I recently interviewed Hilbrand Rustema, Founder of Noventum Service Management – a consulting firm dedicated to unlocking the value of service business for organizations. Noventum has more than 75 consultants worldwide serving all major industry regions including Germany, France, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, UK, North America and China. The firm has led successful transformations for more than 200 clients, giving Hilbrand a unique collective look at the state of service. Stay tuned for his podcast episode coming in early January, but leading up to I wanted to share his opinion of the top five challenges service organizations face today:

#1: Alignment among senior management within a company. “The first critical step to successful transformation is that there has to be alignment on what the service vision is and what the strategy should be. That is a top challenge — alignment not just among service leadership but all the way up to the to the C-suite. This is imperative to transformation but quite a challenge to achieve,” says Hilbrand.

This is representative of many discussions I’ve had about the fact that for companies to bring to fruition the opportunity of service, service can no longer be a siloed function of the company. For organizations that have operated in a siloed manner historically, getting on the same page about the role service can play and the growth opportunity it provides is an essential first step – then comes digging into how to evolve the company to get to that end goal.

#2: Harmonizing and digitizing the service operating model. “For a company operating across all different countries, creating a platform for profitable growth and of course to be able to provide superior customer experience is a foundational but challenging starting point. It’s also important to consider, simultaneously, providing a good people experience for those that work in your service organization.”

Only once alignment is achieved should the work begin on harmonizing and digitizing the service operating model, and this shouldn’t be done in a vacuum – but as a strategic part of the company’s overall strategy. As you harmonize, a lot of change management comes into play as you’re asking regions and business units to do things different than they’ve always done. As you digitize, you must do so pragmatically and in a way that builds the trust and respect – and therefore cooperation – of your frontline employees.

#3: To design and implement new digital service propositions. “This is the future for the industry. Through digital services, companies can answer real customer needs in a way that represents let’s say double-digit growth opportunity. But to be successful, there are challenges in think about what the offering is, what the sales model for it is, what the delivery model would be, and so on.”

Companies that see the wealth of opportunity service provides are tapping into the world of digital services. Looking for adjacent services to provide is one thing but thinking about how you can turn insights and experiences into value your customers are willing to pay for is the future.

#4: Building the right IT infrastructure. “When you get into the enabling aspects of digital service, it’s imperative to get the right IT solution architecture in place for the company at large and then particularly to enable service.”

We’ve talked a lot on Future of Field Service about setting a solid foundation for your service growth. Having the right systems in place to serve your customers seamlessly is essential before you begin looking at how to diversify, grow, and expand.

#5: Fostering and nurturing the right talent. “When you really get into implementation mode, you often come across the needs for different competencies of people. It becomes increasingly important – and challenging – to attract, train, and develop your talent.”

Talent is a major topic among service leaders, and that is because it is a major pain point. Not only are many companies having trouble finding enough talent interested in service, but at the same time the skills and characteristics companies need of their field workforce are evolving. It’s important to both review your recruiting, hiring, and retention practices to see where you can improve while also putting a lot of thinking and planning into how it’s all changing for the future.

I think Hilbrand’s summary of the top challenges is spot on, what do you think? To hear more from him on these points as well as his thoughts on how to tackle these challenges and set yourself up for success, stay tuned for his podcast episode coming soon.

Sarah Nicastro
Author

Field Service Evangelist, Future of Field Service