Has the Pandemic Shifted the Value Perception of Field Service?
In this latest article from our series analysing exclusive research run by Field Service News, in partnership with FieldAware, we explore how the value perception of field service delivery has shifted since the pandemic...
Service excellence has historically been a key differentiator for companies wining and retaining business.
However, as we touched upon in the introduction to this report, in 2020, all of the rules changed. As we saw with the responses regarding both the emphasis being put on service contracts and also the pressure service companies find themselves under in this strained economy, the value proposition of service is being redefined in real-time.
However, is the new definition of service one that will be valued more or less by our customers?
Our study reveals that currently the majority of companies (70%) believe that despite the rapid changes both within our sector and industry at large, service will remain a key differentiator in both winning and retaining business (figure 4) and that almost three quarters (74%) of respondents believe that this will not change within the next 24 months.
What is particularly interesting though is when we dive deeper into what our respondent companies state are the key differentiators they believe will be key as we move through the recovery period.
Interestingly, here the focus as largely remained with the status quo, i.e those service differentiators that we have come to accept as the staple traits that we see in best-in-class field service organisations.
In fact, many of the differentiators that we may have assumed would have become more prominent in light of the pandemic all scored below 10% - a particularly illuminating find within the research. Lower costs (7%), bio-security compliant service standards (6%) and speed of service (9%) are all factors that one might have anticipated would score higher as a direct result of the current operating environment we find ourselves in.
However, it is exceptional customer service that remains the most frequently cited differentiator that our respondents believe will be key with 39% of respondents stating this followed very closely at 38% by a balance between cost and service.
If we look back to the Great Recession of 2008 many companies realised the value of high customer service standards as a critical factor in retaining and winning business.
As Natalie Petouhoff, senior analyst at Forrester and co-author of the report “The Economic Necessity of Customer Service.” Explained in 2009 “The one thing that happens in a downturn is that everyone is focused on keeping customers. Don’t you spend on advertising? Of course, you do, and it costs money -- but it has value if it’s done well. The same goes for investment in customer service.”
It seems that many of the service leaders have remembered that lesson from just over a decade ago and are holding on to this premise as we look towards an even greater recession in 2020.
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Written by Kris Oldland
Kris Oldland has been working in Business to Business Publishing for almost a decade. As a journalist he has covered a diverse range of industries from Fire Juggling through to Terrorism Insurance. Prior to this he was a Quality Services Manager with a globally recognised hospitality brand. An intimate understanding of what is important when it comes to Service and a passion for emerging technology means that in Field Service he has found an industry that excites him everyday.