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Take a closer look at what's on our mind

The Service hot-seat can be a very cold place

Posted by Dave Webb on January 28, 2014

I wanted to kick off a new topic on the Cognito blog with a bit of a “wow!” and asked a well-respected guest writer to introduce the idea of ‘sustainable peak performance’ for us, from a practitioner’s perspective. I was thrilled that he agreed to share his real-world experience with us, and with you. Unfortunately, he has asked to remain anonymous. Read on and you’ll understand why …

The phone rang. It was Helen, our receptionist, with the welcome news that the heating engineer had finally arrived. And not a moment too soon, it had been freezing in my office for days!

Cold and confused

We were in the middle of (yet) another company transformation program to see us become ‘better than the best’ – or so it was claimed by the consultants this time. I am the Service Director for a medium-sized, national IT services organization. One led by a CEO who is obsessed with all the latest management fashions and crazes. Change is our constant companion as we battle to satisfy our real customers, you know, the ones with contracts and sky-high expectations. When faced with the question "How do you get things done around here?" the answer starts "Right now we …." and always ends with "but ask me tomorrow and it will be different".

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(Un)remarkable service? The choice is yours.

Posted by Emily Mason on January 24, 2014

Unremarkable service results? Unmotivated field workers? It’s not a coincidence.

As we all know, customer service is more important than ever today. In order to get the best from your field workers, you need maximum visibility of what’s happening at the front lines of your business - in real-time. Knowing what happened yesterday is too late.

A year ago, field worker Andy was working from a traditional workforce management system, allocating him a set number of tasks per day, over which he had very little control. His performance was measured solely on the number of jobs he completed per day - the only view his service manager had of his performance. As a result, he was not inclined to hang around any longer than he needed at any particular site - he just wanted to move on to the next job on his list to hit his quota for the day and go home early. This often left the customer feeling undervalued and unappreciated - they felt they were ‘just another job’.

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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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