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Blog

Take a closer look at what's on our mind

Steve Alderson

SVP Service Operations

Recent Posts

Q: What works even after it’s fired? A: a neuron!

Posted by Steve Alderson on February 11, 2014

Do you ever think about your central and peripheral nervous systems? That is, the combination of neurons, axons, fibres and synapses that coordinate “the voluntary and involuntary actions … and transmit signals between different parts of its body”.

That part of our bodies which receives environmental and situational stimuli, analyses the messages and responds. Directing actions in space and over time. Without it, we could not function. And, if it is not working well, then we cannot work well either.

Stop and consider that for a moment. Does the combination of dispersed and moving resources, connected together and acting in response to messages sent via communication channels remind you of anything? Your own service organisation? No, not immediately?

Well, it should – there are many parallels; in terms of structures and of functions. Both sense and respond, analysing data and making sets of interlocking decisions using various levels of autonomous and coordinated “next best actions” to deliver. Both monitor outcomes and modify behaviours in order to succeed. Both are vital to survival.

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Field Service: From Task Management to Talent Management

Posted by Steve Alderson on January 15, 2014

Mobile workforce management solutions have traditionally been based around the efficient scheduling, allocation and completion of tasks. There’s no doubt that some significant productivity improvements have been achieved, particularly when replacing paper-based systems.

But, at the same time, lingering doubts often remain. The hoped-for benefits have been harder to realise than was initially projected in the business case, and the productivity gains that have been achieved often don’t contribute as much to the bottom line as they should.

Your people are the product

There’s a growing recognition - highlighted in recent research by The Service Council amongst others - that simply automating the management of tasks can only ever be part of the story. As the report’s author Sumair Dutta points out “In the business of customer service and service delivery, people are the product. Those that work with customers to solve issues and add value quite often are the only organisation representatives that come in direct contact with customers.”

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How many hedges received an unexpected parcel this Christmas?

Posted by Steve Alderson on January 6, 2014

It’s no surprise to learn that the run-up to Christmas 2013 proved to be a record-breaking period for online shopping, with the vast majority of parcels and presents delivered on-time. However, two logistics firms (neither of them Cognito customers) have been singled out for careless and thoughtless actions on the part of their delivery drivers.

According to reports in both the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail, rogue drivers have been caught losing packages, stuffing them into bins and hurling them over fences. The British Online Retailing Association (BritORA) has gone so far as to call for a reform of the parcel delivery system - dubbing the current system a 'Wild West'.

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Traditional timesheets aren’t worth the paper they are printed on

Posted by Steve Alderson on December 2, 2013

Printed timesheets and job forms are at the heart of many traditional field service environments. Because they are typically seen as an administrative intrusion into the worker’s day, they are often completed after the event - in the evening, or at the end of the working week.

 

 

 

 

It’s no wonder that much of the information is incomplete, inaccurate and untimely. These factors have often been used to help justify the implementation of a mobile workforce management solution that uses electronic forms on a handheld device. But if they are to realise their full potential, software solutions must do much more than simply emulate the previous paper forms.

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Winning with People: 7 secrets to ensuring that your field force is aligned and engaged

Posted by Steve Alderson on November 25, 2013

The Service Council recently reported the results of their latest survey of leading global service organisations. Their report concluded “In the business of customer service and service delivery, people are the product” - and went on to point out that “those who work with customers to solve issues and add value quite often are the only organisation representatives that come in direct contact with customers”.

Our latest executive briefing “7 secrets to ensuring that your field force is aligned and engaged” suggests seven specific ways you can help to ensure that you’re building the sort of highly-aligned and engaged workforce that will allow you to anticipate and address the rising tide of customer service expectations - and create a field service offering that will enable you to stand out from the crowd.

You can read the full document here, but in the meantime, here is a summary of our recommendations:

1: Focus on behaviours - not just tasks

If you’re to fully engage with your workforce and ensure that you are doing all you can to realise their potential, you can’t afford to focus only on the things you need them to do. Scheduling resources and managing tasks are just part of the picture. It’s how jobs are done, and not just what is done, that influences the achievement of outcomes.

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