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What is your definition of support? Is it to make a customer happy? Is it to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible? Or maybe, it is to identify new cross- and up-sell opportunities from each interaction?

I think all of these paths can play a role in support. However, I support should revolve around resolution, all other outcomes just put the icing on the cake.

In order to resolve customer issues, often times, more than just one function within the support teams needs to be involved in delivering the appropriate outcome. Specifically, the field service team and the contact center play an integral role in working with the customer to ensure a problem gets solved. As the connection points between these two distinct functions overlap in regard to the customer, my colleague Omer Minkara and I have seen our research have more relevance and impact on one another. No longer can field service operate in a silo which only takes into account a broken asset and the technician’s wrench. Likewise, the contact center can’t avoid thinking about the potential next step, if an agent can’t resolve the issue over the phone, of actually scheduling a technician to go out to the customer site.

In February 2014, we brought these concepts together in the data and published findings which detailed the impact and importance of creating an integrated organization which tightly links the field with the contact center. We do want you to read the full findings from our Integrated Service Management research, but a couple points jump out to me which show how the contact center should work with the field to ensure efficiency, but also as importantly, resolution for the customer:

  • Make support history available to the front line. At times, support call information is stored in a CRM or enterprise system which is not integrated with the field service solution. In this age of technology, field service technicians have access to part data, their route to the customer, and the diagnostics of the equipment. But shouldn’t they also know that the same customer has called the support team 4 times this month, three of which were resolved without a truck roll – for the same failure reason? This insight would allow the technician to take a bit extra time on site to ensure the customer has been fully trained on the equipment and the potential pitfalls that could lead to underperformance.
  • Help schedule the right next step. The contact center can play an integral role in removing the need for a field service visit, or if one is necessary, identify the right technician that needs to be sent out. Diagnosing the initial call can help ensure that only value-add service visits are scheduled for the technician. In the evolution of field service, organizations are moving away from the break / fix model to aspire to a truly preventive structure where a technician resolves issues before a failure. The contact center has the ability to proactively schedule a technician to visit a customer prior to a failure based on monitoring support calls that may identify a defective asset or part in advance of the problem becoming widespread.

These are just a couple of the trends that explore the impact that the contact center can have on improving field service execution. If you are interested in learning more about how the field can work better with the contact center and vice versa, please read the full report on Integrated Service Management. Also, look for a short video roundtable where Omer and I chat about this topic in greater detail.

Aly Pinder Jr
Research Analyst
Service Management
aly.pinder@aberdeen.com or @pinderjr

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