Why You Shouldn’t Approach Service with a Project Mentality
The skills required for a good project team don’t necessarily overlap with the skills required for a good service.
If there’s a common thread I see with the best integrators all over the country, it’s that they all have a strong team capable of executing the most complicated projects like a well-oiled machine. While these highly-skilled project teams are as valuable as ever, today’s home technology market demands an equally sharp focus on building out your service operations.
The challenge here is that the skills required for a good project team don’t necessarily overlap directly with the skills required for a good service.
While these skills are not mutually exclusive (e.g. companies can and should be good at both project management and service management), It is important to recognize that building an effective service team requires you to embrace new cultural values and skills within your company.
Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between a successful project team and a successful service team, and why having both puts you in a position to dominate in today’s challenging market.
What Defines a Good Project Team?
First and foremost, a good project team works well within a pre-defined budget and scope of work. Preventing “scope creep” and issuing all necessary billable change orders in a timely manner are paramount concerns.
Project timelines, which have a finite beginning and end, are often dictated to you by a builder or homeowner, and then broken into a phased approach. This lends itself well to a regimented schedule where days and tasks are determined in advance. These tasks are then assigned in a hierarchical manner by a project manager to a field crew whose job it is to execute, stay on schedule and report back at regular intervals.
The success of your project team hinges on a fairly methodical, process-driven approach which focuses on the key areas of budget, scope and schedule.
What Defines a Good Service Team?
In contrast to a good project team, a good service team thrives in a much less predictable environment.
The day-to-day operating environment of a service team is full of unexpected issues which often require urgent attention. Unlike the finite timelines of projects, the demand for service is continuous. And without a project’s relatively predictable schedule, forecasting needs and therefore scheduling service labor more than a couple days in advance can be virtually impossible.
With such divergent challenges, it’s no surprise that building a good service team requires taking a unique approach. Check out the image below, which illustrates some of the unique characteristics of a great service team.
Removing the hierarchical reporting structures common in project teams is a good place to start. Service team members should be empowered with the autonomy to resolve issues in the most expedient manner possible.
Moreover, focusing on results first (e.g. how quickly did you solve the client’s problem), as opposed to enforcing adherence to rigid processes, is key.
The Benefits of Building a Successful Service Team
Building out a good service team requires a lot of effort, but the results pay large dividends. In fact, we believe in the importance of this transition so strongly that we recently created a Partner Development group within OneVision that is dedicated exclusively to providing integrators with a turnkey solution to making this leap.
The demand for service in today’s connected home is at an all-time high and climbing steadily. Looking at this fact with a project team’s mentality probably causes you consternation. To a project manager, these service incidents represent little more than a distraction, pulling resources from their project team and detracting from their ability to stay on schedule.
On the other hand, a service team sees opportunity in every service interaction. Every phone call or email represents a chance to build trust, earn goodwill, and strengthen relationships. The constant demand is seen not as a resource drain, but as a conduit for recurring, high-margin revenue streams. And, instead of only tapping into the value of large projects once every five to ten years, your business is now in a position to benefit from the true lifetime value of your clients on an everyday basis.
But only by instilling the values and skills of a good service team within your business will you be in a position to tap into this massive opportunity.
For more information about service and using it to create RMR, visit www.onevisionresources.com/blog.
Joseph Kolchinsky is the founder of OneVision Resources and investor of companies in the personal and home technology industry. He is also a frequent speaker on the evolving nature of supporting the connected home and related IoT. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joseph at [email protected]
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