Going Up: Field Service Takes Elevator Revenues to New Heights

The ‘domino effect’ is a cruel thing. No matter how good your product or field service, your success can be affected by related-industry conditions you can’t control. Take the construction industry. When building construction slows, the building transportation industry – the elevators, escalators and moving walkways responsible for billions of journeys every year – takes a hit.

That’s when dominoes becomes a chess game. The winners will be the players who provide new strategic, efficient, and proactive field services for existing clients’ building transport systems. That is because these businesses recognise the value of arming their field technicians with information that helps them identify opportunities to grow revenue, beyond simply dealing with customer’s break-fix issues.

Elevator installation and maintenance is a $1 billion a year business in Australia, but the industry struggled to lift revenue over the past five years. This is mainly due to poor conditions in commercial property construction and stagnant maintenance revenue, according to IBISWorld*[1].

This sector is also very labour intensive. IBIS World estimates for every $1 spent on capital, another $89.50 is spent on labour.

That makes an elevator maintenance field force a major cost centre – but also presents a significant opportunity to grow revenue by becoming a strategic service partner, not simply a service supplier.

The winning service businesses are those that use the extensive and integrated field service management capabilities of ServiceMax to differentiate their service offer and add tangible value to their customers’ business.

A field maintenance team armed with the right information, available onsite from their iPad, can fulfill a broader role than field service. They become an extension of the sales team – the front line customer interface and trusted advisor.

With ServiceMax, Mobile service businesses can track the history of every customer, part and product. When a customer calls, the technician knows the make, model, serial number, components and service history for each piece of equipment. The technician has up-to-date details about the status of the customer’s contract renewals, warranties and service level agreements  – everything needed for a fast, first time fix - and a positive customer experience.

The ability to have the customer sign on the spot, receive an electronic copy of the work order and even get invoice approvals while still onsite has direct revenue flow implications – but there is an even greater opportunity to change the face of the field service.

Up Sell Opportunities

When service tasks are completed faster, technicians can spend time identifying additional opportunities to grow revenue and deliver customer benefits while still onsite.

Technicians can capture rich data in ServiceMax, and use it to transform the service offering. They can use this information to uncover opportunities to up-sell, such as recommending upgrades that deliver the customer cost savings, extend the life of their capital investment, or preempt and address a potential issue before it arises.

About half of the 900,000 elevators in the USA today are more than 20 years old. A similar profile in Australia presents a significant opportunity to help building managers leverage the benefits of new technology and improve eco-efficiency.

Furthermore, building transportation systems can account for up to 5% of a building’s energy use. Field technicians can use the information in ServiceMax to inform the customer about features to reduce energy consumption - and costs. That could involve installing more energy efficient lighting systems, or having downward moving escalators regenerate energy back into the grid, or setting escalators and moving walkways to reduce speed (and energy use) when not carrying passengers.

New field services aren’t just about maintaining and fixing what’s already there. It’s about arming technicians with what they need to work more efficiently and identify and recommend improvements that save the customer time and money. When that happens, the domino effect is revenue growth.

Sydney-based ProQuest Consulting is a Platinum Partner for Salesforce.com and strategic implementation partner for ServiceMax.  ServiceMax is a cloud-based application leveraging the world's leading cloud platform, Salesforce.com.

[1] Source: http://www.ibisworld.com.au/industry/elevator-installation-and-maintenance.html, December 2013

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