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In 2015, Patrice Eberline, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax, from GE Digital, published her first book Diamond in the Rough, Unleashing the Power Of Field Service Transformation, which gave an excellent overview of field service operations, including metrics, key trends and business challenges. Patrice’s second book, Into the Diamond Mine: A Field Service Transformation Handbook for Executives, has just been published, and I was lucky enough to get an advance copy.

I always think the sign of a great book is when you read it, you can hear the author’s voice, and that is absolutely the case with Into the Diamond Mine, filled not only with great insights, but also a healthy dose of humor and real-world examples to drive the points home. In this blog post I’d like to highlight some of my favorite parts of the book.

Thinking Big, From Benchmarking to Employee and Customer Satisfaction

Patrice opens with a challenge to “think big,” which I think is an important reminder to service executives. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut doing business a certain way, and heaven knowswe all have enough chaos in our everyday work lives without thinking about how to change. But change is required in order to transform. One part I particularly liked in this section is the discussion on the importance of knowing your customer. Too many companies I talk to make assumptions about what customers want, without actually researching the evolving needs of customers, and truly knowing your customers is an ongoing challenge.

Another highlight for me was the chapter, “Benchmarking Your Service Maturity.” Benchmarking is obviously a topic TSIA knows a lot about, and I am impressed how ServiceMax has created a Field Service Maturity Assessment Tool, based on data collected from their customers, to help companies assess where they are, and identify areas in which they are lagging. In this section, Patrice outlines the dimensions addressing the complete service organization, such as cost control, reporting/analytics, and both employee and customer satisfaction. This content is a great overview of what to consider when assessing the health of the organization, and will be a terrific primer for new service managers.

Focusing on the Right Metrics

I always joke that when it comes to service metrics, you can’t see the forest for the trees. There are hundreds of financial, productivity and quality metrics, and it's easy to get lost in the minutia and lose track of what is really important. If you're feeling overwhelmed by your metrics program, I would call attention to the chapter, “KPIs for All Seasons: The Universal 9 and the Value 9.”

Patrice does an excellent job of cutting through the noise and providing a list of essential metrics to track, both tactical (Universal 9) and strategic (Value 9). A few of the Value metrics may be new to your metrics program, such as customer lifetime value (CLV) and customer onboarding rate, but with an eye toward outcome-based services and customer success, these are metrics you should know.

Knowledge Sharing and Mentoring

I suspect that the chapter, “The Talent Dilemma,” is a favorite topic for Patrice, as the people side of the business is often the most interesting. She outlines the reality of today’s field service employees, with a large percentage seeing retirement on the horizon, and the real fear of their tribal knowledge walking out the door. There are some great recommendations here, such as improving knowledge sharing and increasing mentoring programs, and a fascinating discussion on generational diversity in the workplace.

A final section I will mention is the chapter, “Best Practices When Starting Your Transformation Journey,” which discusses the importance of a culture of execution, and provides steps on how to initiate your transformation. This is incredibly helpful, because I think there is too much written about what you need to do, and why you need to do it, and very rarely information on how.

I would recommend that all service professionals download this book; the discussion about metrics and financials is hugely helpful for any service executive, not just field services. As I am always reminding people that I am a technology analyst, not a financial analyst, I will definitely refer back to the section on key financial statements in the future—I learned a lot reading it.

Hear More from Patrice and Her Book in This Webinar

If you would like to hear more from Patrice, please register for an upcoming webinar on Thursday, October 5th at 10am PT, “Into the Diamond Mine: A Field Transformation Handbook for Executives,” in which I’ll have a chance to talk to Patrice about her new book, and she’ll share some of books insights with you.

A big congratulations to Patrice Eberline for publishing her second book. The second book is always harder the first, which is why I haven’t written a second one! Hope to see you all on our upcoming webinar, and as always, thanks for reading!

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John Ragsdale

About Author John Ragsdale

John Ragsdale is a distinguished researcher and the vice president of technology ecosystems for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. John works closely with TSIA’s partner ecosystem, identifying leading and emerging technology vendors whose products help solve the key business challenges faced by TSIA members. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.

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