Providing after-sales field service support is a crucial driver of customer experience. Once you’ve installed customer equipment, interaction with a field engineering team becomes your primary customer touchpoint. So, you want to get it right.
Be that as it may, after-sales field service support encompasses many moving parts, from triaging calls to providing remote support, and dispatching, tracking and managing field engineers.
Given this, is it better to manage your after-sales field service support operations in-house or outsource after-sales field engineering service to a partner to manage part or all of the processes?
Let’s take a closer look.
Step 1: What does your customer experience look like?
To begin with, consider your core competencies. And what customer experience in your organisation looks like. For example:
- Does providing outstanding customer service differentiate you as a business?
- Do you need to balance customer satisfaction with cost efficiency?
Your answers will determine the long-term working relationship you want your customers to have with your company.
Step 2: Consider your business objectives
To achieve your OEM business goals, do you plan to:
- Deliver products at scale?
- Invest in sales growth?
- Produce quality products?
- Boost efficiency and control costs?
- Become a sustainable company. Would reducing the carbon footprint of engineers’ travel or sharing resources help you to achieve this goal?
Your answers will determine where you need to focus your internal resources.
Step 3: Consider your customer concentration
The next step in deciding whether to outsource after-sales field service support operations is to examine your customer base:
- Who are your customers?
- What is the lifetime value of a customer?
- Where are your customers located? How quickly and efficiently can your engineers reach your customers?
- What types of products do you manufacture? Do your customers need to use and rely on your products in the long term?
- Do your engineers need to access environments that require regular updating of certificates or permissions, such as hospitals?
A third-party field engineering service partner such as Veritek has pan-European resources and infrastructure to supplement your field engineering team effectively.
Step 4: Do you have the capacity to meet customer support expectations?
When you are clear about your business objectives and who and where your customers are, determine where you can get the best return on investment from in-house resources.
Correspondingly, where a third-party field engineering service support partner could enhance your customer experience cost-effectively.
- Does customer location mean you need help with unplanned elements such as repairs or reactive maintenance?
- Similarly, do you have the capacity to scale up and down your field service operations to meet the peaks and troughs of seasonal customer demand?
- Conversely, would it make sense for you to concentrate your resources on complex break/fix assignments?
- Perhaps it would make sense to outsource predictable preventative maintenance.
- Or, if you’re currently diverting engineers’ time to delivering remote support, you can get some help.
- Elsewhere, do you need to prioritise some customer support requests over others?
Step 5: Flexibility of customer support
Downtime is costly. For this reason, consider whether your customers need support during or after office hours.
A third-party field engineering support partner can give your customers someone to call or message to get issues fixed as and when they arise.
In-house v outsourced field engineering support: Taking everything into account
After-sales field service support aims to enhance customer experience and build OEMs’ brands by developing trust, reliable communication, and smooth interactions.
The best way to decide whether to control your after-sales field engineering support in-house or outsource all or part of your after-sales field engineering services to a partner is through capacity planning.
When you consider:
- Your business objectives
- What your customer experience looks like
- Who and where customers are located
- Your current capacity to meet after-sales customer support demands
- Your ability to provide flexible support
Then you can decide where best to focus your internal resources so that your in-house engineers work optimally while simultaneously nurturing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
A third-party field engineering service partner can help you to scale up or down your field service operations when you need.
Furthermore, a partner can help you avoid your in-house team becoming overworked or underworked.
Veritek is a field engineering service partner with experience and tried and tested solutions for handling most ad-hoc customer assignments.
Are you considering outsourcing after-sales field engineering support? Or do you need help with capacity planning for after-sales field engineering service support? Contact us to see how we can help.
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