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Field service management is becoming more sophisticated and complex, but how are you differentiating your offering? The bar is rising thanks to complex market, customer, and internal factors. You may be finding it harder and harder to differentiate as an organisation.

Not long ago, the market leaders held the exclusive means and methods to introduce modern services to their customers. Today, however, we see plentiful fresh examples of companies embracing the new service evolution. Companies of all sizes and prestige are becoming wise to the powers of advanced technology and demand in the market, and increasingly, they are up to the challenge.
So what happens when all of your competitors jump on the same bandwagon? We’re in the era of rapid change, and it’s more important than ever to balance artful operational execution with a forward-thinking strategy. Moving into the future, the critical point of differentiation lies in staying two steps ahead of changing demand and fighting complacency at all costs.

Understanding Differentiation

It’s impossible to predict the future, and time travel is probably not happening, at least in the 2020s. Understanding a handful of key concepts is all the time travel we need. After all, new thinking today alters the future. Operationalising innovation offers far more agility, and being agile in this market will safeguard a competitive edge. The concepts below foster an environment where innovation is not a frantic sprint to the “finish line”. Instead, it’s a more comfortable and steady pace, just like a marathon.

One: Company Cohesion
Do you find yourself falling out of love with the phrase “service transformation”? Companies that recognise the power of exceptional field service view it as “business transformation” rather than service-level change. The critical point here is that maintaining competitiveness requires business-wide transformation. The siloes traditionally present in a field service organisation must be broken down as the industry becomes more verticalised and sophisticated. There must be a unifying alignment of corporate identity, purpose, mission and vision – and a culture of collaboration towards this. You can learn more about the importance of understanding the nuanced challenges of industry verticals here.
When looking at service growth or successful digital transformation, companies with a highly siloed structure are the ones that constantly struggle to maintain relevance. The modern customer journey does not favour a fragmented approach to work. Our digital world has outgrown seemingly fit-for-purpose but ultimately disparate systems. The connectedness of systems and teams, mobile or office-based, is critical.
Two: Strength of Customer Relationships
Customer relationships can be your best source of inspiration for your service evolution. But, as with most journeys, you need to ask yourself an honest question: are they relationships or transactions? Customer references and promotions are ironclad, and taking their feedback combined with your learning from these relationships is important. Your customers will not always be able to verbalise what they need, how they need it, or what’s coming next. But understanding your customers with openness and trust is how you can understand their needs enough to identify, evolve, and articulate your value proposition or service to meet their current and future demands. My latest blog dives further into this topic, looking at enhancing the customer experience in field service.
Three: Digital Excellence.
Unsurprisingly, being digitally competent is at the core of most sophisticated field service models. Those who lead aren’t simply competent… they are highly skilful. To be clear, this does not mean they implement every new technological advance. Instead, they understand the value of information and the benefits of simplifying complexity. Service leaders make technology investment decisions based on the anticipated impact upon critical objectives, first and foremost.
Part of the service evolution understands the significant value of industry authority and expertise on a service proposition. Market leaders seek the most appropriate areas to layer in automation and intelligence. Skilfully introducing digital technologies enables seamless customer experience and demand anticipation while removing much of the effort required to deliver it. The concept of a robust digital foundation upon which layers of complexity can be added and changed is understood by service leaders. There is a common understanding that a continual improvement strategy is necessary today and into the future.
Four: Developing & Retaining Top Talent
Many organisations today are hyper-focused on the short-term stressors of quiet quitting and skills shortages. With such a narrow view, talent development is not even considered. Top-tier market leaders recognise that the employee experience is of critical importance. They understand that as service evolves, the frontline mobile workforce must also. Growing the frontline mobile workforce can involve reskilling, upskilling, or even introducing new roles. Changing shift patterns and rostering to favour a work-life balance greatly benefits the employee experience. Please read our full eBook on this exact topic here.
The most competitive field service providers are those focused on farming talent. Farming talent demonstrates how leading organisations accept that constantly seeking experienced workers is unsustainable. They must shift gears and take responsibility for developing their own talent. Companies must invest more in centralising resources and democratising knowledge with skill building and recognising employee contribution at the heart of talent development. The most successful service leaders value the creativity and contributions of all within the company. Frontline voices are listened to, considered, and valued. The few voices at the top should not represent the voice of an entire organisation.
Five: Service Personalisation.
Do you ever notice how our world is more connected than ever, yet somehow not? The human element is often lacking in this era of digital connectedness. Companies that stand out find a balance of technological sophistication with a personal touch. They acknowledge that relationships are at the core of service delivery no matter how complex or vast their operation becomes
Staff can’t compensate for a company’s inability to evolve and meet customer expectations, but they can be a point of true differentiation for those who do. Moreover, customers will appreciate a company they feel is truthful and maintains up-to-date communication on service delivery. Placing too heavy a focus on your value proposition without marrying that to the story you tell, your passion, and the people you employ will eventually miss the boat.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, field service is one element of the service-delivery process. Offering a robust and differentiated service must be followed through so as not to alienate important customers and cause friction in the relationship. The consequences of not evolving and transforming the business to meet modern demand can hurt revenue and future success. Field service should not be viewed as a siloed function separate from interactional processes. Instead, organisations should think holistically and unify processes across the board. Developing and retaining top talent throughout this unified organisational structure will only fuel the fire. Unifying an organisation this way will reduce costs and unlock the full potential of field service. It will be a profitable revenue generator and a true competitive differentiator.
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Edward Bell

Edward Bell, Totalmobile's Content Strategist, shapes and delivers compelling content spotlighting their unique SaaS solutions. With 6+ years in MarComs, his journey spans diverse marketing roles, driven by tech passion. Edward fuels Totalmobile's mission, educating and advocating for impactful solutions across sectors, ensuring ROI for customers.