Empowering Field Service Teams With a Powerful Data Platform

BrandPost By Ken Phillips
Jun 29, 2022
Data ManagementIT Leadership

An approach that centers on both customers and organizational assets is helping manufacturers and field service organizations reach improved business outcomes.

Credit: iStock

For many years Sumair Dutta, Vice President, Product Marketing at ServiceMax, has championed the role of field service leaders, particularly in asset-intensive industries where the manufacture and sale of equipment is merely the beginning of the customer lifecycle. Often, maintenance and service is the most lucrative offering.

“Even among the best-known manufacturers, we often find that service leaders are responsible for up to 30% of business revenues, and the margins they deliver are two or three times greater than those of the product team,” said Dutta. “That is why service-oriented digital transformations are prevalent. But when it comes to extending the influence of service leaders and the data they possess beyond their own departments, they often encounter hurdles.”

Dutta notes that most organizations today lack a common data platform or “data language” that enables disparate functional teams – including sales, marketing, manufacturing, product development, design, customer care, and executive leadership – to access, share and act on data generated by the field service team.

Instead, different departments often initiate their own digital initiatives that trap data in silos and negate efforts to achieve a digital transformation organization-wide. It’s a growing problem given the changing focus of many businesses.

“Among our customers there is a desire to focus on business outcomes and this requires manufacturers to take an entirely different approach,” adds Dutta. “For example, you may make and sell printers, but what you are really providing is printing capability. That’s when you begin to appreciate how the marriage of a customer-centric with an asset or equipment-centric approach that draws on field service data can radically change your business.”

Industry leaders are moving toward this goal by consolidating their customer-facing data and communications with their asset-oriented intelligence — such as information on service calls, repairs, parts, warranties and predictive maintenance — onto one common data platform. Everyone benefits from having all of this information in one place where it is actionable, including those in operational, commercial and strategic roles.

Everyone wins with this customer- and asset-centric approach. Take for example a service agent who is notified by a customer that their printer has jammed. By viewing the printer’s service history, the rep knows it often requires onsite repairs for a component that breaks when the machine operates over capacity. At the customer’s site, the agent fixes the machine and before leaving, advises them that although they saved costs because the printer was under warranty, they might want to consider a more robust model.

The sales team is then alerted to a new upsell opportunity; marketing is given insight into a potential business case for larger machines; and the design team is given details on a part that may be strengthened, which resonates with the corporate office’s ESG team because it could lead to a retrofitting and exchange program. Also, the service rep’s quick fix is shared with other team members and customer service so they can speak knowledgeably to other customers who experience the same situation.

“We know customers are most likely to be retained and highly satisfied when they reach companies via the communications channel of their choice and employees are armed with intelligence that conveys a deep understanding of the customer and their interactions,” said Tim Long, Director, Solution Engineering at Salesforce.

“When you layer deep service automation and intelligence capabilities into one common data platform,” he continues, “it makes servicing customers simple, easy and frictionless. Your understanding of the customer is also magnified when you understand the equipment they use, how they use it and why it’s important to their business. In that way you build a bridge between sales and service that drives revenue and customer satisfaction.”

For more information on how to drive business forward with a common data platform, watch the webinar “Asset + Customer-Centricity: The Keys to Digital Success” and read about the new solution jointly offered by ServiceMax and Salesforce.