There's nothing I can do; I just work here...
During a recent “service exchange” at a restaurant with a colleague, we ventured into our choice of establishments looking forward to an engaging conversation. Unfortunately, the restaurant we choose had music blaring over the sound system; there was no one else in the place (perhaps, we should have been more observant) and when my colleague asked the Hostess “Could you please turn the music down”; the response was “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do, it is controlled by corporate”. While I suppose that could very well be the case, having been in the Field Service space for my entire career, I found the response, not very “customer resolution” orientated.
I would guess that is stands the test of time, that the one thing a Customer expects during a service exchange is “resolution”; pick the industry, pick the type of service, establish the setting and the expectation from the Customer is probably going to consistently be “resolution” to their expectation. Of course, the “expectation” piece can take on a world of its own; but, generally, if I’m getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks, getting my washing machine fixed, having a problem with my Internet service or purchasing a product or service for my home; my “Number One” object as a Customer is to get resolution.
For those of us in the Field Service space, we all know that the more we can complete during the course of a day, while limiting the number of attempts it takes us to get it completed; we create space for our service or product to grow. Regardless, of what your business may involve; I would think two objects come to mind for a Service executive each day; stay relevant and generate revenue. Unfortunately, there have been a number of examples in the business world where one or both of those objectives were not accomplished on a consistent basis and those companies no longer exists and to establish and grow a Customer base to keep your Service Teams “productive” and give them a reasons to be “efficient”, your objective is to deliver your service in a timely manner with the ultimate outcome being “resolution” in a manner that differentiates you from your competition.
People are a “key” to productivity and efficiency throughout an organization, regardless of the service or product
I believe that service Leadership impacts both your Internal (your associates) and External (your Customers), you want to have an organization that treats your associates in a manner that makes them want to go to work every day and delight those they have the opportunities to provide your service for each that opportunity presents itself. Creating an environment that is safe, well maintained with quality products are a few aspects that when incorporated with tools to deliver the World Class experience, creates the opportunity to attract and maintain World Class Team Members…People, Tools and Process!
Creating a culture of Service at your company starts and ends with Leadership (People), in my opinion there is a difference between “managing” people and “leading” people; in fact, in every interview I conduct, I ask the question; “In your opinion, Is there a difference between being a “Manager” or a “Leader” and if so, please explain the difference in your opinion (I’ll let you guess the influence the answer to that question has on me and the selection process).People are a “key” to productivity and efficiency throughout an organization, regardless of the service or product you are product. The next component that builds on creating the opportunity, to create successful experiences in the tools with which, you provide your service teams to service or Install your product. Everything from the tools you use to distribute and manage your Customer base and prospective Customers to the tools used (literally) to complete the service and/or Installation of the product your company is providing. Our company uses a “home grown” Customer Management system to distribute, define and process the Work Orders for our Service Professionals to deliver the experience and drive resolution for our Customers. Of course, there are plenty of products available to choose one; the key is to make the right choice and have it be as robust as possible to create the opportunity to drive your Service Professionals to be as successful as they want to be, that is the tools are not creating hurdles; but, instead are creating opportunities to run as fast as they want to, completing as much quality work as they want to during the day, week, month and rewarding those that do the most, the best with the rest. “Spoiler Alert”, not everyone gets a trophy as life goes on…
The final piece of the process towards leading an efficient and productive Work Force, is the process by which your procedures are delivered; that is identifying the optimal operating procedures relative to your space in the industry and creating the guidelines around executing them each and every time; Standard Operating Procedures! During my career, I was a part of a Team that built a young organization into a healthy, robust (productive and efficient); one where the work force was disbursed across North America and the trust that is established by believing those Teams will do the “Right Thing, because, it’s the Right Thing” and not because there is a penalty for doing the wrong thing, hinged on the foundation that was Standard Operating Procedures. Taking the time and making the investment from learning from those who completed the execution of whatever your organization’s procedures are, replicating those and clearly communicating to your work force the execution of those expectations; again, creates the opportunity for success; of course, the development and implementation of a metric scoring system based on your organization’s key metrics is also a key component of the “Process” piece. “If you measure it; it will improve”; demonstrating “why” it is important to your work force from your company’s Leadership!
Finally, there is usually something that can be done to “delight” your Customer; the choice is will you seek “it” out or will you lose a Customer; I’ve not been back to the establishment I mentioned at the start of this article!