Delivering service that meets the satisfaction of ever-demanding customers is helping usher in a new C-Level role at service and manufacturing companies. Meet the Chief Service Officer (CSO). It’s a role that isn’t widespread yet, but one that has begun to make inroads into leading service companies as more organizations eye revenue opportunities beyond equipment sales.

As product margins slip, CSOs are tasked with orchestrating and executing the type of service that retains and creates loyal customers. Selling a piece of equipment --even one with a multi-million dollar price tag-- is a one-time win. Service, however, can create revenue streams that deliver profits each year until the equipment is replaced. It’s a model that more companies are adopting. According to McKinsey, by 2016, nearly half of manufacturing companies expect that service will account for a third of their total revenue. But as companies move from being a commodity supplier to offering an on-going service relationship, a clear strategy is necessary.

Successful service relationships require a number of teams working together within an organization. Aberdeen Research has found that 8 out of ten Best-in-Class organizations (leading field service companies) have a VP-level or higher executive leading service.

CSOs must prioritize getting accurate insights to the right service people at the right time, so that they can solve problems for customers. Aberdeen found that Best-in-Class organizations have four main target areas (in order of priority):

1) Improve customer retention and loyalty
2) Improve service-related profitability
3) Improve quality / relevance of service data
4) Improve service information capabilities (i.e. mobility, knowledge sharing)

But what can companies do to help CSOs reach these goals? Data and its analysis are key. Specifically, here are the three data-driven actions that Best-in-Class companies do to empower their CSOs:

Real-Time Insight Drives Real-Time Performance

CSOs must come to grips with managing and orchestrating the efficient operations of a number of different departments and technicians. Best-in-Class companies empower their CSOs with the right data to help drive real-time performance, the ultimate goal of any service organization. What data, in particular, do CSOs need to move toward real-time service delivery?

Collecting data isn’t the problem it once was. In fact, some CSOs have the opposite problem; they are drowning in a deluge of data. The tool used to solve this is a business intelligence and analysis tool that enables consistent benchmarking of service performance. Other tools are needed that let integrated data flow seamlessly from the field to the back office. CSOs need real-time monitoring of asset operating conditions, performance, and usage. Finally, the tools CSOs use should enable real-time service visibility service for senior management.

Give your field team tools that deliver valuable service experiences and capture important customer data

The ultimate goal of service is to deliver value to the end customer, of course. Service technicians need to ensure that a work order is completed, preferably during their first visit to the customer. But field visits represent an important opportunity for capturing data from equipment performance to visit details. Customer data can help inform the next visit or additional service needs.

Use Data to Continuously Improve Service

Customer expectations will only continue to grow. Since they are under pressure to perform too, customers are demanding real-time solutions to their service issues. Customers won’t only compare your organization to competing firms, but also to their own customer experiences elsewhere. CSOs must study best practices across the entire service ecosystem and ensure that they are implementing these offerings. Data and the analytics gathered on machines, equipment, and customers will help create the baseline. From there, CSOs should be able to evaluate and continue to improve service operations.

Topics: Field Service

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