of potential that exists delivering outcomes to your customers. Many organizations seem to equate outcomes-based service with guaranteeing uptime, which is most certainly an important aspect of an outcomes-based value proposition – it just isn’t the only aspect you should be considering. Don’t get me wrong, the purpose of this article isn’t to diminish the benefits of determining how to guarantee uptime – we’ve seen companies like Cubic Transportation have immense success in doing so.

My point, rather, is to think of uptime as a launching point for the potential of shifting to an outcomes-based service model, not the definition of an outcomes-based service model. If you can expand your view of how and why uptime is important to your customers, you can begin to see other ways your company can play a role in enabling their desired outcomes. Let me give a few examples to better explain:

  • A medical device company who provides mission-critical equipment to hospitals and healthcare facilities recognizes the fact that this equipment is dependent upon the hospital’s IT infrastructure to be operable. The medical device company sees an opportunity to expand its services skillset into IT skills to further improve its ability in providing customers with outcomes important to their ultimate objective: being able to care for patients when needed
  • A heavy equipment manufacturer understands that their customers are experiencing a massive change in the age and skillsets of their frontline workforce, which is causing issues in the customers’ output and performance. The manufacturer recognizes the opportunity to provide professional services to their customers to train on use of the equipment and consult on ways to best drive efficiency and productivity
  • A restaurant equipment service provider realizes that the data it gathers from equipment to ensure uptime can be incredibly valuable to restaurant stakeholders in terms of visibility into peak periods, product preferences, use of equipment, etc. and uncovers an opportunity to provide this data in the form of consumable business insights to help customers drive their outcomes

These three quick examples around the incorporation of adjacent or complimentary services, the use of domain expertise in the form of professional services or consulting, and the translation of data into impactful business insights are just the beginning in terms of looking beyond the uptime of products when you consider your company’s definition of providing outcomes-based service.

Putting your company in a position where you have the mindset, technologies, processes and skills to guarantee uptime is more than likely your best first step toward realizing the potential of the move to outcomes – but if you stop there, you may be selling your company short of far more success. The other ways in which you can deliver outcomes to your customers can be everything from relatively small adjustments to your offerings to net new lines of service – but if you truly want to differentiate your services from your competitors, you want to be thinking beyond the scope of your traditional core competency to determine what additional impact is possible.

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March 19, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

How Servitization will Lead to the End of Service as we Know It

March 19, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

How Servitization will Lead to the End of Service as we Know It

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By Tom Paquin

Listen, we love servitization here. It’s something that we talk about so much that we have a section of our website dedicated to it. Restructuring businesses away from product-focused growth strategies towards business-focused strategies objectively supports the bottom-line (overhead costs for service are significantly lower than that for other product functions), provides new outlets for customer engagement, and aides in the development of subscription-based products build around perpetual maintenance or outcome guarantees.

So why would a more service-minded approach? To understand this, we need to think about what businesses are focusing on servitization, and what that means about the ways that they approach customers, parts, and products themselves.

When we discuss servitization, we’re mostly talking about manufacturers of goods. Manufacturing has had no shortage of disruptions over the last two decades or so, and solvency means rethinking their footprints, their relationship with their staff, and their relationship with their products. Service remains a masterful way to bring these elements together in support of business interests.

Service doesn’t happen in a vacuum, though. It changes the supply chains, workflows, and it changes what constitutes a new device. Pre-servitization, businesses don’t care what happens to their products post-transaction. They use raw materials, sell to consumers, and at end of life, they don’t have to worry about expenditures, because the product is in the hands of someone else.

When service enters into the picture, profitability of devices in the hands of consumers becomes more important. If, for instance, a service technician hauls away a component that costs $18 to manufacture, do they recycle the aluminum for eight cents? No—they figure out a way to recycle the parts in-house. This is the basis of the circular economy of manufacturing, a topic that we’ve discussed before. And while this is great for the environment (fewer end-of-life machines in landfills) it’s also great for the bottom-line, and will change the ways that manufacturers create products, thus changing the ways that those products are serviced.

This isn’t speculative any more. Gartner expects by 2029 that 100% of manufacturers will have embraced this model. So how does this change service?

Repairs in the Circular Economy

If manufacturers are banking on service, and therefore seeing parts and products throughout their lifecycle, they’re going to do everything in their power to reuse parts in an effort to mitigate costs, power the circular economy, and protect the bottom-line. My favorite forward-thinking example, Apple, practically dislocates its own shoulder patting itself on the back for this, and hey, if you hire a supply chain guy as your CEO, you get really smart supply chain decisions.

So—if manufacturers are incentivized to invest in the circular economy, that means a couple of things:

  • Manufacturers are going to want parts to be reasonably intact upon extraction from a product
  • Manufacturers are going to want parts and products back as much as possible
  • The act of repair will, in many circumstances, be eclipsed by the act of remanufacturing goods into wholly new items

The first point here hinges upon a simple premise: Manufacturers are going to focus on increasing not only quality control, in order to mitigate repairs, but part modularity, in order to make the act of repair itself a different type of process. If, for example, you need to replace a shock absorber in your washing machine, rather than 3,200 proprietary screws, if the part’s locking mechanism is self-contained, it can easily be removed and replaced.

Making parts easier to replace also means less actual service appointments. Why? Because easier parts means easier on-site service. When things break, manufacturers can ship parts to customers, and provide the packaging to allow the broken part to be shipped back to the manufacturer, thus keeping it in the circular manufacturing loop. Add in tools like remote assistance and even moderately complex jobs can be completed without a truck roll or a local tech.

So a servitized future means a future with far fewer truck rolls, far more remote assistance, and the need for a much more complex system of forward and reverse logistics. As I’ve mentioned many times before, these are imperative, and easy-to-overlook elements of service management, and in an environment when service appointments themselves will be increasingly de-emphasized, they take on greater significance. A while back I created a buyer’s guide to discuss the important elements of Reverse Logistics, so if you’re interested in learning more, you can start there.

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March 17, 2021 | 25 Mins Read

Pivot to Win: Tackling Challenges to Embrace Chang‪e‬

March 17, 2021 | 25 Mins Read

Pivot to Win: Tackling Challenges to Embrace Chang‪e‬

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Sarah welcomes Jordan Babineaux, former NFL player turned entrepreneur and business coach, voice of the Seattle Seahawks, and author of new book PIVOT TO WIN.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we're going to be talking about tackling challenges to embrace change and what it takes to pivot to win. I'm excited today to welcome to the podcast Jordan Babineaux, former NFL player turned entrepreneur and business coach as well as voice of the Seattle Seahawks and author of new book, Pivot to Win. Welcome to the podcast, Jordan.

Jordan Babineaux: Thanks Sarah. Thanks for having me. How are you doing today?

Sarah Nicastro: I'm very well, thank you. Now, it just so happens we are recording this episode the morning after the Super Bowl so that seems fitting. I assume you were watching the game last night.

Jordan Babineaux: Yes, yes, and by myself. Trust me, we did not have a big Super Bowl party as one would typically have so we did it safely.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes. All right. Good. All right. I was watching with my four and five year old sons who made sure that I didn't get to pay very close attention to the game because they were asking me every couple minutes, "Mommy, what's that team? Mommy, what are they doing? What does that referee mean?" So interesting.

Jordan Babineaux: Well, that's fun. That's fun.

Sarah Nicastro: It was part watching the Super Bowl and part educating on the sport of football as best I could, so good.

Jordan Babineaux: And the entertainment of enjoying the commercial. I think that's all a big part of looking forward to the Super Bowl. It's like who has the funniest commercial in advertising.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah.

Jordan Babineaux: Those tend to land well.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I like the Jeep commercial and then we were keeping an eye out for the Nick Jonas Dexcom commercial because my older son has type 1 diabetes and he uses Dexcom. So we thought it was really cool that that technology was being socialized on that type of platform.

Cool. All right. Let's dig in. Jordan, tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey.

Jordan Babineaux: Sarah, you know, I grew up in Texas. I was the youngest of five and anything from your normal childhood upbringing, I mean certainly growing up in the South, you have hospitality, you have this Southern way of doing things and Texas certainly, it's good barbecue. But my upbringing was challenging and surrounded by economic ruins growing up and impoverished kind of environment. Certainly in the South, having to deal with racism and discrimination was a huge part of the challenges that we face both personally and as a family and as a community.

Jordan Babineaux: My father passed, I was eight years old. The sudden death of my dad suddenly left mom to figure things out for her kids. I'm the youngest of five, as I mentioned. Somehow with a little bit of faith and a secretary's salary, mom was able to afford each of us the goodwill of instilling great values of faith and growing up through a church. Education was highly demanded and also the essence of giving back. Even though we didn't have much, I remember my mom feeding kids in the neighborhood. Eating bread.

Jordan Babineaux: But as resilient as she was, we were all able to graduate high school, graduate college. I played nine years professionally in the NFL and my brother played 12 years for the Atlanta Falcons. You look back on it, the older you get, and you're like, "Wow, those childhood experiences." Certainly there's a great connection and better understanding the older you get but the more experiences you have. I'm a father now and so I understand what it's like to really sacrifice for your kids, create a better road and path for them. And those moments when I've just sit there and dwelled on some of those connections and stories and experiences and trials that I went through as a child, it's heart moving, it's warming and it really brings tears to my eyes to understand and know the sacrifice that my mama really experienced and went through.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think it's really interesting. The older you get, the more it makes you reflect back on exactly how you were shaped into the person you are and how all of those experiences evolve and build on one another. You continue growing as a person, but all of that is a part of you. So yeah, that's really interesting and I definitely agree that once you have children yourself it gives you a whole new perspective on what your parents went through and what they had to do to set you off into the world.

Sarah Nicastro: Good. Okay. We're going to be talking today quite a bit about your new book, Pivot to Win. Before I get into some of the specific questions I have for you on some of the major themes and points of the book, just tell us a bit about what made you want to write Pivot to Win and what purpose do you hope it serves for your readers?

Jordan Babineaux: I think there's always been a little part of me that wanted to do some form of storytelling. I went to Southern Arkansas University and my major was communications. I majored in broadcast journalism and used print as a minor but in thinking about it, I was in college the early 2000s, that print platform was starting to become less attractive. It was the evolution of the digital age and the internet and things were moving rather rapidly in that direction. And so in a sense, people started to think that print publications would suddenly die.

Jordan Babineaux: But not the case, and here we are today still talking about print publications and magazines. Believe it or not, I'm still one of those persons who order books, and I like to read and highlight and make notes and-

Sarah Nicastro: Me too.

Jordan Babineaux: And scribble in the books. Even newspapers. I get the Wall Street Journal now and even though I have the app on my phone, it's just something about being able to touch and feel and the crinkling of the paper and whatever that does for me in a way. But print's still here. The book, Pivot to Win, evolves from the sense of in 2018, I went to attend a Darren Hardy masterclass in San Diego. Darren Hardy is SUCCESS mentor. Well-known for what he's done through the publications at SUCCESS magazine for over a decade and interviewing, you name it, talking about world changers from the Oprahs to the Elons to the Jacks to the ... I mean, all across the board.

Jordan Babineaux: And then since, he's branched out and created his own platform and we share conversations around mentorship and getting myself to operate at high levels and through performance and that sort of thing. I attended his masterclass and in the middle of, it must have been day two, we're heading to lunch and before our break he says to ... It's a 100 business owners across the globe. Very intimate setting. And he says, "If anyone has been thinking about writing a book, come back a few minutes early before lunch and we'll have a conversation. I'll introduce you to my book team. And there it is.

Jordan Babineaux: Sarah, I'm one of those persons that if you give me an opportunity or you invite me to do something or there is a way in which that I can achieve something, you have my interest. We can't explain why some people do and some people don't. You give 10 people a book. All 10 people won't read the book. But the one person who gets the book obviously thinks something of it and reads the book and they take something from it, adds it to their own life and then a year later you see this person blossom. And then suddenly everyone has this, wow. This overnight success birth of this person that no one's ever heard of when over time the work has certainly been put in and the days of progress has been stacked to reach this culmination of what some people will call an overnight success.

Jordan Babineaux: Well, it's not the case. We went through this process. I come back and I was like, "Well, that almost feels like a dare in some way." I was like, "Wait. Are you really saying that I can do this and you're going to give me access to your resources?" "Absolutely. I'll take you up on that." Here we are. I mean now it's 2021. I finished the book. Once we got started, I made the introduction to my book team, once we got started it became like a 16 or 17 month process of back and forth communication with the book team. I was writing. And Sarah, on top of that I had just rolled into my MBA program at Seattle University. Lo and behold I thought, "Why the hell would I decide to write a book in the middle of my MBA program?" I had no idea what that process would look like or how it would turn out to be.

Jordan Babineaux: But the timing of it for me, Sarah, it was right on. I talk about my childhood and the things that I went through and the early loss of my father and having the battle, the challenges of growing up in a single parent household, five kids and some of those things that we had to overcome. Well, it's certainly built a lot of resilience and perseverance over the time to go through these things and know that there's still light at the end of the tunnel. While I was enrolled in my MBA program, we were in this leadership component of the first three to six months and Seattle University is a Jesuit school to have old Catholicism and practices around formation of the individual and the self and the human body and the person. And it was right for me.

Jordan Babineaux: When I tell you that the discoveries in which I learned in going through these courses brought me and moved me to tears, I finally understood myself a lot better. I understood my triggers, I understood how I felt around certain things, whether it was conflict resolution, finances, relationships. All of these things that we don't know that shapes us through our environment, the people we hang around. Even just embedded in us from our parents. Some of those things that are just in us comes from our parents and their philosophies and thoughts around that. Well, I didn't understand that until I really had a chance to do some inner reflection and turn my lens to focus more on me, and it was very moving.

Jordan Babineaux: In the book, Pivot to Win, I share a lot of those stories and I get real personal. When I say, in a way that's vulnerable. But I'm okay with it now, Sarah. I went through this process of using sports to fuel some of the aggression and anger, but also the joys. It wasn't just about I was just this angry person or anything like that, but it was a way to free myself from all of the things in which I was dealing with. I mean that was why we got involved in sports in the very beginning anyway, because mom saw what we were going through. We were also battling the challenges of peer pressure and dealing with street and violence and drug abuse and all of those things that was just natural in our community.

Jordan Babineaux: But that process, Sarah, when I say I had a chance to just really let go, all of those emotions in which as a child that I masked and just swept under the rug while developing myself into this alpha male macho mentality of a sports figure, I was able to look at them and reflect on them and have a deeper understanding of myself. It was really moving. And it led to Pivot to Win and so I'm happy to share the book, happy to share the stories and my hope is that people will take away the lessons and the successes away from the book and add it to their own life and use it to their own purpose.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. Good. That was a lot, but there's a lot there that I totally can resonate with. I think it's really easy to spend a lifetime really distracting yourself from what's at the root of you as a human being, particularly if you've had any challenges in your childhood and your early years. Stuff that maybe you didn't know what to do with, how to process or you didn't have the resources to or you didn't have the emotional energy or the tools to do that. And when you make the choice to dig in, it's very interesting.

Sarah Nicastro: Let's talk about some of the things that come up in the book. You talk about the importance of change and your belief that we must embrace change as a catalyst for growth. One of the things you say is that change can feel like you've lost part of your identity, but it's important. Talk about that belief.

Jordan Babineaux: Great question. Let me think. Here we are, still in the middle of a global pandemic where change and uncertainty, the anxiety of having to deal with what we're all going through both personally and professionally, is more challenging than any time in human history. Certainly I'm still ... Sarah, I'll just say I'm under 40. I'm not revealing my age just yet. But as I push closer to 40, I know that we have seniors and elders who have been through similar situations when faced with tough adversities across our country, across our condition and our economy.

Jordan Babineaux: But change is consistent. It's the one thing that we can guarantee. We used to say this in the NFL in the locker room, is that change is one thing that you're promised. But we also looked at it too as a revolving door. I used to look at opportunities like, "Okay, well if this franchise doesn't think that I'm no longer welcome or my services are no longer here, then there is 31 other teams that I could choose from."

Jordan Babineaux: Change is consistent, but when we pivot and create these moments of change, there's two ways we can look at when going through change. One is, we can refuse to believe that it's actually happening and it's easy to mask or be in this state of disbelief where it's unreal. This isn't happening. Then a year later, five years later we're kind of stuck on a treadmill. Sometimes this treadmill can be a mental treadmill. It's like I haven't even overcome acceptance of my new realities. I think in moving through transition and moving through pivots, we have to first get this understanding and acceptance of what the new reality is. So change from moving and uprooting, from one city to another, or leaving one company and going to another. Change also in the form of our habits. The death of the old self and the birth of the new from a mental standpoint.

Jordan Babineaux: Change really offers us the ability to have this two part. One, we can remain stuck and in disbelief as if things are what we've always thought that they would be. This norm, if you will. And we can define that, if you'd like, as a fixed mindset. It's like, "Oh, this is what I know. This is what I'm used to and I'm going to stick to it." But we can also embrace change. I think when we embrace change from that perspective we look for new opportunities. And though there's loss in change, I understand that, but there's also the birth of something new.

Jordan Babineaux: I think the human mind can really be this incredible cycle and mechanism that can either leave us or move us either way. Where we can be stuck in a way that we're confined mentally. That our circumstances have more power over than what we're able to accomplish or how we're able to move past some of those situations. And then there's also the challenge of the growth mindset. Of, "I'm willing to try new things." Person that's willing to learn and accept change in a way of the filling and belief of new discoveries. I'm not saying that change is easy. Moving through change is one of those challenging things. But I think while focusing in on what's ahead, we can get our mind to shift in a way where it's more powerful and we look at change as new opportunities.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And this is a big theme in the content that we produce for our audience because if you look at some of the transformation journey the companies that we speak to are on, this idea of managing change and overcoming resistance to change within the employee base, and even just creating a culture of change from the top down, those are all themes. Because it is uncomfortable for human beings. You do tend to want to stick with what's comfortable and what you know and it can be tough to push yourself outside of that.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, as a part of talking about change, you talk about this term. You say, "A personal ground zero." What does that mean?

Jordan Babineaux: Yes. Moving away from the NFL into life after football was the biggest pivot for me. It was such a challenging time both from a mental standpoint, a psychological standpoint and there were times where I felt like I was stuck. I went through this process of kind of understand what it's like to go through change and this certainly ties into the question what you just asked about change and where we are. Fixed mindset, growth mindset. And so I went through and kind of developed what I would call a model, a pivot model to help us move through change. It's five step model, and certainly there are a lot of change models out there.

Jordan Babineaux: A lot of them deal with a two part component. There is an internal side of change. You know, how I feel about myself. Many people suffer from what's called an imposter syndrome. It's like, "Am I good enough? Am I really this person that I portray to be or how does other people view me?" That's the external side of this change model, this pivot model in which we're working through. Because change is tough. Simply put, it is a tough thing to deal with and to have to navigate.

Jordan Babineaux: Ground zero is what I would identify as step three in this change model. The first step is to recognize. It's like, "Well, am I in a pivot? Am I in a change? How do I know when it's time to pivot?" You can really maybe answer that question in a way that, "Do I feel like I'm living in my purpose? Am I being of value? Do I feel stuck?" Those kind of questions. Those personal reflection questions could help us answer whether we're doing meaningful work.

Jordan Babineaux: I think, Sarah, we all want to feel more valued. We all want to create greater impact in our lives, but how do we do that? And sometimes this step one of recognizing, "Am I in a way where I can leverage my relationships, position or skillset to provide more opportunity or to create the greater impact that I want in my community or for my family?"

Jordan Babineaux: Then there's a decision process. It's like, "Okay, well ..." I mentioned this term or this phase of being stuck and this sense of acceptance of the change. It's like, "Well, do I want to accept the change or not?" To me, there's a decision right there and that's the powerful stage. I was pivoting away from the NFL and I was moving into my broadcasting career. But at the same time in my mind, I was living in Los Angeles and training to go back for year 10. But I also knew that life would happen and eventually I would be a former football player. I would be a former athlete. And so what was the transition in being able to set myself up to have a smoother transition, a smoother pivot?

Jordan Babineaux: Pivots, planned or unplanned, there's still challenges in change. We can have a planned change and still have to navigate success or re-identify success as I say that I had to do. It was no longer tackles and interceptions and touchdowns. Suddenly success became a lot different and I wasn't clear about what success looked like for me. But I had to make a decision. I remember working with my speech coach, my on-camera coach and he was noticing that I was kind of still answering questions in a way that I would as if I was protecting the team, like I was still in a locker room. Not willing to throw guys under the bus or really in a sense, for the viewer, not being truthful.

Jordan Babineaux: I think when he said that it's like, well, the viewers don't come here to get this shallow type of delivery on whether your position around protecting a player, just because they may have given up a touchdown or been at fault for a missed assignment. All they wanted was the truth. And so I started thinking about that in a way. How do I be more creative in a way that doesn't feel like I have this sense of hatred or anger or bitterness toward these players who are still playing because I still want to play? But also, because I want to give my viewers something truthful.

Jordan Babineaux: So my wording changed a little bit and I would use words like, "Well, this position, which should have covered this area of the field may have bid on a play action." Anyway, I said it in a way where you can create gaps and it was digestible for the viewer to still understand it. So the decision part, for me, are you a player or are you a broadcaster? It was a tough decision but it was an easy decision because the NFL is kind of like either I can sit back and wait on someone to call me and still go through the politics. There was a new collective bargaining agreement that just happened in the CBA, so you saw teams moving to younger players. Even the base salary for where I was in year 10, a team can get three players and younger. So I made a decision. I was like, "Yeah, I'm moving into broadcast. I'm going to create my own opportunities. I'm going to take this path and I'm just going to figure out what it is."

Jordan Babineaux: So here we are at ground zero. Ground zero is step three and it's kind of like this, "What is my new norm?" Things change. Accept it, dude. Something's changed in your life, now you have new routines that you have to create. You have personal values in which I had to reflect on and get real with myself. I think that was it. It's like, "Dude, get real with yourself, okay? You're no longer a football player." And this cycle of that mentality is the same reason why you see professional athletes pivot away from sports, then in a few years later have relationship issues, financial issues. It's because this mentality of still living as my old self, the habits that I created, has really set me up for disaster. And so there's this state of reality.

Jordan Babineaux: I'll move through step four and five rather rapidly but because ... I talked about the imposter syndrome. Well, step four are these continuous acts of courage. It's like, well, even though I feel like a broadcaster, I majored in communications, I knew this was the path that I wanted to take, it just didn't feel like normal. I didn't feel like me. So I was in this process of discovering who the new Jordan Babineaux was.

Jordan Babineaux: You know, Sarah, you hear people say it's like, "I want to reinvent myself." And it's like, "Oh, well. I cut my hair, or I dyed my hair, or I changed my wardrobe." Well, that's not a way to reinvent yourself. I mean, you changed your looks but if your habits, your activities and your mannerisms are still the same, then you're still this old person with shorter hair. And really looking at how we want to reinvent ourselves. I think the one thing that you have to get real with yourself is what are my behaviors? What are my attitudes and what are my habits? When we start to ask those questions, that's when the real process of change starts to happen.

Jordan Babineaux: The fifth state is transformative. It's this level of transformation where I'm in a state of acceptance, I understand my new values. It maybe be re-identifying what those are, establishing something new, creating new habits. But the reality in this transformative state is that I'm no longer feeling stuck. I'm no longer feeling like the work that I'm doing is meaningless. The people that I'm touching, my customers or even my family for that matter can see this new sense of me and I'm moving into this transformative state. But it's this deeper sense of awareness where you feel more connected to that purpose. Ground zero is a way to help you get there.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah and again, just relating this back to, I guess, insights that our audience would be familiar with. When we talk about projects or efforts being derailed by a lack of change management, I think relating it back to, Jordan, what you're saying is because as service leaders, as companies, they can overlook steps one through four and just try and get right into the transformation and the employees as individuals haven't yet come to grips with the fact that resistance is futile and that they need to adapt and that can cause some issues.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. Let me see. Okay, so a couple of other things I want to talk about. One is as we change, personally or professionally, we're going to falter and even fail. There is no way to perfect this process. I don't think that failure is normalized enough. For us as humans, but particularly in the business setting. Talk a little bit about any advice you have on how to embrace mistakes.

Jordan Babineaux: Well, let's pick up from the business side. I think one of the toughest things to do is implement change within your company. Again, we have the growth mindset versus fixed mindset but take for instance change in the medical industry as where we are now. You have an extreme change in terms of now you see doctors and institutions move into telemedicine. From a doctor's standpoint it's that they're embracing this change whether they wanted to or not. Certainly it was forced upon them. But then there's other elements around change that seems to align or help create a sustainable or successful change.

Jordan Babineaux: I'll give you one instance. Let's take for instance the skills, a skillset. It's like, well, the skillset needs to change. Let's take implementing a program. Whatever software or program that doctors are using, but they may not have been familiar with them. Those things have changed. Does the change support the company culture? Does the change support the company values and the mission? We haven't even got to the human element, so let's add that. Because people naturally are resistant to change.

Jordan Babineaux: I was reading a book called Switch by the Heath Brothers. It's like they describe change by the elephant and the rider. You have the rational side of, "Yeah, I know I should change," or being able to understand that maybe the value of the change is greater than the actual change itself. But then there's the elephant. There's the emotional side too as well. When you add that part of it in, then it's well, the elephant always wins, man. Come on.

Jordan Babineaux: But back to the medical example that I'm giving is that in change too, particularly in the medical field, is that there's a gap. You have change agents and you have recipients of the change. Take for instance our elders who are used to personal touch, who are used to going to the doctor. Who for some, that may be the only time that they get outside, is to go visit their doctor. And then there's barriers with that. You have people who don't have adequate internet, who have WiFi challenges. Or now having to have a conversation with a doctor through video conference and the doctor is going to diagnose me through video or ... So there's a certain level of trust that's lost in that change as well.

Jordan Babineaux: I just look at change from the perspective of, on the business side of this world, there's so many elements that's associated with the change to make it a successful change. Number one, one way to make a successful change is you have to get all your stakeholders on board. I reflect back when I decided I was going to MBA school, I didn't really give much conversation to my wife around why this was a good idea. Though she may have understood it, what I didn't know was the ripple effect, the emotional weight that it would have on her in having to deal with me spending 12 hour days in class away from the house, away from the family, et cetera, et cetera. So change became challenge in the sense of it can be challenging if we don't involve all of our stakeholders.

Jordan Babineaux: I'll get back to your question around embodying and embracing failures along the way through change. There are some companies who will invite change where a way where it's part of the culture. Like, "We want you to fail, we want you to go out and try things." There's this learning process, I think, that's more powerful to let's say your sales team who are out in the field, who are having this personal touch with the customers. And they're the ones who are having to be the recipient or the gateway between a product and a customer's success rating. Some companies embody change in a way where saying, "It's okay to fail. We want you to go out and try these things. We want you to be successful in that way."

Jordan Babineaux: Then there are companies who have sales teams who are just standard. They're just the status quo. It's just it is what it is. I mean, it's just the way that we do it. We don't believe in innovation and in today's age where change is so rapid and the growth is so substantial in terms of exponential in the sense of pace. That it's almost like shoving a square into a round hole. It's that we have to be adaptive in today's age. We have to be adaptive in our company culture. We have to be adaptive in the way we serve our customers. We have to be adaptive in our own lives. To me, this tone of adaptability is one of the things that I think that is a great quality to possess when going through change.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. Very good. Last question, Jordan, is knowing change is hard and it can be tiresome, how do you stay focused and motivated for the long run?

Jordan Babineaux: One of the things I talk about in Pivot to Win is that when I first came to the NFL, I was a sponge. I used to watch the veterans. I watched the older guys and see what they were doing. During drill work I would see and understand and learn from either their successes or their failures and taking note and certainly I had my chance to do it too. Not that I did everything perfect or everything right. It's that I was just more aware of how can I give myself the best level of success.

Jordan Babineaux: Now Sarah, you may not understand what it's like to be a undrafted free agent going into this highly competitive arena of professional sports. Well, I mean it's almost as if you're a body and the odds are stacked against you. I think one of the things that helped me was develop a routine. I talk about a routine. Routine to me is just simply a process that can give us a little bit more control of a situation with a result in mind. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean that success is automatic, it doesn't mean that winning is guaranteed but it does give you a sense of control.

Jordan Babineaux: Take for instance a basketball player at the free throw line. He throws the ball, dribble twice, twirls it, shoots it. Every time. Doesn't matter. It's his routine. Or a golfer, for instance, who has a pre-shot routine. One swing, two swings, play with the wind, pick some grass up. Whatever that routine is, I think that we all should look to develop a routine. And you say, well how do we create more success in that routine? Simply, not in any kind of superstitious beliefs but I think that a routine, whether it is you're walking into your office, before I sit down or before I start my day, before I go into a sales meeting, whatever that level of comfort is for you to put yourself in a routine and to a state of mind where you're going in and you're feeling like you have control of the situation. I think it's important for each of us to find that routine of what that is to help us increase our level of success.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That makes sense. All right, good. Well, this has been great, Jordan. I really appreciate you joining and sharing some of this with us today and I found the conversation to be very insightful. Let folks know where they can find more information about yourself and the book.

Jordan Babineaux: Yeah, thanks Sarah. So Jordan Babineaux across all platforms on social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I can be reached there. The book is now available on Amazon.

Jordan Babineaux: And more than anything, I think one of the things that I like to share about the book, it's a quote by Muhammad Ali that really embodies the core of the book. The book is about growth. The book is about what's possible. The book is about not letting your circumstances outweigh what it is that you have for yourself or the person that you desire to be, the things that you want for your company, your family, your own life.

Jordan Babineaux: And then the impact and legacy that we each want to leave. And so I shared this quote by Muhammad Ali. It says, "The man who views the world at 50, the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life." Again, embodying the growth mindset and being adaptive to change, moving through change when it's uncomfortable. Because more than anything, and I think we all can agree, that change is consistent and if it is consistent, we need to find a way to get better at it and move through our states of being stuck both mentally and physically.

Jordan Babineaux: So thanks Sarah. I really appreciate you coming on and letting me share a little bit about my journey, about my growth, my personal development journey as well and about everything in Pivot to Win. It's a book not just for professional athletes, Sarah. Because professional athlete or not, we all will have this battle between the body and the mind at some point. This willingness to do something, but this challenge of actually doing it. And that's what change is.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. Well, thank you Jordan. Love the quote. Great way to end. Appreciate you being here.

Sarah Nicastro: You can find more of our podcasts and other content by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter @thefutureoffs. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more about IFS service management by visiting www.ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.

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March 15, 2021 | 8 Mins Read

Smart Care’s Recipe for Scalable Service Success

March 15, 2021 | 8 Mins Read

Smart Care’s Recipe for Scalable Service Success

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

Smart Care Equipment Solutions is the largest independent provider of commercial kitchen repair in the United States. You can tell by a quick visit to the company’s website the clarity that exists around how service acts as a competitive differentiator and significant growth opportunity. The company’s vision is clearly articulated on its site, stating, “By 2024, we will become America’s Best commercial kitchen service company by: Delighting customers through the entire service experience; Being the first choice for top technicians; Acquiring service companies that strengthen our offering and reflect our culture; and tangibly improving the success of our customers and technicians by leveraging the industry’s richest set of data.”

Gyner Ozgul, Sr. VP of Operations at Smart Care, has a long tenure with the company and is not only passionate about what the future holds but bullish on how to get there. Ozgul knows that a strategic vision for the future is imperative but laying a strong foundation to build that future upon is the critical first step. Since Smart Care grows a lot through acquisition, the company has recently focused on reshaping its IT infrastructure to provide the cohesiveness, consistency, and visibility needed to build its vision for the future. “On the commercial side of the business, data is our enabler for differentiation because of scale. To put that in simple terms, Smart Care would like to be the consumer reports of the repair industry for kitchens. Our data and our size will allow us to do that, but it's a big vision and getting there is a journey. Knowing the right steps to build toward that outcome is how we’ll ultimately achieve that goal,” says Ozgul.

Know Your Truths, Set Your Priorities

Ozgul and the Smart Care team realized that to work toward that vision as well as address the evolution in customer expectations and the opportunity to better optimize resources, it was necessary to invest in more modern technology. “We needed technology that would help us build a better customer experience. From an end user perspective, I call it the Amazon mentality or consumerization that's happened so this whole expectation of service delivery and timing a service delivery and great communication and constant communication flow, but also things like information on the equipment you're working on and work order management systems,” explains Ozgul. “Impacting the customer experience was first and foremost for us.”

The technology in place at Smart Care was around 15 years old, outdated in terms of functionality, relied heavily on integrations which made it complex to maintain, and wasn’t going to be effective in supporting the goals Smart Care had for the business. “We knew we needed to invest in a platform that would enable us to scale over time, that could support our growth,” says Ozgul. “We wanted to take the opportunity to focus on optimizing processes and to determine how to optimize the utilization of our technicians, which are a finite resource. They're repairing very complex pieces of equipment in high-pressure environments with customers that have very high expectations, and being able to manage that workforce remotely, especially during the pandemic. To do this all well enough so that the customer sees the service level impact is a challenge for our organization, but one we knew we needed to take on.”

Smart Care began its search for more modern technology with clarity on three primary objectives: delivering a more modern and consistent customer experience, improving optimization of its resources, and investing in technology that would enable the company to scale service delivery as it grows both organically and through acquisition.

A Data-Driven Future Isn’t Possible Without Modern, Cohesive Technology

Smart Care chose to deploy a technology suite from IFS that includes Applications Enterprise Resource Management, Field Service Management, and Planning and Scheduling Optimization. “At the highest level, we chose IFS because we believe the platform gives us the ability we desire to scale as a business,” says Ozgul. “Looking at our future vision, we wanted to make sure we had a partner in a technology that allows us to dictate the inflow of the data. In all data reporting or monetization out there, the inflow of data is critical. In our case, part of the challenge we had is that inflow was really difficult because of our antiquated technology. Just as an example, on a work order, a tech could opt out of certain fields which is very disruptive if you're trying to do data aggregation and monetization to customers. With IFS, we’ve been able to institute a process that techs are required to follow which not only improves the customer experience as we desired but helps us improve our data integrity which expands our opportunities for its use.”

With IFS, Smart Care sets the stage for its journey to differentiation through data. “IFS helps us to master the seemingly simple things first, like building labor and parts accurately,” explains Ozgul. “That seems very fundamental but believe it or not it’s easy to do wrong and provides a ton of value when we get it right. With IFS we have a simpler platform with less integrations – and every integration is a breakage point, so this improves integrity.”

The end-to-end use of IFS technology, from order to cash, addresses Smart Care’s need to provide a consistent customer experience. “We use IFS on the front end for CRM, then a call moves to dispatch and that's where we use IFS from a scheduling optimization standpoint. Our dispatchers now have full visibility of technicians and their work days, and the tool has levels of automation built in that we can configure to allow us  to automate portions of the schedule in order to keep technicians busy all the time, keep calls flowing, and drive much better service to the customer at the end user level.”

Parts management, work order management, and mobile capabilities are all being leveraged from IFS as well. “Things like parts management and warehouse management that we supply into those calls for technicians to do the repairs, we are working on a few adjacencies to IFS with things like AI tools to help technicians with part and product identification, as well as self-help guides. We use the IFS mobility tool for our technicians which is an iPad-based work order management system that integrates with the back-office tools. It relays the information the customer calls in, as well as any new information that comes from us, in terms of directive to the technician to perform the service through his mobile device. For instance, we can dictate what questions he should be asking to the customer. All customer requirements and needs, the work order diagnosis and history, everything is notated in the mobile solution and then communicates back with the CRM in the background so we have optics into all of that information up until the closure of the service event.”

Upon closer of the service event, Smart Care invoices and bills through IFS and can customize the method based on customer preference. “All of that functionality is built in on the billing side, so the lifecycle of a work order flows through the system,” says Ozgul. “We are a national footprint business. A ton of complexity comes out of that. Geographic complexity, operating complexities. We need to be able to give customers a consistent level of service and IFS enables us to do that. But it also gives us the ability to aggregate data, which is very unique and imperative for our long-term vision. Every single work order in IFS generates hundreds of data points and over time this allows us to generate very valuable insights, which is where we feel we can drive a significant point of differentiation.”

Early Wins and Future Vision

Smart Care has been live on the IFS platform since September of 2020. “Our earliest win with the system was in terms of what we call value capture. With the former mobility solution, there were instances where time wasn’t being recorded or billed for accurately. With IFS mobile, we've configured the system so that there is an accurate reconciliation of the job time on site, the bill time to the customer, and the paid time to the technician, and in doing so we’ve seen a decrease in value leakage,” explains Ozgul. “On the parts side, the chain of custody, in terms of when a part moves through our warehousing system to the technician and ultimately to the work order, it's much tighter, and there is less opportunity for that part to get lost in the process.” IFS improved the value capture for both labor and parts and put an immediate stop to that value leakage, which improved Smart Care’s gross profit by 5-8% within four months of go-live.

Current focus areas for Smart Care around use of IFS are around better understanding customer pipelines using FSM and further configuring the Planning and Scheduling Optimization (PSO) tool. “On the sales side, we are using the understanding our customer pipelines using FSM. So, where are the pipelines? What's our close rate? How many customers convert from pipeline to sales? Because we're using this whole IFS platform, we have an ability to see what our actual sell-through of a customer is end to end,” explain Ozgul. “With PSO, we're putting in customer SLA expectations into the tool now so that we can let the system help us control that service expectation to a customer.”

The company is also continuing to evaluate and pilot technologies that work well alongside the IFS platform, such as Remote Assistance for remote service capabilities, Aquant AI to improve knowledge management, and more customer self-help tools. Perhaps the most exciting potential is to watch Smart Care’s data-driven service vision come to life, which will happen by building upon its success with the IFS platform. “Our customers have equipment that's in excess of 100,000 to 200,000 dollars for a single piece of equipment so their understanding of the lifecycle, birth to death of that equipment, and how they extend their capital and where they should spend their capital and where they should be fixing the equipment versus replacing the equipment is something we see as very important, and something customers want that we’ll be able to provide because we now have the capabilities within IFS to house that data in a logical manner,” says Ozgul. “The ability to increasingly leverage data as a part of our service value proposition is the most exciting aspect of what our investment in IFS will enable.”

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March 12, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Where are We Now?

March 12, 2021 | 3 Mins Read

Where are We Now?

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By Tom Paquin

Back in June of last year, which feels like it happened something like six decades ago, we started to emerge from the bald, overwhelming panic of early-stage pandemic into something that vaguely resembled a functioning strategy. I wrote about it then, wondering where we were. Now, as we clear the one-year mark from the world health organization’s proclamation of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, what have we learned? Where are we? What comes next?

Even between now and June, much has changed. In spite of June’s promise of some eased restrictions, case counts remained stubbornly high, and with new strains emerging from the UK, South Africa, and other areas of the world crashing against unwise holiday gatherings, things have been rough. There’s been a natural ebb and flow, though, and, at least here in the US, numbers are trending in the right direction.

These milestones converging offer us an opportunity to refocus on what we’ve learned, and how to adapt those learnings to service.

Technology has been fundamentally recalibrated

I, a nerd, have been using internet-enabled systems for years, drawn to the appeal of not having to speak to an actual human being whenever possible. It appears as though my cohorts across disciplines have caught up with me, moving all sorts of once-interpersonal activities online. With that increase in consumption and literacy of new processes, the ability to manage commerce digitally not only expanded over the last year, but it’s gained features and complexity.

Online appointment booking is a gateway to zero-touch scheduling, which could lead to completely remote services. One thing is for certain—there’s no getting the toothpaste back in the tube with a lot of these technologies. The break lines of technology advancement were severed by COVID-19, and we’re barreling forward at a much faster speed than we were at this time last year. It’s up to businesses to capitalize on that, evaluate what is needed to compete in the changing service market, and make the right upgrades to your technology portfolio that will permit you to meet your customer’s expectations.

Customer centricity is the price of admission

To that end, and enhanced by technology, customers don’t just expect speed and accuracy, they expect consideration of their wants, needs, and safety. I think about our conversation with Peloton a few months ago, and how they set expectations by asking to do things like take off their shoes before stepping into a person’s home, and how, even since August, those expectations have continually evolved.

Because of that, it’s key that service businesses build contingencies into how they manage customers, understand customer expectations and requirements before they arrive at the job site, and incorporate those into their planning and scheduling, logistics, and so on. This extends far beyond COVID-related needs to Service-level agreements, but COVID certainly has influenced the expectations, and how they are delivered, and in a world where masks and other types of PPE are set to be a consideration in perpetuity, it’s important not to stumble as we get back to work.

Continuity planning

I’ve always been writing about continuity through an ever-shifting set of lenses, but this year, it’s taken on an even greater importance. It’s the first time in decades that global businesses have been confronted by a universal disruption.

I hate to break it to you all, but it’s not going to be the last time. Just ask the people who lived through the second world war and The Great Depression what multi-year global disruptions of industry looks like. Smart businesses have continuity managers on-staff, but technology helps here too. When confronted with uncertainties, you can either panic, shed resources, or you can consult simulations and plans. It’s impossible to know the nature of our next disruption, but long-term survival of business interests depend on an understanding that the only constant is change.

Don’t believe me? Ask Blockbuster.

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March 10, 2021 | 36 Mins Read

Dot Mynahan of Otis Elevator on IWD 202‪1‬

March 10, 2021 | 36 Mins Read

Dot Mynahan of Otis Elevator on IWD 202‪1‬

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Dot Mynahan, Executive Director, Field Operations for Otis Americas talks with Sarah about her 30-year history in field service, how Otis is working to mentor and advance women leaders, and how she’s chosen to challenge.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. I'm excited today to be speaking with Dot Mynahan of Otis on International Women's Day week. I've interviewed Dot in the past, but not for a very long time and I'm so excited to be interviewing her again, sharing that with you and talking about this important day and month.

Sarah Nicastro: So, Dot, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Dot Mynahan: Thank you, Sarah. I'm really happy to be here and I appreciate this opportunity. As you said, my name is Dot Mynahan, and I am currently the Executive Director of Field Operations for Otis Elevator Americas. So I cover the Canada, the US, Central America and South America.

Sarah Nicastro: Excellent. And so, thank you for being here. Before we get into the topic at hand, just tell us a little bit about your current role, your background and your history, anything you want to share about yourself.

Dot Mynahan: Sure. I started with Otis 30 years ago as a temporary employee, believe it or not. I answered a newspaper ad, so I'm aging myself there, for a service clerk. So I started as a service clerk in the Portland main office, and over the course of those 30 years, I've worked my way up through the company to now be the executive director of field ops.

Dot Mynahan: My role currently is to ensure that our field employees have the proper training, tools and support. I really focus on support to perform their work safely and efficiently and deliver our products to our customer so that we meet customer's expectations. Actually, we try to exceed the customer's expectations here.

Dot Mynahan: So, I think when I looked back at Otis and where I started, I was really struggling to find a company where I felt like I had a career that I could grow with the company, and that it felt like a family kind of atmosphere and I think I definitely found it with Otis. So I'm so thrilled that I made that step way back then.

Dot Mynahan: And then on a personal level, I live in Florida. I have a rescue cat named, Girdie, who's 11 years old. I rescued her when I lived in Maryland. And my sister is a snowbird so she's been living with me since November and I kicked her out in May.

Sarah Nicastro: Nice. Well, I'm jealous of her. I'm in Pennsylvania, so the snow is actually falling outside the window as we speak. We have a quarantine rescue kitty who will be turning one on the 15th of March. So he is the sweetest thing ever, and he's been a welcome distraction while we have been cooped up.

Dot Mynahan: That's awesome.

Sarah Nicastro: Good. So you've been at Otis 30 years. When you answered that newspaper ad, did you have an inclination that maybe Otis would be that company you could grow with or did it just kind of happen serendipitously?

Dot Mynahan: Definitely serendipitously. As I came into the original interview, I was thinking, "I really want to stay with this company five years." Other jobs that I'd had previous to that, I'd worked in water and sewer, sold pipe. So I had kind of non-traditional roles leading up to this role.

Dot Mynahan: But usually after two years, I had maxed out on what I could learn and I would become bored, and then look for my next opportunity. So I came into Otis, and I thought like I really want to learn. I really want to grow and see what I can do, and boy, if I can get five years with this company, I'd be really, really happy.

Dot Mynahan: I came to Otis and I was so challenged to learn how we work, to learn about elevators. I started as a service clerk, so just even parts and however thing went together, and I can remember being so humiliated and humbled by my lack of ability to learn the job easily. And my supervisor at that time said, "Don't stress out. It takes about six months for the light bulb to go on and then all of the pieces are going to come together."

Dot Mynahan: And he was right on the money. One day, it was just like, boom, I get it. But I got the insight part of the job. I was still working in the office, I'm ordering parts, I'm processing payroll, working with the field guys from the office support side of the house. I think one of the interesting things was when I was given the opportunity to go out in the field and actually work as a helper as part of a training program.

Dot Mynahan: That's when everything really started to come together and I understood how elevators work. I actually worked on installing them and repairing them and maintaining them, and that really kind of took me to the next level.

Sarah Nicastro: I have a feeling you would say serendipitously and I'm going to challenge you a little bit here because I think that this is an International Women's Day episode. And I think that this is something that we as women can tend to do, which is minimize a bit the role we've played in our success or longevity, et cetera.

Sarah Nicastro: I don't think it's not serendipitous. I mean, you didn't obviously know when you answered that ad that 30 years later you would be where you are. I mean, I'm pulling some stuff from LinkedIn here, but over the lifespan of your career with Otis, you went from service clerk to field management trainee, to maintenance supervisor, to branch manager, to general manager, to regional field operations, to senior regional field operations, to director of field operations for Latin America to now.

Sarah Nicastro: I think there's also a need to ... I highly doubt that Otis only challenged you to do all of those things. I mean, there had to be a drive within you to learn and to progress and to continue to push yourself. What are your thoughts on that?

Dot Mynahan: So I think serendipitously because Otis has this phenomenal employee benefit called the employee scholar program. So I actually took advantage of that benefit to finish my undergraduate degree and to get my MBA. So, I see it as being how lucky I am to work for a company that has that benefit that I could take advantage of.

Dot Mynahan: But you're right. I mean, a lot of these was agreeing to take the interview for the next step, and thinking like, "Why are they asking me to interview for this job?" But I think after the first couple of times of taking those interviews and taking the jobs and proving that I could do it to myself as well as to others, at that point in time, I started thinking ... In fact, I started answering interview questions differently when they said like, "Why do you want this job?"

Dot Mynahan: And I'm like, "Really, why do you want me? You know what I bring to the table. You know what I'm capable of doing. Is that what you need for this next role, if that's what you need to fill this position?" Because I brought a lot to the table, and I felt like I brought a lot to the table.

Dot Mynahan: So I think the part that came from within was just that confidence of saying like, "You know what? I think no matter what, I can do this job." And I think one of the lessons that I learned when I went out in the field, and this is probably for Otis where I first felt that, is when I went out in the field as a trainee and I was a helper, I went out to a construction site, and they're like, "Okay, run that chain fall and hoist that heavy piece of equipment."

Dot Mynahan: And I didn't have the upper body strength of the guys who were running the chain fall for years on construction sites. And I was so humiliated and so disappointed in myself that I couldn't deliver the performance that a peer could deliver. But then when it came time to wire up the controller, I did it without any errors. My wiring was all treed up. And the mechanic was like, "This is awesome. I don't have to check your work. I can trust your work."

Dot Mynahan: And I thought like, "Okay, so bring that skillset to the table." So I just have kind of done that same approach through all of these positions, is just take those learning lesson. And maybe I don't everything to the table these job requirements, but I think what we've seen statistically is that men will apply when they have 60% of the skills required for a job, and women will apply when they have a 100%.

Dot Mynahan: I no longer look at the 100%, I look at, do I think I can-

Sarah Nicastro: What am I bringing to the table?

Dot Mynahan: What am I bringing, right.

Sarah Nicastro: I hope that didn't ... I didn't mean that to come across as a criticism in any way of that answer. I was saying it only because I resonate a lot with ... And I've actually had a mentor of mine that I'll say, I'm really fortunate, I'm really lucky and I'm always pushed of, "Okay, maybe so but you've also worked really hard and you're also very talented, so don't underemphasize or minimize in your own mind or externally the value that you have."

Sarah Nicastro: And I just think that's an important point because I think that there can be a tendency to do that. The other thing though that your story made me think of is the really cool synergy that happens when you have an employer that recognizes, acknowledges and fosters that sense of worth and how that builds your confidence, and then how that kind of snowballs to continue expanding the value that you can bring to the company.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that that's a really cool thing to see happen. They believed in you, maybe a little bit before you started to say like, "Okay, I can do this." And then as you build that confidence, you realize, I can do more and more and more. Your value to them grows because they gave you those opportunities. They challenged you to learn and grow and that's really cool. I mean, I can see why you would stay around 30 years if you have the opportunity to do that.

Sarah Nicastro: I want to talk a little bit about, as a woman in field service, what are some of the most notable experiences, some of the lessons you've learned of being a woman in a field that is still in 2021 largely male dominated?

Dot Mynahan: One of the lessons I already talked about, going out in the fields and realizing I didn't bring what some of the men in the industry brought to the table but I brought other skills that were beneficial. And so, just kind of understanding my value to the team, maybe just in different areas. So I think that was really good.

Dot Mynahan: I think one of the other most notable experiences and this was incredibly challenging, is at the tail end of that field training program, my mentor at that time said, "What I want you to do is ... Over the final few months of this training program. As a supervisor in another office in New England goes on vacation, I want you to go to that office and be the supervisor for the week."

Dot Mynahan: So think about that. I'm going into an office, I know nobody. I don't know the field mechanics. I don't know anybody and I have to go in and I have to be a leader sitting at that desk and helping the field mechanics. And the reception oftentimes wasn't warm and fuzzy. They were like, "Who are you? My supervisor has 20 years of field experience. What do you bring to the table?"

Dot Mynahan: But it didn't take long. Sometimes I think they were challenging me. It didn't take long for them to realize I knew my parts. I knew how to order parts and get them to them quickly, and I knew the systems. So frustrations that they had where maybe a piece of equipment showed up and their paperwork that wasn't right, and nobody knew how to fix the systems, I knew how to fix them.

Dot Mynahan: And so what ended up happening is by the end of the week, I often had three or four mechanics waiting to speak to me before I left saying, "Before you leave, can you help me with this, this and this?" I think that was incredible experience because I had to learn how to go into some place cold, how to build relationships. But I also developed an incredible network that I still leverage to this day. There are still people from those offices both in the field and in the office that I still reach out to, to this day as part of my network.

Dot Mynahan: They'll oftentimes say, "Hey, remember when you came to our office and filled in for the supervisor?" That was just an incredible experience for me and really taught me that I could go in cold to an operation and make a difference. And I think I faced the biggest challenge after that was when I was asked to consider going to Latin America. I didn't speak Spanish, didn't speak Portuguese, had never been to Latin America.

Dot Mynahan: And they're saying, "Hey, would you be interested in talking to us about the director of field operations for Latin America?" I can remember being on the flight down to Brazil thinking like, I don't know anybody. It was such an odd experience. But I thought like, "You've done this before. You've done this before. You used to go into all these offices. You didn't know anybody, and you made it work. So go in with an open mind and see what they need."

Dot Mynahan: And sure enough, what they needed were all of the skills that I had that I could share. And the interesting thing was a lot of the people in the positions that I was helping in Latin America, they needed to learn English or to practice their English in order to be promoted, be considered for future promotions within the company. And so, a lot of times, it ended up being a very strong relationship where I might not speak Spanish or Portuguese well, but they really wanted to practice their English.

Dot Mynahan: And so, we made it a point to work together. I would help them with presentations. So I not only was making an impact in the field, but to them personally. And once again, that strong ability to network and I still talk to those people all the time as well.

Sarah Nicastro: That's good. So let me ask you a question about the construction example that you shared because I'm just thinking, staying on the field service topic, and how do we kind of welcome more women into field service roles. In a situation like that where there truly was a challenge in the sense of you couldn't lift the heavy equipment. You could do a lot of these other things and arguably do a lot of these other things better than some of the other folks doing them, but there was thing.

Sarah Nicastro: As an employer, so now, putting on your ... Later on, putting on your director hat, and for others listening, what's the resolution there so that ... Is it just team work? Is it some changes in the requirements? How do you get around that real challenge to be able to bring more women in? I appreciate you just had to deal with it personally and kind of find your own solution. But thinking of it from the director's side or from the employer's side, what are some of the ways to make the work more welcoming to women that can do 99% of the job?

Dot Mynahan: So I just want to be clear. I could do the work. I couldn't do the work as fast. I couldn't run a chain fall as fast the guy sitting beside me who run a chain fall for years. So, I could do it, but I felt like I was slow and it was just disappointing. But how do we make it more appealing to women? We have a member FORWARD which is the employee resource group that I co-started, one of our leaders in the Midwest region was a former new equipment mechanic and I don't even think she's 5' 2".

Dot Mynahan: But she knew how to use the tools available to her and the hoist available to her, and to ask for help from her apprentice. And she actually went from an apprentice to a mechanic and actually was promoted into a supervisory role. So I think one of the big things that I like to say is, and that we try to do through my employee resource group FORWARD, is to share those stories. Share pictures of women in the field.

Dot Mynahan: Otis has done a phenomenal job of doing professional photo shoots for some of these women in the field that we can use in materials that we go to recruit at job fairs. Say, "Look, here's a picture of a woman working on the elevators. Well, here's a picture of women working in escalators. You can do this work." And it's the highest paying trade. So you want to do this work. And I think that we've had a lot of success in Brazil, I hate to admit to bias, but I was biased myself.

Dot Mynahan: So we have a training program where we bring in apprentices every year and hire 40 apprentices to train. And so HR came to me and said, "How many women should we target to hire this year?" And I said, "Well, how many did we have last year?" They said, "Eight." I said, "Let's double it. Let's go to eight." My boss said, "What are you saying? Let's get half. Let's hire 20. 20 women, 20 men have gender parity."

Dot Mynahan: And the light bulb went off for me thinking like, "Why didn't I think of it like that?" And we actually changed how we posted for the job saying, "Women are encouraged to apply." There were 1,200 applicants, 400 were women. We went out and took photos of women working in the field and posted those with that recruitment, and we had gender parity in that class. And not only did we have gender parity in that class, but we've had gender parity in every class from that point on.

Sarah Nicastro: That's awesome. And that's kind of exactly the insight I was looking for, because maybe it sounds simple but something like those photos that builds that confidence, instead of you having to go out there and kind of feel uncomfortable and build it yourself, that helps Otis paint that picture of, "Hey, anyone can do this job. Women can do this job. It's a well-paying job. Look at these people doing it. This is something that is as applicable to you as it is to anyone else."

Sarah Nicastro: That's good. So let's talk about ... You obviously have a passion for mentoring and supporting other women, particularly in field service. Let's talk a little bit about why that's so important to you and then also why it's important to the industry for everyone to do a better job of mentoring women in service.

Dot Mynahan: Well, I think it's important to me just because of my background. I still ... I know you're going to disagree, I still think I was so lucky to find Otis and to find the trade that I just love. And so, I just feel like ... And I've been successful, and I feel an obligation to give back, to show other women this can happen. You can be successful. You can come into this trade. It's a great trade. It's a great industry. You can do this.

Dot Mynahan: So I think that that's really important. I think from a financial standpoint, if you want to get to the business bottom line, I think studies show that having women in senior leadership roles actually leads to better bottom line results. And so from a strictly financial standpoint, I think companies missed the ball when they don't have a diverse workforce.

Dot Mynahan: I mean, the diversity of thought, how I could do wiring better than the other person, it's a stronger team. One of our culture statements is we're stronger together and I really and truly believe that. And so what happened for mentoring, I also didn't understand what mentoring meant. I thought a mentoring relationship was I set aside one hour a week or month to meet with you. We have lunch, how are you doing? What do you need help with?

Dot Mynahan: But that's not what it is at all. It's actually a relationship that's owned by the mentee and you agree to be there for that person. So once I understood that and once I had one of my mentors tell me that he was mentoring 15 people, I realized that I could actually help influence 15 people. And then I met a peer of mine when I was in Latin America, I was the director of service operations and I met a peer who was the director of service operations in Singapore and we never knew of each other. She was another woman.

Dot Mynahan: And we met in Berlin for a safety conference, and we were walking down the street and I said, "If I can mentor 15 women in field operations, and you can mentor 15 women in the field operations, then we could change the lives of 30 women in the company. Wouldn't that be awesome?" And then we both looked at each other and said, "Do you know 15 women in field operations?" And the answer was no.

Dot Mynahan: So that's when we went to HR, and they suggested we start the employee resource group. So that we started FORWARD for women in the field operations, and now we've gone from an original group of 12 at the kickoff four years ago this month, to over 500 people worldwide.

Sarah Nicastro: That's awesome.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Just for the record, I do think you're lucky. I just think Otis is lucky too. That's all I was trying to say. No, and I know that feeling. So, no, that makes sense.

Sarah Nicastro: So let's talk a little bit then about, so you had this idea, you realized, "Okay, great. I could mentor 15 women in field ops, but where are they?" And then that's how the concept for FORWARD kind of initiated. Talk a little bit about exactly what FORWARD is, its intention, what it provides, how it's grown, and how you see its impact.

Dot Mynahan: So we started four years ago this month with a group of 12 women field leaders from across the US and actually we had representation from Canada and Latin America. And I think one of the biggest difference of why we were so successful is coincidentally the same week we were meeting in Connecticut to start this group and to meet each other and get this kicked off, the executive leadership team was meeting in Connecticut and our diversity inclusion person from World Headquarters who was helping us, April, she arranged for a social hour, a happy hour with the team.

Dot Mynahan: And when the executives came in and started talking to these women, we had a former Navy fighter pilot. We had a naval academy grad. We had the mechanic in the Midwest who became a supervisor. We had one of the apprentices from Brazil who was such a good troubleshooter that after two years, she became a help desk engineer helping other mechanics troubleshoot.

Dot Mynahan: And their eyes lit up. And they realized that we had hidden gems in our organization that the old adage, if you can't see it, you can't be it. I think that a light bulb went off for them that we have these resources that are under-utilized. And so, each of those women went back into their regions and started a smaller sub-regional group for FORWARD, and then it just continued to blossom.

Dot Mynahan: And the interesting thing is we say that we're there to help women in field operations, but in reality and if you look at our mission statement, we're there to help employees in field operations. So we do that through networking, through training, through support, and have regular calls and conferences in order to try to help grow all of our employees in field operations. And hopefully, we do focus a lot of our attention on women and then they will benefit from that as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Good. So what are some of the actions from those meetings or the resources that become available to these folks to help them in terms of progressing? Is it based solely around the connection and the communication or are there different sort of actions or insights, trainings, et cetera that are sort of a part of that as well?

Dot Mynahan: So we've done some technical training classes as part of the course, but I think the number one value of it is networking and sharing success stories. So each of us as leaders at some point in time or another has told our story about taking that chance, about taking the interview, sharing the statistic of men will apply when they have 60% of the credentials.

Dot Mynahan: And I think what's happened is through the normal kind of networking and mentoring relationships that have developed is when women see an opportunity posted in their office now, they'll usually retell to one of us and say, "Hey, I saw this posting. Do you think I should apply?"

Sarah Nicastro: And you say, yes?

Dot Mynahan: Why wouldn't you? Look at what you bring to the table. Look at everything that you bring to the table. Apply, put your name out there. And even if you don't get the job, because one of the things that I've made it a point to share with the women is I have not gotten every job that I've interviewed for, and that's okay, because I still put myself out there and I still met people who became part of my network. And sure enough, further along in my career, I've gotten to work with those people but the relationship had already started. So, I encourage women to do that in order to move forward.

Dot Mynahan: I think that it's a combination of just the support and the network. For a big win, this might seem small but it's not for our women. It's just we didn't have women's PPE. So, women's fall protection harnesses. We're just getting those lined up for our women. We've always said we'll just order the extra small and the smallest size those gloves come in are size seven. And so we've really put a concerted effort on women's uniforms, women's PPE. I think that those kind of benefits are things that never even crossed our mind as being a problem. We weren't even aware of it until FORWARD.

Sarah Nicastro: That's really a good point. And I think going back to what you mentioned earlier too when we were talking about the construction example with just the way you post a job description and the language you use. We've had some different episodes on the podcast that were more related to recruiting. But if you're looking to diversify in your recruiting, there is oftentimes some really bad habits ingrained that aren't malicious.

Sarah Nicastro: It's just you keep doing the thing you've been doing without stopping, reviewing and thinking, "Okay, wait a minute. How could this be perceived? Or how could we be more inclusive here? Or boy, we should really have uniforms made specifically for our women," or those sorts of things. So, I think that a lot of times making improvements in having better gender parity, making these roles more appealing and more accessible to women is just a matter of really slowing down for a minute and thinking, and just being a little bit more creative.

Sarah Nicastro: The other thing I liked is just emphasizing that value of connection. It's hard to feel like you're the first one doing a thing or you're the first one having a feeling about this role or this situation or this opportunity. And when you can connect and see so many examples of growth and evolution and maturity and learning and failure and all of those things, it normalizes all of it so that there's this collective, "Okay, we all can do this," and "I should apply for this job and I should learn this new thing."

Sarah Nicastro: It's just there is so much value in community, and I think that I'm glad that you have that passion and I'm glad that you took action on it and put that together, and the growth in four years is so super impressive. And you have to be really proud of thinking about the impact that's had on that many individual human beings and their confidence or their livelihood, all of that stuff.

Sarah Nicastro: If you were to give listeners advice or thoughts around the importance or the process of creating a program like FORWARD, what do you feel like you've learned that you should share?

Dot Mynahan: I think that there is a common misperception about employee resource groups, giving people an unfair advantage. In fact, when FORWARD first started and we had our first meetings, supervisors would reach out to me and say, "Well, how come women can attend those training sessions and I can't?" I'm like, "Oh, no. look at our mission statement. It's all employees. Please, join."

Dot Mynahan: And we started to see the attendance creep up with more and more men participating both to learn but also as allies because you not only have to have the women who are there but we have to have allies and those who will advocate for us.

Dot Mynahan: So, I think from a company to start an employee resource group, just find a leader. Find a couple of leaders who are willing to put forth an effort, who are willing to put themselves out there and take that chance, take that step and to be the face and the voice of women in field service and help other women succeed. I think that that's the big thing, is it can't be done for selfish reasons. I didn't co-found FORWARD for selfish reasons. Erika and I truly had it in our heart that we were trying to help 30 women. So, find those people in your organization that can do it and that can help.

Dot Mynahan: And the other key benefit, I think, that a lot of companies may not understand as well as I've learned is the employee assistance programs. When we think about employee assistance programs, we think about them in terms of counseling. When somebody has a problem, so we're going to leverage the employee assistance program and get them counseling. But in reality, the employee assistance programs are incredibly valuable resources for far more benefits than just counseling. They help during natural disasters and finding resources available in the local area for you.

Dot Mynahan: With COVID, we had them present several times throughout the year to us just all of the additional pressures on the women that it's okay to feel the way that you're feeling, the additional stresses at home, the people that had to homeschool who had kids. All of the additional burdens really started to add up and have negatively impacted women.

Dot Mynahan: So, I think that it's kind of ... I would recommend two specific actions. Number one, start and employee resource group, and I think that's a huge help and it's not hard to do. And number two is really leverage your employee assistance group to help with resources and benefits that will encourage women and help women be successful. As they take on these new roles, as they have doubts and concerns about themselves, they have outside support as well as internal support.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. So you kind of segue to the next thing I wanted to talk about which is I've been reading a lot of the data around how COVID has impacted working women and especially working moms. It makes me really sad. I have two children, four and five-year-old boys, and I am incredibly fortunate to be in a role with an organization that is supremely supportive of doing whatever it takes to juggle it all and understanding that this last year has been crazy times and just the best support.

Sarah Nicastro: So, to see how this is impacting so many women that aren't that fortunate, it just makes me really sad. I've worked really hard on my career, and it's really important to me. And I know that it is equally important to a lot of these women that have found themselves having to give it up. And I'm just curious outside of what you just mentioned about the employee assistance, what other thoughts do you have on how ... This isn't have to specific to field service necessarily or it can be, but just how companies and leaders need to be responding to support working moms and also to think ahead a bit about as hopefully we recover from this, how can we put an effort on bringing those women back into the workforce and giving them, not just handing them their careers back, but how do we make a space for them?

Dot Mynahan: Yeah. I mean, that's a great question. I was looking at a research from McKinsey and LeanIn that said basically one out of four women have stepped away during COVID from their careers, and one of five men. So, the impact to women is greater than to men. And we're looking at also additional workload at home, that there's an additional three hours of work at home to women versus men.

Dot Mynahan: And so it's just an incredible burden that we've asked these women to shoulder. One of the things that I've seen done successfully by UTC when Otis was a part of UTC is how to welcome ... They had a special program welcoming women back to careers who had taken a break for either to have children or because of COVID and the impact of COVID, and having specific programs designed to say, "We welcome you back. Please come back and join us."

Dot Mynahan: And I think that for us at Otis, we're going to do the same thing. We have done a phenomenal job with transitioning to remote work, supporting remote work, really being understanding with our teams. I mean last ... oh, god, it was probably end of October, beginning of November, in my weekly staff calls with my team, I could hear the fatigue. And it's all men but I could ... from my direct reports ... but I could hear the fatigue in their voices. They just were tired.

Dot Mynahan: And I stopped the meeting and I said, "Here's the deal. I can hear that you're there. You're at the breaking point. So what I want you to do is sometime whenever it makes sense to you, take a play day. Just take a play day. Just take the day off. Send me a note. Let me know. Text me, I don't care, and just say, 'You know what? I need a play day,' and go do something fun for yourself, with your family, whatever you need to just kind of get that break we all need." And that was so successful, even just the offer of doing that was so well received. And you could just feel the tension break and really just helped reset everybody.

Dot Mynahan: So, I mean I think we've done a lot. I really, really, really can't stress enough how important employee assistance programs are. There are so many resources available through employee assistance programs for childcare, finding childcare, finding eldercare, financial assistance like where can I find financial assistance. That's a benefit that I think a lot of people have that they don't realize that they have.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. That's a good point. I mean it's obviously a very multifaceted issue, right? There is a lot of societal things and all sorts of stuff that comes into play. It's not like any employer or group of employers could have prevented that data. But I do think that first of all, kudos to the companies that have responded well and have done anything and everything in their power to create a more flexible environment. And to take into consideration the mental load for all of us and to acknowledge that to do what you can to give people some breathing room.

Sarah Nicastro: I think the other big thing I think about is, to your point, like the welcome back idea. There is going to be a real thing that hopefully when these women are in a position to reenter the workforce and they have this gap ... I know just talking from moms that have taken time off. It's like, "Well, now I can't find a job because I have three, five years on my resume where I wasn't working."

Sarah Nicastro: So, things like that like understanding, "Well, hey, there's a really big reason right here why so women and men were forced to do this. Let's be understanding." Just think about how we make accommodations for that in terms of our hiring and things like that. It's just, yeah, I hope we make some good progress.

Dot Mynahan: I bet there's a bunch of hidden gems out there, right? I mean I think that's the thing, like go past those gaps and look for those hidden gems. They're out there. They want to come back and giving them that opportunity is just the right thing to do.

Sarah Nicastro: I'm not trying to get too off topic, but this just made me think of a thought which is if service organizations are being strategic about the fact that this has happened, welcome them into service. Look for some skillsets that maybe in different industries that maybe could be useful in your organization. And go recruit those people. Think about how you can not only help them, but you use that as an opportunity to market a field that maybe those women never thought about getting into before. So, just a thought.

Dot Mynahan: No, it's a great thought and it's the thoughtfulness. It's not only thinking about it but trying to come up with a plan and measure yourself to that because once you start measuring yourself to a goal, you're likely to achieve that.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes. And that's a good point. Any consideration or support or allyship, it's one thing to say it. It's another thing to take action. So, it's good if people are understanding that this is a real challenge but what can we as leaders, what can we as organizations do to help build some resolution to this problem over the coming years.

Sarah Nicastro: The international women's day theme for this year is Choose to Challenge. It says, "From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge." So, I wanted to ask how do you challenge gender bias and inequality and how maybe is that different for you now versus 30 years ago when you were first starting out in your career with Otis?

Dot Mynahan: I think it's markedly different. There are more women in field operations roles. We've been celebrating them now for four years with FORWARD and really sharing their stories. So, the conversations have become so much easier. Before FORWARD, before we had this opportunity to really highlight all of these hidden gems I call them, the conversation would always be a struggle. You'd have to be fighting for them. "But she can do this, and she can do this, and she can do this."

Dot Mynahan: And now, I just feel like you bring up their name and they're like, "Oh, yeah. She's done a great job in this past role. Yeah, we should consider her." So, it's just kind of changing the ... It's changed the discussion. It really has changed the discussion and I truly believed that the, "If you see it, you can be it" adage holds true and that we've done a great job within the company to have a lot of pictures of women in field operations which has helped that discussion as well.

Dot Mynahan: We're the only employee resource group right now at Otis that reaches out and includes our women field employees, so we're challenging ourselves as how do we get more women into the apprenticeship program to have a feeder system of women coming into the field. And that requires a change in the way that we approach recruitment and outreach and how do we find other women. But I think we really, I think, celebrate women and the success in a way that because of the success stories that we shared and because the conversations have occurred and they're occurring regularly, it's happening more organically now for us.

Dot Mynahan: And hopefully as other companies follow suit, the same thing happens. We're doing these shirts for International Women's Day with FORWARD and Otis on them and wearing purple. And we had these masks made up for them as well. And it's just all about, okay, go out. Be in the field. Take a selfie. Share it. Share it on social media. Share what you do and really get out there and celebrate what women can do in field operations.

Sarah Nicastro: To hear about the progress and how much has changed and how it's being celebrated at Otis, it's really, really cool and refreshing and good. I know there are still organizations out there that need to make far more progress than they have. And I guess last question on the idea of challenging, which would be if you went back to some of your earlier experiences where it wasn't quite as normalized and it was a little bit more uncomfortable to speak up if you saw something unfair or that sort of thing, what advice do you have for people that are in situations that they do need to challenge what's being said or done or what that status quo is. Is there any thoughts you have on how to challenge effectively?

Dot Mynahan: I think that part of the ... And we have this happen on a regular basis. We have a lot of women in the fields who are the only woman in there, local. So, they don't even know any other woman in the trade. So, I think just trying to make those connections happen by giving women support, I put my name. I put my cellphone number out there, my email address. I'm like, "Text me if you have a problem." I've gotten calls all hours of the day and night from women or text messages saying like, "Hey, I need to talk to you."

Dot Mynahan: And oftentimes, it's either just like, "Look, I can understand what you're saying, but I think this mechanic would be a good resource for you to bounce things off of." Or sometimes, I'm like, "You know what? Let's get you talking to labor relations and how to handle situations, their unionized employees, how to help with that." I think it's just for me trying to get make those connections and allow the woman names of people that they can call for help.

Dot Mynahan: So, we have kind of two tiers of help. We have kind of the FORWARD tier in leadership ... Well, actually three. I would say we've got the FORWARD leadership team and all of our FORWARD members who will help each other. We have the company resources that are out there. And then we have the sisterhood of the IUEC, the International Union of Elevator Constructors. We have a group of women there who will openly share their names and phone numbers and email addresses to other women who are coming into the trade.

Dot Mynahan: So as we're hiring new women into the trade, I'm trying to connect them to the other women in the trade.

Sarah Nicastro: But I really like that point, Dot, because knowing that there are women that aren't working around other women that may run into situations that they feel they need to challenge, maybe they will have the confidence or the desire to just challenge in the moment, but give them a safe space if that's not the case, right?

Sarah Nicastro: So, by you offering yourself as a personal advocate, "You can reach out to me anytime. You can text me, you can email me," you're a safe place for them to go if they're not comfortable challenging someone else in their reporting line or what have you, to help them feel that they're not alone. I think that's a really good point. So, how can other women leaders act as that even personal advocate for other women in different positions in a way that, "Hey, if you need something, anything, reach out"? So instead of them maybe keeping it in, they can come to you and find a way to get that out.

Dot Mynahan: Yeah. And I think that there's another key piece to the puzzle. It's not just women leaders who should be allies, right? And so one of the programs that we did last year, we got the idea from the iron workers is we have the special stickers and cards that the women can give to allies, to give to mechanics who gave them a fair shot to thank them but to give them a sticker they could put on their hard hat. And then if another woman comes on to that job and sees that mechanic with that sticker, she will know that that mechanic was willing to give another woman a fair shot and was thanked for that.

Dot Mynahan: And so, we're trying to even strengthen our ally network out there in the field and try to make it a visible indication so that you're not out there alone. There are men who are very supportive of women in the field, and we're just trying to leverage that network as well.

Sarah Nicastro: That's a really good point. Okay, Dot, last question for you. What advice would you give your younger self?

Dot Mynahan: God, I hate this question.

Sarah Nicastro: You're welcome.

Dot Mynahan: No, because I have this whole mentality where I never have a regret. I might apologize for something I've done but I can't regret it because to me, it was a lesson. So, I would say probably two things. Education is key. I think it took me a long time to get to the point where I got my college degree and I should have stuck with it earlier on and I didn't. So, I think whether it'd be through college education, a trade, apprenticeship program, anything education is key. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.

Dot Mynahan: I think that the other thing that was probably a really hard lesson for me to learn is I'm fiercely independent. And I never believed in study groups or work groups. I wanted to do it myself and figure it out myself, and I have really learned that I'm an idiot, that those groups and the diversity of thought and the strength in numbers and just the different creative approaches to solving problems is just phenomenal. And I think that I would look back at my younger self and say, "Join those study groups. Join those work groups and take advantage of not only the networking capabilities but to just hear the diversity of thought, to hear different approaches to solving a problem."

Dot Mynahan: I'm in a DE&I training class right now, and we got a homework assignment. And it was a minor homework assignment, and I thought, "Oh, I could get this done in like 10 minutes." But I put together a working group, a homework group and I invited like five other people in the class to it and it was the best discussion. And we really went so much further with the material than what was intended from the homework assignment, and I kicked myself I didn't learn that lesson earlier.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, do you think ... I said one more question, and I lied because I can't resist. Do you think that that willingness to let go of some of that independence happened as you gained confidence?

Dot Mynahan: Oh, that's a really good question. I have to think about that. Maybe a piece of it is, but I think it's just kind of forced participation into those groups. That was the door that opened where I was just like a light bulb went off and I'm like, "Oh, my god, this is awesome. I never would have thought about approaching this problem that way, but that's really creative."

Dot Mynahan: And so I think just experience of being pushed into those groups has ...

Sarah Nicastro: You saw the value.

Dot Mynahan: I saw the light.

Sarah Nicastro: I asked that because there's so much of what you've said today that I really resonated with. But I am fiercely independent, and I think that ... I also have a psychology degree, so forgive me for going deep on all of these things. But I think at the root of that, I'm fiercely independent because I feel like I need to control and improve my own worth.

Sarah Nicastro: And so I think that as my confidence has increased, I've been willing to relinquish a little bit of that independence or control because I recognized the benefit of others' opinions because I'm more confident in my own. So, instead of feeling like I have to know it all, I have to be able to do everything myself because I need to prove that I'm worthy and I'm capable, now it's kind of like, "Yeah, I actually don't really know this. So, like let's get a group together and do some brainstorming because I'm good at this thing but I'm not good at these other things." And that confidence in being able to admit that has taken some time.

Dot Mynahan: Yeah, and I think seeing working groups as asking for help, and it's not. And I think that that was the other kind of piece of the puzzle there.

Sarah Nicastro: No, you're right. It goes back to that diversity of thought. You can learn so much just by engaging. Honestly, I mean I loved doing these podcasts for that exact reason. I mean it's not a group. It's a one-on-one but the different things that it makes me think about or reflect on or the concepts that surface is just really cool.

Sarah Nicastro: Really appreciate your time, Dot, and you sharing so openly. I have very much enjoyed our conversation, so thank you.

Dot Mynahan: Thank you, Sarah. It's been my pleasure to speak with you today. And I would just say for anybody, I am on LinkedIn. So, if anybody from another company has questions or concerns, they can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I'm more than happy to help.

Sarah Nicastro: Thank you for that. You can find more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter, @TheFutureOfFS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more about IFS service management by visiting www.ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.

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