ServiceExperts™ is a series of contributing articles from recognized industry professionals offering their thoughts, viewpoints and opinions on the latest trends impacting the service industry. Juan Cruz, Jr. currently serves as the Director, Service Operations NA for Haemonetics. Before this, he was the Senior Manager for National Field Services for Fresenius Medical Care, the largest hemodialysis company in the world. He has over 23+ years in the medical device industry with several medical device companies. Juan has held various roles in his career while in the medical device space, with the last 17 years specifically in the field service profession. Juan serves on the Service Council’s Industry Practitioners Advisory Board.
As a service operations leader, I’ve always wondered why so many leaders and companies wait until a recession or some other economic downturn before having strategies and plans to mitigate those events’ impact.
Suppose we want our businesses and organizations to succeed before, during, and after a recession. In that case, we need plans to activate with relatively little ease and lessen the economic downturn impact.
Service organizations must be prepared to deliver results and economic opportunities to the company they support. There are several things that service leaders can do, and I will explore several strategies below.
Explore opportunities and limitations of gauging your service organization’s effectiveness using average KPIs
There are many opportunities that KPIs offer. They provide a standardized measurement. This makes comparing the organization’s performance over time or against industry standards easier. They are also easy to communicate. This allows for data sharing with stakeholders, such as clients, employees, and investors.
And finally, average KPIs help identifies areas that need improvement. The KPIs can be used to compare the company’s industry or internal past performance. This allows service leaders to focus on areas where they can significantly impact their effectiveness.
Now for the limitations. KPIs can oversimplify the organization’s performance and may mask issues or strengths hidden in the data. Average KPIs also tend to ignore outliers which can distort the accurate picture of the organization’s performance. For example, if a few customers have an exceptional experience, it may mask the poor experience of most customers.
They are also limited. Average KPIs need to provide information about the reasons behind the results or what the organization can do to improve.
Establish training strategies to allow both new and tenured employees to deliver exceptional customer experience
Service organizations can take several strategies and tactics in this area. The key focus is delivering content that can be consumed in different formats and mediums. For example, creating interactive training modules that engage trainees and allow them to practice scenarios they are likely to encounter on the job. It is more effective than traditional lectures, and it helps trainees retain information better.
Also, using video-based training to demonstrate best practices and allow trainees to observe experienced employees handling customer interactions. This approach is efficient for soft-skills training, such as active listening and empathy.
Leveraging peer-to-peer learning can be used by pairing new hires with experienced employees. This approach allows new hires to learn those who have already mastered the skills they need to excel in their roles. Using data-driven insights to identify areas where employees struggle and adjust training is also an effective strategy.
At one of the organizations I worked for, I used the service intelligence module by a company called Aquant. I could tailor training specific to where individuals or groups were struggling.
Detail how to make data-driven decisions that deliver the best value for customers and the business
The sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming for any service organization. The first step to managing the data is identifying critical metrics important to customers and the business. This will allow service leaders to hone in on what data they will work with. Some metrics include customer satisfaction scores, response times, first-time fix rates, and revenue targets.
Once the key metrics are identified, the next step should be to collect data. This can include customer feedback, transactional data, or other information sources relevant to service operations or business in general. The next step should be to analyze the collected data to identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement.
As mentioned, an AI-driven service insights tool like Aquant’s can help you with this step. Slash parts costs and improve other service KPIs The two main cost drivers for service operations are labor and parts costs. Therefore, consider parts the most significant opportunity when looking for areas to reduce costs and financially impact the business.
One area that service leaders need to look at is the standardization of parts. Whether one or several product lines are being serviced, there is an opportunity to standardize within the product line. This will ensure that service employees have the most commonly used parts and minimize the trunk carrying cost.
AI-driven technology can help identify the most common failure in the products, which can help service leaders identify which parts should be carried in trunk stock to ensure that the correct amount is being taken and help ensure a first-time fix rate.
In conclusion, Service organizations should use average KPIs and other performance measures to understand their effectiveness better. These strategies can help service organizations slash training times, make data-driven decisions that deliver the best value for customers, and improve inventory management.
And since we are in the 21st century, leveraging existing technology such as AI, AR/VR, or remote assistance will help enhance your employees and service operations.