In a recent article on Field Service Digital, Frances Frei, a professor of service management at Harvard Business School and author of “Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business,” shared some valuable insights about how executives can avoid “exhausted mediocrity” and deliver great field service:
"If I want a culture of service or of customer-centricity, the question I have to ask myself is, “How can I crawl into the minds of my employees and get them to believe that we think about the customer first?” What I can’t do is tell them in the morning I want you to be efficient at all expense, and in the afternoon I want you to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer. I’m not guiding discretionary behavior. I’m giving mixed signals."
Here at ServiceMax, it is a main function of my role as Vice President of Customer Success to focus on the Customer Voice and incorporate it into all elements of our business.
What is the Customer Voice?
The voice of the customer is often overused as a buzzword, but, for me, it is quite simply information you get directly from the customer - via Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, feedback via support, interactions in the community, engagement in the user groups and a whole bunch of other data points, it is what you are hearing back from your customers through a myriad of different channels.
How do you communicate the Customer Voice across the organization?
There are a few tactical measures we have put together to ensure the voice of the customer is highlighted across the organization:
- NPS survey cross-functional team - Stakeholders across all departments involved in the process; sharing ownership of collecting responses, responding to feedback, and planning for the future.
- Launching this community: Everyone understood that this program was built from customer feedback about a need for a centralized hub for customer resources and field service collaboration.
- At other companies the messaging might end up being, “Let’s do this because our executives want to see it done”. As a company, ServiceMax understood we were saying; “Let’s do it because out customers are asking for it”.
- Across all of these programs, we are investing in one goal: At a company-wide level - everyone is aware of what our customers are saying about us and everyone knows how we are using that information to invest in our continuous improvement. That is powerful.
How do top customers make sure they are nurturing a customer-centric field service organization?
I’ve had the pleasure to partner with a number of accomplished and innovative customer contacts and I can see how they are ensuring that their whole organizations, from the field service organization and beyond, are operating in a customer-centric way.
- Some of the most successful programs are making sure that the field service team have on-site knowledge access: detailed customer information at their fingertips. Not just the maintenance history on a product - but a full 360 degree view of the customer. Our most successful customers know that the field service technician is their company’s face. They are on-site and the front line talking to their customers; investing in your Field Service Technicians ability to to do their job well is one of the most critical things you can do.
If they know the customer well, they can come in prepared with essential details
- When is the contract up for renewal?
- Is there a bid opportunity open?
- How many times have we had to service?
- Who is most on the line here?
- When I come out and fix a machine, how can I best help them?
The number one priority is to get the machine serviced. But if they go in with personalized, humanized details, it makes it more likely that the customer will open up to you, share more information, and that will make for a better customer relationship which will lead to a better revenue stream.
Please join the conversation and let me know your insights!
How do you build a customer-centric culture?
What tactics do you use? What training?
How is that reinforced internally?