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What do your customers value? Do they think your products or machines are the most innovative? Do they just love your salespeople? Do your customers enjoy chatting with the contact center during their lunch breaks?

Value is definitely more of art than a science. But, I think your customers value that when/if something breaks, a field technician can be on site quickly to solve the problem with minimal effort, lost productivity, or disruption on their part. Even better yet, your customers would love to have service prevent failures in the first place.

However, as seen in Aberdeen Group’s recent Field Service Knowledge Management research (February 2016), the field team is aging AND the rest of the organization doesn’t have visibility into the value being captured or delivered in the field. These two factors individually would be troubling, but together they have the chance to create the perfect storm. What happens if your organization loses a sizable number of technicians this quarter? Is there combined expertise stored somewhere or is it all tribal knowledge? Does your sales team understand that field service actually drives value in many of their customer interactions, or are technicians viewed as those guys and gals that show up late to customers and don’t ever fix an issue on the first call? Does your marketing team create marketing materials touting how great your field service team is or is the focus always on the latest improvement of that machine?

These questions aren’t meant to scare you, but they should challenge you. Top performing organizations are using knowledge management tools to not only capture insights on when a work order is closed but also to open up a window into the entire customer-to-field service technician interaction. This insight will not only ensure that best practices and tribal knowledge can be passed on to the next generation of field techs (those looming millennials), but is also helps extend a rope to other functions of the business detailing how the field team can add value to their roles.

The transformation going on in field service right now is quite exciting. Reactive, to proactive, and eventually to predictive is still on the minds of many service leaders. But to add to that constant effort, what will field service look like when all of these experienced technicians exit the business? To learn more about how top performing service organizations and manufacturers leverage knowledge management capabilities to drive excellence in service, please download my latest report HERE.

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