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December 5, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Field Service Battle Cry: Stop Reacting to Change, Start Driving It

December 5, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Field Service Battle Cry: Stop Reacting to Change, Start Driving It

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

At Field Service Europe in Amsterdam last week, Jean-Claude Jobard, VP EMEA at Marmon Link, gave one of the most impassioned keynotes I remember listening to. He stated in his introduction, “I love service. Service is my life – I’ve been in this industry for 36 years.” As someone who is also quite emotionally connected to my work, his genuine statement really resonated with me and I believe with many others in the room, too. 

Jean-Claude went on to talk about his belief that service has no limits – but that there are ways companies are limiting themselves. He began by discussing some of the change that has occurred since March 2020 – recapping of course Covid, but also Supply Chain disruption, mass exits in the job market, inflation and economic turbulence, the energy crisis, and even war. You may be thinking, wow – what a depressing speech! But it wasn’t. Jean-Claude was quick to point out how crisis has made service stronger. 

This is where his excitement for the potential that exists in service comes in – and that excitement is contagious. It’s really cool to see a leader who, even after 36 years in their industry, is so bullish on the amount of opportunity that is on the horizon. Jean-Claude isn’t dissuaded by the idea of change; he’s emboldened by it. And that was really the crux of this keynote – it was a battle cry of sorts for service leaders to stop reacting to change or resisting change and begin embracing and driving it. 

It’s Time to Hit the Gas on Areas of Service Opportunity

Jean-Claude went on to discuss some of the areas of service that, on the surface, have changed since Covid began. But the question he begged is, “what has really changed?” In his view, not as much as we like to think. The areas many point to as having gained traction, he feels, are more of a reactionary change than an intentional, and therefore longer-lasting, change. Here are some of the areas Jean-Claude reflected on to consider how much opportunity remains for those willing to take the initiative:

  • Remote Service. “We saw an uptick in use of remote support when Covid hit, but use eased when travel began again,” says Jean-Claude. “Its use has increased, but it isn’t embedded yet and this is an area we need to push because there’s immense potential.”
  • Advanced Services. “I don’t think there’s been a significant change here – companies on the journey continue the journey,” he says. “But we know that delivering outcomes and sharing risk is important to customers, especially in times of uncertainty. We 
  • Resources. “Has it ever been easy to find field service resources?” Jean-Claude asks. “No. If you look at job descriptions from 20 years ago, are they different? How are we making this industry attractive to new hires? Today’s FSEs are more Customer Service Engineers. We complain, but we really need to change how we market, treat, and reward these jobs. We should also be examining the possibilities that exist to share resources among companies. Why not?”
  • Sustainability. “There has been no significant change here overall,” says Jean-Claude. “We’re still sending technicians all over the world, we’re not helping customers reduce energy consumption. Remote capabilities play a huge role here, and so does reducing energy consumption, remanufacturing, and recycling.”

As Jean-Claude said at one point, “We’ve learned that what we thought to be impossible in March 2020 is possible now.” Rather than ignoring that knowledge in favor of complacency, Jean-Claude’s message is to become excited about what we’ve proven we can do and harness that excitement into forward momentum. Service has no limits, except for those who choose to sit still.