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As an equipment manufacturer, you need to continually improve your service delivery capability and align your service offers with customer expectations. This will enable you to defend and grow a key company revenue stream.

In this post, I’ll share 10 things that we know about equipment manufacturers and their customers gleaned from the most comprehensive field service benchmark dataset in the industry.

10 Things We Know From Benchmarking Equipment Manufacturers

You can’t renew, cross-sell, or upsell a dissatisfied customer. I know what you’re thinking—no kidding Sherlock! However, I receive a large number of inquiries from TSIA’s Field Services members that follow the themes of determining the value of improving customer satisfaction, whether or not to incent customer satisfaction, and, yes, whether or not to measure customer satisfaction. This brings us to the first fact we know, based on the results from TSIA’s field services benchmark research:

1. High customer satisfaction = higher renewals
maintenance contract renewal rate

Resolution time is what really matters. Traditional support and maintenance service offers have historically revolved around response time. This is because field service teams didn’t want to be held accountable for Level 1 support, spare parts availability, poor incident triage, etc. When the ticket gets assigned to a technician, the mentality is to start the clock and they’ll get there within the time allotted.

However, response time commitments are changing to resolution time commitments, and ultimately to equipment uptime and availability. This brings us to additional facts the data shows about equipment manufacturers:

2. Shorter resolution time = higher renewal rates
3. High first visit repair = higher customer satisfaction
4. High first pass fill rates = higher customer satisfaction
5. Lower repair time = higher customer satisfaction

You must do what you said you were going to do. Compliance with Service Level Agreements (SLA) is a relative standard of performance—this means that no matter the service level metric in the contract, customers expect you to meet that metric. And if you don’t, they will not renew.

To get their point across, customers are now insisting upon penalty clauses for non-performance. Note that for this correlation, the SLA is equipment uptime, not response time.

6. High SLA performance for equipment uptime = higher satisfaction
7. Penalties for non-performance = higher install base
sla compliance rate equipment uptime

Customers love you, they just don’t want to see you for a while. After an incident is resolved, there is a call-back window where customers do not expect you to come back to service the same piece of equipment. It doesn’t matter if its for the same or a different problem, the longer the call-back window and the lower the number of call-back incidents, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Good call-back performance = higher satisfaction

Customers want, and need, your help to succeed. Technological advancements and an increase in product features have dramatically increased the complexity of the equipment. To the extent your organization can help customers fully utilize and get the best out of your product, you will be rewarded with more business.

Success science = higher install base under contract
Review underutilized features = higher renewal rate
service contract renewal rate

What These 10 Facts Tell Us About Customer Expectations

To summarize these findings, customers don’t want equipment to break. However, if it does, they want it fixed as quickly as possible with minimal impact to their operations. They don’t, however, want you coming back for repeated fixes when it should have been repaired on the first visit. Further, they want support in achieving their business outcomes.

How to Optimize Service Delivery: A Framework 

From a customer’s perspective, the best service incident is no service incident. Improving equipment reliability is a common objective for every manufacturer, but what are some of the other ways to optimize service delivery?  
  • Self-Healing: Built-in product capabilities that enable automatic correction of problems identified during self-diagnostics.
  • Advance Notice of Failure: Proactive support and intelligent diagnostics used to remotely monitor customer equipment for error conditions, resulting in a part-only (CRU) automated service request (ASR).
  • Remote Resolve: Having a knowledge management platform in place to capture incident type and hardware performance is a critical enabler to remote resolution processes.
  • Advanced Exchange: Shipment of good units to replace defective items in advance of the customer returning the defective item. The defective items will be returned for repair.
  • Field Repair: Increasing the percent of your install base with embedded diagnostics will enable you to monitor equipment performance data, analyze equipment failure, and trigger spare part and on-site repair events. The result is minimizing the impact on the customer and reducing service delivery cost.
optimizing service delivery to decrease costs

The good news is that the lowest service delivery cost also results in the best customer experience. In order to improve serviceability by incorporating embedded diagnostics and connectivity, there needs to be close collaboration between the Services and Product Development teams. This will require tradeoffs between product feature sets vs. serviceability vs. IoT and connectivity.

Learn More at TSW

During Field Service Power Hour session at our upcoming Technology & Services World conference in Las Vegas, I’ll go into more detail on the top 10 facts and how to deliver better service in the following areas:

  • Service Delivery Optimization
  • Spare Parts, Logistics, and Supply Chain
  • Preventive and Predictive Maintenance
  • Differentiated Support and Maintenance Offer Development
  • Improving Customer Outcomes 

We’ll also have other relevant content in our Field Services track, with sessions like:

  • “The Value of End-to-End, Connected Service in a Digital World,” presented by ServiceNow
  • “The Ellucian Digital Transformation Journey,” presented by Ellucian
  • “Only You Can Prevent Knowledge Hoarding,” presented by Symantec 

Be sure to register today so you don’t miss out on this valuable insight. I hope to see you there!


Vele Galovski

About Author Vele Galovski

Vele Galovski is vice president of support and field services research for TSIA. Using his nearly 30 years of industry experience, he has consistently helped companies both large and small drive double-digit top-line growth with a proven retain, gain, and grow strategy. Vele has also written a book, The Perpetual Innovation Machine, which describes a holistic approach to management based on ambitious goal setting, data driven analysis, skillful prioritization, inspiring leadership, and the lost art of employee engagement.

Vele's favorite topics to discuss