Scholars at the Institute for Market-Oriented Management at the University of Mannheim conducted a study in accordance with Harvard University guidelines on the marketing of industrial services in the tech sector. The study concluded that services could be broken down into three categories: must, should, can. In an industry like lab technology, field services are considered a must.
The most companies in laboratory technology already offer services, so the quality of the services play a major role in a customer’s decision to purchase one system over another. However, systems manufacturers have the potential to distinguish themselves and their product through the “should” and “can” services that they offer. These kinds of added bonuses like 24 hour reaction times, included travel time, discounts on parts and more are not necessarily expected. That means companies can use them to position themselves at a serious advantage over competitors. This is where enhanced field service comes into play. And this is where companies can really shine.
Here are four legitimate reasons for lab service technology providers to up their field service game:
Reason 1: Only marginal distinctions in the hardware of different brands
When comparing analysis systems across a specific sector, users quickly realize that among the various market brands available, there are often only marginal distinctions in the hardware. These differences could be so minimal, that they become negligible to the decision making process. Once a company has met the “must” standard for hardware, every additional investment is money spent on something that will not differentiate its product. When a customer’s hardware demands are fulfilled, they are more interested in what kinds of field services are included with the system and how they differentiate from each other. 261 people who work with instrumental analysis were surveyed. Of those, 78 percent stated that field service was an important criteria for deciding to purchase a system.
Reason 2: Be customer-oriented
Field services are a way to offer a unique competitive advantage over the competition. Field service software management (FSM) makes it possible to consolidate necessary company, product and customer information so that it is always available to the technician making the service call. It also makes it easier for the technicians and customers to track the service process from beginning to end. This translates to a potential to quickly and effectively address the needs of clientele. All of these characteristics and many more make FSM software an excellent way for a company to position itself as customer-oriented.
Reason 3: Higher Margin
The production process is comparatively expensive in comparison with the cost of offering field services. That means that the return on investment is substantially lower. In short, a company can ensure higher margins through its offer of field services. This is an added incentive for providing more attractive field services that entice customers to opt for their product.
Reason 4: Field Service Technicians strength relationshsip with customers
Field service appointments are a great way for a company to maintain contact to clients. Being on site affords a company the opportunity to discuss the system with the client and determine what other needs might exist. In so doing, technicians can suggest and even push for new devices that can optimize a customer’s performance. This strengthens the company’s relationship with the client and solidifies the client’s loyalty to the brand.
Many companies are still grappling with ways to improve and optimize their field service offers. Until then, you have the opportunity to be ahead of the curve impressing customers with your attention to customer satisfaction and extra service that you know your audience will appreciate. And by the time the rest of the companies have caught up to your example, you’ll be ready to take on the next innovations in the industry and provide your customers with the latest and greatest.
If you want to learn more about improving your field service process in the area of laboratory technology we will suggest the following free white paper: