In 2014, our service management team was challenged by the company’s corporate management to work towards being the best in the industry or get out of the business entirely. We had had a field service crew in place for the previous 15 years but the processes by which it ran were less than exceptional. The information required to fix equipment in the field was siloed off in each department. Billing, parts, sales, and the field service team each had different systems for recording customer issues, keeping track of time spent on projects, and reporting costs for the customer and the company.
With the goal of distancing ourselves from the competition and providing better customer service, we decided to look for a platform that would streamline the flow of information and give us data to help optimize operations. The IT department headed up the project management and Field Service Operations Manager, Mark Kragenbring, served as the project sponsor. The two key requirements that we were looking for in a platform were compatibility with Salesforce, our CRM system, and the capability to use the solution offline. After comparing a number of software options, we selected ServiceMax as our platform of choice.
ServiceMax was implemented over the next 6 months as we organized the flow of information between departments. Our developers built out additional features and integrated ServiceMax with our ERP system. Once the platform was in place, the service department was able to improve by leaps and bounds. After the first year, the number of weekly work orders increased by 27%, technician productivity increased by 20%, and the time it took to get an invoice to a customer decreased from nine days to one. By automating repetitive office tasks, the service team was able to save ten hours a week.
Kragenbring states, “ServiceMax enabled us to have a consistent way to track customer issues and the service techs now understand the importance of filling out the forms, doing part requests, and part returns, all while being punched into the work order.” The platform’s intuitive design allows service techs to easily record project data on their tablets or smart phones. Managers and salesmen have access to this data at any time, giving them insights that were never available to them before. “The best thing about the data collected by ServiceMax is that we know that it’s real and it’s accurate,” says Kragenbring. Customers receive consistent information about the services they pay for because the project forms are all on the same platform.
The increased efficiency in our processes has allowed us to expand our service tech team considerably. We now have 13 full-time service techs located throughout a six state area. Installation, service, and maintenance of POS systems, fuel dispensers, and tank sumps and monitoring equipment is available from our experienced crew at C-Stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. Additionally, we’ve been able to add three dedicated phone support techs to solve customer issues that don’t require a store visit.
What started as a serviceable yet inefficient department of the company has turned into one our strongest and most productive teams. We’re committed to leveraging the best and latest technology in order to provide the best possible customer service and allow the talent within our company perform at their highest potential.