Upgrading outdated infrastructure and investing in technology to support remote working are among the biggest drivers of IT spending, as 76 percent of companies plan on long-term IT changes, 33 percent plan to increase their IT budgets and 44 percent intend to accelerate their digital transformation plans. As global IT spending continues to rise, technology companies rely on seamless installation and migration processes and ongoing customer support from service providers that can directly influence customer loyalty.
Regardless of which provider delivers the services, end users tend to connect the deployment and support experience to your brand, so if the deployment process turns into a long, frustrating, expensive experience, it could threaten your long-term relationships with your customers. Alternatively, an expedient, high-quality service experience could foster lifelong customer loyalty.
The deployment team should solidify customer success from the beginning of the relationship, continue building upon it throughout the sales process and help keep customers close and loyal to your brand during and after the installation.
The right global field services partner supports your brand during deployment, support and onsite or remote maintenance services. For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and value-added resellers (VARs), your reputation is only as good as the last customer support call or maintenance visit, which means it’s crucial that your partner can sufficiently represent your brand and deliver the quality your customers expect.
What To Look For in a Global Field Services Partner
When you’re considering a deployment and global field services partner, look for a provider with these five characteristics to both build trusting, long-lasting customer relationships and provide your company a competitive, multi-vendor services advantage.
Flexible, Customized Service Offerings
The one-size-fits-all approach never fits anyone very well. Look for a partner who offers a global multi-vendor solution and can truly customize services to suit your priorities. Expert global field services range from basic “rack and stack” services to highly advanced implementations, and your requirements may vary by geography and product lines. Engage at a level that reflects the current climate, with the flexibility to scale for product launches or new territories.
Many OEMs and VARs value exceptional, white-labeled, multi-vendor maintenance and support services that support their customer relationships. Every step of the customer support journey that can be branded — from interactive voice response (IVR) to email to the online portal — can build the ongoing relationship. Some OEMs and VARs opt for a hybrid approach to service. They may handle Tier 1 calls with in-house resources and transfer more complex problems and situations that require onsite service. A global field services partner can manage in- and out-of-warranty services with parts and installation and offer fully remote support as well.
The goal is to deliver a simplified experience to the end user. With a global field services partner, you can offer a single point of contact for support regardless of manufacturer. The end user doesn’t have to track which equipment is in or out of warranty. Global multi-vendor services supply both parts and labor, and manage the process with the end user for a seamless experience.
Global Reach and Local Knowledge
Going to market in new regions and countries can be complicated, as you must navigate the complexities of taxation, employment and customs, including IOR and EOR challenges. Take advantage of a global field services partner’s existing infrastructure to scale your business and expand your geographic footprint across the world.
Your global field services partner should have a well-defined, mature global engagement model that highlights the level of support capabilities in each country. Extend your global reach with forward stocking programs and the ability to transact globally and avoid customs and taxation challenges. With a knowledgeable, experienced partner doing the navigating on your behalf, you get to enter new markets while also focusing investment and management attention on core competencies.
Superior Workforce Management Technology
Managing a geographically dispersed field service workforce requires a commitment to technology and process optimization to deliver effective on-time service to end users. When their IT systems are out of service, end users understandably desire to be updated on technician or parts ETAs. Look for a provider that uses superior workforce management technology like the Salesforce Field Service solution, which increases productivity and efficiency through intelligent scheduling and analytics. The system uses integrated mapping and driver tracking to communicate to end users in real time for their planning and scheduling use. The system also tracks SLA compliance and other analytics and presents data in an easy-to-use dashboard.
Noncompetitive Support to End Users
Some multi-vendor support providers compete with OEM and channel partners for warranty and service contract revenue with end users. Finding a partner who doesn’t compete for independent service contracts may seem challenging, but it’s not impossible. You need a global field services partner who respects your relationships with your other partners, including both OEM and channel partners. This means service contracts should be engaged through the channel rather than directly. With that relationship intact, the channel partner can leverage the provider’s infrastructure to offer global service and warranty coverage.
Dedicated Customer Service Success Management
Research indicates that 60 to 70 percent of new business comes from current clients, so managing the relationship with existing customers is crucial. The only thing better than capturing additional streams of revenue through account management, upselling, cross-selling and contract renewals is having a partner who can manage it all for you. With a partner focused on revenue retention and your existing customers, you can deepen customer relationships, keep your brand top of mind and maximize overall lifetime value.
Specifically, for strategic accounts, a partner can assign a client success manager as a single point of contact for the delivery team, which provides a high-touch, concierge approach to manage the experience and ensure the relationship achieves the desired outcomes. Additionally, finding a global field services partner who can offer 24x7x365 global technical support helps ensure your customers receive quality care anytime they need it.
Build Long-Lasting Relationships With Your Customers
Whether customers need a basic setup or an advanced technology deployment, you want to be able to offer them a custom-tailored, multi-vendor service that supports the technology they have purchased, the systems they already have in place and how to make them work together efficiently.
By implementing your global field services strategy with high-touch, quality-driven support before and after deployment, you reduce the risk of potential disappointments, missed deadlines and budget and scheduling problems while also demonstrating your commitment to customer success. With a suite of end-to-end technology services, a global field services partner like Tech Data Global Lifecycle Management (GLM) can help you manage every step of the service delivery process — and more.
Learn how to deliver a high-quality deployment experience with an established global field services partner in The OEM Deployment Services Survival Guide.
About the Author
Randy Hodgson joined Tech Data in 2017 and serves as the Director of Regional Lifecycle Delivery for the Global Field Services division of Global Lifecycle Management (GLM). Randy’s key responsibilities include leading GLM’s 24x7x365 Global Technical Assistance Center, strategic Client Success team and service coordination for field services delivery.