Forward-thinking service leaders realize that to move their service team from a cost-center to a profit-center, they have to get entitlements right. Entitlements give insight into exactly what level of service the customer is supposed to receive. This includes things such as cost for spare parts, billing rates for labor, response times, and penalties.
On one hand, customers need to feel that they are getting the value from the contracts with their service provider, and on the other hand, service organizations need to be pricing labor and parts in a way that helps create a long-term advantage. It’s important to have the right balance of entitlements. You don’t want to have too few options. But also having too many can be confusing for administration. The following steps will allow you to take control of your entitlements and become a revenue-generator.
1. Enable Technicians to Answer, “How much will this cost?”
We usually talk about entitlements as a way for companies to ensure customers get charged for the service they receive. Of course, that’s extremely important. Oftentimes, technicians do the work onsite and defer payment conversations to a later time when a customer connects with customer service. Time is lost, work order information may be lost – overall, this is not a great experience for both customer and service personnel.
There is the option for technicians to call the back office, but technicians are trying to get through their jobs as fast as possible. Their highest priority is delivering excellent service to customers, not spending time online with back-office teams while they check customer entitlements. As a result, leakage happens.
A digital field service app helps by providing a technician with entitlement information for service and parts as well as discounts for any work performed. Now a technician can answer the customer immediately when asked: “How much will this cost?” This helps reduce the administrative burden, ensures customers are charged accurately for service, and creates a better customer experience.
2. Offer Premium Contracts to Capture Revenue
There is more that service leaders can do to grow profitability with field service. They need to create valuable offerings—beyond regular break-fix contracts—for their customers.
The design of new offerings usually starts with a question: “Are there services your technicians deliver where value is not currently captured?” Conversations with customers and technicians or a look back at work order records can help illuminate areas where service value currently goes uncaptured.
Customers may be expecting their service technician to deliver more uninterrupted uptime, faster SLAs or more transparency into their equipment data. Your technicians may be already working with these evolving expectations. Why not make them official in premium contracts?
A new contract offering could include preventive maintenance plans coupled with asset performance data that your technicians capture on-site anyway, and a readout of service delivery and how it met expected SLAs. This is a premium offering that gives customers what they want and helps the service provider capture more value from the work performed. In the long term, it positions the service provider as a trusted advisor to the customer and helps cement the business relationship.
More To Help You Take Control of Your Entitlements
There is so much more to go into regarding Entitlements, such as the right ratio of standardized to customized service contracts. In a recent sit-down with our Entitlements product manager, Lacy Cotton-Hodgson, we discussed how to design compelling contracts and preventive maintenance plans.
I encourage you to watch our session on-demand here: 3 Steps for Growing your Contract Renewal Rates in 2020.