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Service: National or Local?

ServiceCustomer satisfaction is the backbone of any successful service company, and repeat business is what we all strive for. In hopes of building off success, we build our web sites around customer testimonials and create marketing materials around customer references. Long lasting relationships are sustained through the consistent performance of the service team. Depending on the client base of the service team, these relationships can take several different forms. The service management team and the service field team each play a key role. Let’s talk about how these roles can shift.

Locally, the relationship between the customer and contractor is organically intimate. The customer is contacting a firm in their local market, where they continually speak with a familiar voice on the phone and interact with a familiar face in the field. The role of the voice on the phone and the familiar face in the field are magnified to the local customer. The customer finds both comfort and confidence through the person-to-person relationships built with these service team members. Conversational methods for problem solving and avoidance of negative issues can typically be utilized.

The customer / contractor relationship takes a different shape when dealing with a national client base. National account customers typically utilize a centralized control system, which may include multiple departments on their end.  Purchasing may have processed the service contract, operations may manage the contract, and maintenance services or a local manager may supervise the actual service being performed. It can be a tangled web for a service provider to navigate. In this scenario, the service provider’s management team is in the forefront. The management team must prepare processes for handling the customer’s calls or e-mails, properly scheduling and dispatching the work, and properly preparing the invoices. Without a method of checks and balances, compliance with the customer’s demands can become unachievable. A national client’s confidence is earned with a combination of field performance and a strong record of meeting or exceeding their requirements.

A best-in-class service provider consists of a strong team from top to bottom. Just like the scenario above, our roles must interchange from top to bottom to properly serve our clients. A good service manager can identify when it is appropriate to step back, as well as step forward. Knowing your role in the client relationship and performing it well will lead you to your goal – customer satisfaction.