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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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When it comes to service, your people are the product

Posted by Steve Alderson on November 12, 2013

The latest research from The Service Council: “Field Service Workforce Management: Winning With People” confirms a significant shift in priorities amongst leading service organisations.

The report points out: “In the business of service delivery, people are the product … field service workforce management strategies need to extend beyond the scheduling and allocation of existing resources to the acquisition, management, empowerment and retention of the appropriate service workforce”.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the top areas of strategic focus for service organisations of all sizes for the coming 12 months are field service workforce management and performance management and visibility, ahead of the traditional emphasis on technology/automation infrastructure.

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A fix for the service bug: engaging the workforce

Posted by Steve Alderson on October 14, 2013

In last week’s blog, Cognito’s Consultancy Director, Dave Webb, discussed how technology can help solve some of the issues concerning visibility and engagement faced by service departments.

In this follow on blog post, Steve Alderson addresses the topic of employee engagement and why technology alone is not the answer to improving service levels.

There is no doubt the use of technology can aid service improvement. However, there is a wider issue concerning the reasons for employee sickness. This is rooted in engagement and morale levels, something that technology can not alone resolve but provide trends and statistics for managers to act on.

The correlation between engagement and the impact it has on performance and resistance to change has long been proven; from psychology experiments through to our own research, which found employees are more likely to adopt a mobility solution if they are engaged in the change process:

  • 55% of enterprises struggle getting workforces to adopt mobility
  • Poor executive sponsorship and employee engagement were seen to contribute to slow rates of adoption, with 27% stating these as key issues

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A fix for the service bug: technology

Posted by Dave Webb on September 9, 2013

Our survey of 200 business managers, responsible for mobile workers within UK organisations, revealed that sickness and absence is still the major issue affecting service delivery and the customer experience. Sickness ranked as the most common problem affecting service delivery (39%), followed by traffic congestion (37%) and unavailability of staff (36%).

With customer service often being a differentiator between competitors and key in retaining customers, it’s time organisations addressed the issues that lead to poor service and delivery.

The role of technology

Whilst you can’t stop illness in your organisation, there are ways to limit the negative impact that it can have on your business. One of those ways is optimising mobile workforce technology.

It can benefit an organisation in discreet areas such as giving directions to a field worker and tracking job completion, through to providing feedback on customer service. In a situation where you have a worker call in sick these capabilities become crucial for managing a workforce to ensure that the absent worker’s jobs are picked up by a colleague.

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A path to service excellence with Cognito’s Situation Assessment

Posted by Steve Alderson on August 2, 2013

If improving customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention are priorities for your organisation, maybe it’s time for a thorough 360˚ review in order to make the difference between service improvements and service excellence.

Once the need to improving service has been accepted, and the project a reality, there is an impulse to look to technology first to improve efficiencies and automate processes. However, starting with a clear route map to transforming service is essential.

This involves understanding current processes to benchmark what ‘now’ looks like, identifying what needs to be transformed and planning how to get there. Undertaking this assessment with the organisation’s strategic goals in mind is key in providing a long-term solution that achieves what you set out to do.

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