In one week, I will be attending this year’s Field Service East event in Atlanta (September 15 – 17). Often times, trade shows can be viewed with a sigh as just another excuse to sneak away from the office and rack up a modest expense bill (not me of course). But I am not so cynical (at least with this event). In looking at the agenda, I am intrigued by a number of timely topics which will be highlighted over the two and half day event. Field service continues to be at the forefront of transformation for many organizations across industry segments. As seen in my 2014 field service research, the field is looked to in order to combat challenges such as reduced margins, changing customer dynamics, and competition. A field tech not only turns wrenches, they also play an integral role in delivering a customer experience that stays in the mind of one of your most important stakeholders (i.e., the customer). For this reason, a few sessions and themes caught my eye and I look forward to sitting in on them:
- Sales needs the field. Many organizations have been driven by their sales teams, and have neglected to capitalize on the valuable insight coming from front-line employees (e.g. field technicians). Technicians have the ability to capture information on customer habits, use behavior, needs (current and future), while also building a rapport as the hero of the day. Could this information not help to close a few more deals in the future? Some compelling data points if you have interest in how the Best-in-Class align the sales and field teams.
- Still too reactive, why can’t we get to preventive service. The evolution from reactive, to proactive, to predictive still seems to be a struggle for many organizations. Key to this problem is not having the right data at the time to make a decision. Service demand moves too quickly for organizations to be tethered to “gut feel”. Top performing organizations leverage analytics to better forecast future needs, while also using this insight to proactively schedule service to resolve issues before they occur.
- Service culture at the heart of a customer-driven organization. Customers have more power than ever before. And with that power comes the increased importance of those who interact with the customer on a daily (or more frequent) basis. Service is no longer just the responsibility of the field team or call center, a truly transformative service initiative must be felt throughout the organization. Collaboration, interaction, knowledge sharing, and mutual respect are all keys to ensuring the entire organization works for the common goal of excelling at delivering quality experiences to the customer.
- Smart machines have the promise of better resolution. The Internet of Things is a concept which is beginning to bear fruit for many service organizations. As seen in some of my research on the topic, the value isn’t solely in machines talking to machines. However the value is in the ability to take performance and machine data and turn that into intelligence which helps improve efficiency, resolution, and ultimately the customer experience.
These are just a few of the topics and themes I am excited to participate in next week in Atlanta. The agenda is filled with a number of other topics, so to learn more about Field Service East, check out their agenda. Also, if you have room in your schedule and would like to attend feel free to sign up. I hope to see you next week, if not I will be sure to post a recap blog later this month.