A customer’s first-hand experience of an organisation’s service has an enduring impact on its future relationship with them. It is an opportunity that should not be wasted or lost, but like every other business activity, it has to be delivered within a finite budget. Management has to perform a delicate and financially critical balancing act to meet the level of demand for service and the expectations raised by the sales hype at an acceptable cost. The challenge is to strike the right balance between field force efficiency, safety and high standards of customer service. This is the key to profitability, customer satisfaction and lasting differentiation.
Corven Networks has produced a research report that identifies emerging and best practices in optimising remote field force performance for service differentiation. The research focused on remote field forces delivering service to customers and explicitly excluded sales teams. We spoke to leading organisations in industry and for the purposes of this report we defined the characteristics of remote workers as including the following:
• They perform their work away from company premises, although they may occasionally go into a company location;
• They represent your organisation to your customers and your potential customers;
• The degree of geographical remoteness can be very small, or very great. What counts is the feeling of remoteness - the sense of ‘me’ and ‘them’;
• In the normal course of their work they do not receive constant, small, subliminal, visual, verbal and behavioural reminders of the organisation’s values, expectations and brand.
So, how can managers ensure that their remote workers are delivering maximum value for their customers and shareholders? The report proposes a model of excellence containing eleven common themes that must be addressed, and most importantly aligned, to strike the optimum balance of efficiency, customer service and safety for an individual organisation. How the model is applied will depend on the business in question - some organisations will need to place greater emphasis on certain themes than others, but each of these elements must be addressed if a remote field force is to become truly effective. The eleven themes are:
• Standard processes, tools, roles and equipment;
• Safe processes, tools and equipment;
• Aligned values and behaviours;
• Balanced measures;
• Centralised scheduling;
• Knowledge sharing system;
• Continuous improvement;
• Team spaces;
• Multi-skilled workers;
• Blurred geographical boundaries.
We provide practical examples of how leading organisations respond to the challenge of optimising their remote field forces, and how they address these themes without them becoming restrictive.
Finally the research suggests that the key to optimised remote field force performance is not simply optimised processes but an engaged, incentivised, empowered workforce. We describe the best practices in developing such a workforce and demonstrate the innovative ways that companies have achieved this.
About the Corven Group
Corven (corven.com) is an integrated group of businesses focussed on creating shareholder value through strategic change. We operate internationally through the following divisions:
Corven Consulting: Global management consulting and financial advisory firm with offices in the UK and North America – Delivering Results, Building Capability
Corven Ventures: UK focused, activist principal finance investor – Investing for Value through Change
Corven Networks: An exclusive network of leaders and innovators – Building Better Business
We work as a single firm and draw upon and integrate these different capabilities when this delivers greater value to our clients and investments. This allows us to offer innovative and tailored solutions that we believe in. We are committed to supporting our clients achieve sustainable results through building the capability to deliver change and driving shareholder value. That's our primary focus and we have built an exceptional reputation for doing it successfully with FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies as well as with central government departments, in Europe and North America.
Corven Consulting Limited (registered in England and Wales No. 3752224) with registered offices at 30 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4EX