Learn How to Set the Vision and Strategy That Turns Service into a Growth Engine

In case you’re late to the party, we’re here at Field Service USA 2017, live blogging and recapping some of the week’s best performance workshops, interactive working groups, content sessions, and more.

Yesterday, we heard from Sarah O’Brien of Sears Holding Corporation on leading change and business transformation in field service, and then from Mark Bloom, Senior Director of Strategy & Operations at The Service Cloud of Salesforce, on delivering conversational field service to elevate the customer experience.

To finish out the day, we sat down with Terry Diaferio, Senior Director North American Service, and Joseph Molesky, Senior National Operations Manager, both of the Tennant Company. The two discussed what all it takes to set the vision and strategy within your organization to turn service into a growth engine.

Growth takes time. There are dozens of elements to take into account when you are going down a growth path. But why are people wanting to talk about growth so much?

  • Growth turns a cost center into a profit center.
  • Growth generates more revenue by increasing touchpoints with customers.
  • Growth encourages our dealers with more business.

With growth, sales and service are constantly increasing. But how do you continue that growth, at scale?

The decision here really comes down to this: do you want to build a cost model or a profit model? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with building a cost model to grow sales. But if you want to build something to be a hyper-growth engine, you have to build it differently.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint that will work for every organization. Every business is different, and you have to understand yours inside and out in order to make it work for your organization.

To start, let’s talk about current reality: Who are you today? What are you today? You need to know who you are before you can tell yourself who you want to become. To truly know who you are, answer these questions:

  • What do you know about your transformation team? (This is a TEAM shift – not an individual shift.)
  • What do you know about your business?
  • Are you certain what you know is accurate? (And how do you know?)
  • Who should you be talking to besides internal people? Do you have dispatchers, partners, distributors?  Gather data about how people view your business.

Let’s start with your transformational team: Who are you taking on this journey? What is their current role? How long have they been working in the business? What are their unique experiences? Essentially — what do they bring to the table? Can your current leaders make the journey – can they see the opportunity? Where are your gaps?

Now, when you’re answering these questions, don’t focus on the numbers. Numbers are a lagging metric. Instead, track customer facing metrics that you can control (i.e. first time fix rate). Track metrics that you can actually do something about right now, and give field service managers metrics they can control — not financial metrics they can’t.

Next, validate what your customers want. After all, they’re the people that drive the ship. Look at your customers and figure out what it is that drives them. Do they buy in a planned maintenance? Do they expect rapid response? For example, scheduled planned maintenance is VERY different, and if they don’t care about the planned maintenance – then you can infer that they care about simply getting it fixed when they need it.

The dirty little secret? While we all want to talk about value, there are some customers that just want to pay less. When low cost is a factor to your customer, you have to be able to recognize that up front and talk to them in a way that your value will appeal to them on a cost level.

In the aftermarket, for example, is a huge hidden profit opportunity. Of course, selling better service will grow your business from a customer experience standpoint, but remember – you’re talking to a customer whose priority is in the cost value, not the experience. This is where a modern pricing strategy in your after-sales process is crucial. From making your field service technicians more effective (read: cost-efficient) to adjusting pricing and inventory strategies to drive consumables, you have to create a cost-driven model in your after-sales process.

One example is planning for rotable parts, which is different than planning for consumable parts. Automated service part inventory management systems provide advanced optimization for rotable items and dynamic inventory policies. Inventory management systems manage scenarios that take into account the repair lead time vs. supplier lead time, along with the effect of scrapping – all of which drive cost in the aftermarket.

The point is: Figure out what growth engine strategy is most important your business. Make sure it’s aligned with sales, as they’re a crucial part of your transformation team. Communicate your vision and growth strategy, and make sure the what and why is understood by all. People don’t like or dislike your strategy, they dislike misunderstanding, so talk often and early and understand their current view. Explain the differences in their current view and the transformation strategy, then seek to understand their concerns.

The goal here is to be 100% certain that your leaders are capable to lead a transformation, because, without them, you’ve lost your growth engine before you’ve even begun.

Stay with us as we continue to live-stream the content from Field Service USA, and make sure to follow us in the app and on social to get the full event experience!