Live Tour Paris Highlights | Future of Field Service
Customer Experience

Live Tour Paris Highlights

Sarah reports in from her travels with the three key topics discussed at the first Future of Field Service Live Tour stop in Paris.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service Podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. I’m excited to be reporting to you that the Paris event just finished. We wrapped our first stop of the global live tour in Paris. The event went really, really well. And it was very exciting to see Future of Field Service come to life in the in-person forum. So I wanted to share some of the key takeaways with you all, and thought I would do a solo podcast this week to share some of the big topics of discussion. So I had four great speakers join; Jean, Roel, Jean-Claude, and Laurent. So thanks to you all for being a part of the event. I’m happy to have you there with me. And we had a great audience as well. There was a lot of discussion, and there were some key part that came out that I want to recap with you all.

Sarah Nicastro: We did record some of the content, and we are planning to make some of that available in its entirety in a bit. But in the meantime, just to share some of the content from the day, I thought I would just do a little recap. So I’m going to go through three key points that I think are very relevant that came up. The first is the talent gap, which I’m sure is no surprise to anyone because we talk about that a lot. And we all know it’s a very big challenge. What was interesting about the conversation at the event is that the talent gap came up, not so much in what I would say is the typical sense, which is talking about how we modernize our recruiting, and hiring, and retention processes to make them more effective for today’s landscape, but rather how we do need to do that.

Sarah Nicastro: But the conversation we had at the event was around how we marry that with different strategies and tools to offset what we need to do from the labor perspective. So part of that discussion was around making sure that we have connected assets, and we’re leveraging data and insights, as well as automation to ease the burden on the frontline workforce. There was a huge conversation around remote service. And I did write an article about that specifically. That should be on the site that ran on Monday. And the conversation around remote service had a lot to do with the fact that that can really be one of the key ways that we navigate the issues that exist with talent by making sure that we are being smart about how we diagnose, resolve remotely when we can, but are more prepared for what we find when we go on site.

Sarah Nicastro: So, essentially making sure that we are maximizing the utilization of the resources we do have by not wasting their time. So that was an important point. The other thing that came up related to this topic from a strategy perspective is will we need to look differently at how we segment or categorize types of frontline workforce. So traditionally, you have a field technician and they’re sort of a one size fits all type of person. And that’s really the way the job’s been built. As things change, what we talked about is do you segment that in a way where you have the technical worker who does the actual mechanical work? Do you have someone who is more responsible for the data and the insights? Someone who then is responsible for more of the relationship and the trusted advisor status?

Sarah Nicastro: So in the future, will there be more of a need to revisit how we look at those roles and break them out into different aspects? So that was the first, I think, really big topic of discussion. The second was around the fact that we need to realize, and I guess, evangelize that service transformation needs to be viewed as business transformation. So, in situations where it isn’t, and we had some folks that shared openly about their challenges, those organizations are really seeing incremental improvement versus true innovation. Because the recognition of the opportunity that service presents just isn’t there. And so, it really holds those organizations back from making the progress that they need to make.

Sarah Nicastro: So this has to do with a few things. I think the first is really leadership. It’s an opportunity that needs to be recognized at the top for it to get the support that it needs. And we had a really big conversation that was very interesting around, how do we sell this? And a conversation about the historical way that a lot of companies do business, which is based heavily on short term results. And how do we, obviously, not ignore that, but allow space to innovate and look at more of a longer term payback. And so, I don’t know that there was an easy answer that came out of this, but some folks did share things that they’ve done in terms of piloting innovation in a small area of the business to prove it’s worth. And then look at scaling and expanding that.

Sarah Nicastro: Different strategies for looking at metrics that do emphasize, if not the opportunities that exist, the challenges that exist in service that help leadership understand the need to make a change, things like that. But I think that really we need to be, as an industry, looking at how do we explain, summarize, and sell the service proposition as a business proposition, not a service proposition. Because I think that’s something that companies are getting hung up on. So that was the second big area of conversation. And the third was around people. And so, obviously, we talked a lot about technology. And we all know that technology is a very critical tool, certainly in the digital age. In the age of data and information, you really cannot do business today without making sure that you have a strong technological foundation. But everyone, I think, agrees that people need to come first in everything that we do.

Sarah Nicastro: And so, that is both customers as people, and our customers leading the change and the innovation that we’re driving. And there was a good amount of discussion around that. Are we doing these things because we think they’re what’s needed, or we see others doing them? Or are we doing these things because they are going to help our customers solve business problems? So customer intimacy, and then the idea of change management and certainly employee engagement. That was a huge part of conversation related to the talent issue. Do our employees feel valued? Do they feel recognized? Does our frontline workforce feel as important to our organization as other titles? And so, that perspective, understanding what it is that today’s talent wants, and are we changing the way we need to be able to give that?

Sarah Nicastro: We talked about career paths and opportunities for growth within the business, and a lot of those things. And then we had a conversation around the interaction between customers and the frontline workforce. And if the future of service, as we move towards civilization and outcomes, depends on companies achieving that trusted advisor status, then are we treating those employees like the valuable knowledge workers that they are? Are we making them feel valued and empowered to build and nurture those relationships? And giving them the upscaling they need to do that. And revisiting the roles to see if it makes sense to segment technicians who are capable and are interested in doing those things versus those who are not.

Sarah Nicastro: So all in all, people are still at the heart of what has very much become a technology business. And I think that’s something that no one in the room will forget anytime soon. It was a big part of the discussion. So those are three of the main things that came out. You can stay tuned. I’ll certainly be doing more coverage on the content from the event. And as I said, we did record the sessions and we do plan to, hopefully, share some of the content with you in its whole form. What we did was interview-based sessions, so a lot like live podcasts so they would be a perfect fit to share on this platform. So stay tuned for those.

Sarah Nicastro: In the meantime, this was the first of five cities on our tour. We have London coming up on May 5th, Frankfurt on May 19th, Stockholm, May 24th, and Austin, Texas on June 14th. So I would love for you to join us. The feedback on the event was very positive, which made me incredibly happy. And I am looking forward to great events in the upcoming cities. So if you haven’t taken a look yet, you can find the agenda for each location and all of the information on registration by visiting the website and just looking under Live Tour. So thank you for listening, and stay tuned for more. And we hope to see you at an upcoming city soon. Visit the website at www.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 at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.