The challenges for traditional service organisations are many and, understandably, it is not possible to work “the way it has always been done". For service organisations, there is a great risk that they will continue to face challenges that can only be solved with a more updated system solution. From the customers I have met, I see five primary challenges for service organisations.1. The service organisation is set in traditional ways of working
Does the customer experience you as being proactive or reactive? Do you plan routes and service measures first when the customer reports them? Many service organisations today often find it difficult to anticipate customer needs and only act when they receive a call about something that is wrong. If you instead integrate your systems you will get a better overall picture and increase your ability to plan your business according to predictable needs and pre-empt a call from the customer.
2. The role of service technician is too narrow
Tomorrow's technology will place new demands on your staff's skill sets. Service technicians need to understand more complex products and handle advanced technology. At the same time pressure is increasing for them to take a more active role in the sales process during customer meetings. Maybe the technician can pave the way for up-selling during a service visit?
Offering a broader role where customer-focused service technicians participate in both strategic and tactical discussions can also make you a more attractive employer. Employees who work close to the product can also offer more strategic insights when they meet the customer which will increase confidence in your company.
3. Poor conditions for cooperation
Many companies today face a problem with closed systems that makes it difficult to gather information from different sources. It is difficult to combine the information and get a holistic view of the information flow and product functionality. Working in silos makes it difficult to share important customer information internally. If service technicians cannot communicate information that he or she gathers from a meeting with the customer back to the company, it will be lost. For anyone working with a specific customer, from sales to customer service, information gathering needs to be made easier.
4. If competitors serve your products the aftermarket business is lost
If the customer can decide who to contact when a product needs service or is broken, you risk losing your aftermarket business to a competitor. If a product is out of service, it often means costly downtime for the customer. It is therefore important to be able to quickly ensure that the right person with the right skills is available to provide service. By taking proactive control over service delivery and anticipating needs, you strengthen the relationship with your customers and prevent them from going elsewhere for support.
5. Tactical service discussions instead of strategic customer development
Your service technicians and the customers' counterparts usually only have tactical discussions about how to solve short-term problems. With access to the right information, your technician can offer your customer company-specific support focusing on the next step. You become a strategic partner to your customer because you can suggest an upgrade or a new product that would help them increase production volume or quality. You both guide and help your customers to innovations based on new opportunities thanks to digitalisation.
In the future, you will probably have more smart features in your products and create more and more technical solutions. These products will require a new kind of service and maintenance than now, but digitalisation itself gives you access to huge amounts of information that can create a competitive advantage.
Why not read our guide that gives you the arguments for getting your management team onboard your plan to digitalise the service and aftermarket organisation.