You have to spend money to make money. That’s why departments such as human resources or IT are acceptable cost centers for your business. They’re necessary to have, cost money, and don’t directly have control over the revenue they generate. Field service organizations have operated as cost centers for years.
With the right technologies and strategies, you can transform your field service organization into a money maker for your business. The following nine steps can help you make the transition from cost center to profit center:
Step 1: Understand your value. People are willing to pay for a valuable product or service, but you have to be able to articulate the value of that product or service. Spend some time practicing and defining your value by asking questions such as:
- What do we pride ourselves on?
- What can we do better than anyone else?
- What could a customer say that would make us really happy?
- What can we do better?
- What could a customer say that would make us really upset?
- What words do we want associated with us in the marketplace?
Step 2. Focus on the customer experience and customer journey. It’s less about the “brand” of your field service organization and more about how you deal with your customers. Go through every step of the field service process from a customer standpoint—from the very first step of realizing you need the help of a field service organization—and try to play out as many scenarios as possible. Then, at every step, ask yourself:
- How could you surprise customers here with a new value-add?
- How could you delight customers with something they wouldn’t expect?
Step 3. Align marketing and sales. Marketing is a support function for sales. Any “marketing” of your field service organization should ultimately drive “sales.” These two departments should meet regularly to ensure they’re on the same page, addressing issues such as:
- What is marketing producing that could help sales?
- What resources does sales need but lacks?
- Is sales using the resources marketing is putting together?
Step 4. Have a productivity focus and use collaborative technology. It’s important to know that 55 hours per week of working is essentially a hard ceiling in terms of productivity—there’s not much difference in productivity between someone working 56 hours per week and someone working 80 hours per week. Use collaborative technology such as Basecamp, Slack, Trello, and Dropbox to reduce “time sinks” like emails and meetings.
Step 5. Relentlessly focus on mobile technology and Internet of Things (IoT) integration. Everything you do needs to be optimized for, and accessible from, mobile phones. And IoT technology, where devices are connected and can send and receive data, will allow you to service a device for a client before the client even has to call you.
Step 6. Optimize scheduling and inventory. These need to be seamless processes both internally (how your techs get scheduled and understand their schedules) and externally (how customers see it.) In this way, your tech is prompt, knows exactly what needs to be done, and has the equipment on hand to do the job. Plus, the customer can be billed right from a phone.
Step 7. Gain insights from customer data. In field service, you have a ton of customer data on devices, equipment, locations, preferred billing methods, and more. You can use this information to “surprise and delight” your customers, leading to repeat business and customer referrals.
Step 8. Use your techs as marketers and salespeople. As your business grows, you’ll eventually need more people internally. Some of the best recruiters for your industry are your own people, so leverage them as resources to help you grow your staff.
Step 9. Treat service as a business line. For field service to be viewed as a profit center, it needs to be treated as a profit center. Use terminology and concepts that any profit center would use. Speak in terms of revenue decisions and growth. The more this happens, the more the entirety of the business ecosystem will begin to view you as a profit center.
Make the move with Altruas
The transition from cost center to profit center is often a major undertaking. It’s ultimately the result of strong planning and a fundamental focus on customer needs. Utilizing current technology, optimizing scheduling and inventory, and delivering the best customer service possible are crucial for emerging as a profit center. The experts at Altruas help your field service organization become money maker for your business. We have the technology and experience to make it happen.
Give us a call today.