An increasing reality of business in the past 10-15 years is that IT -- which was previously a very specific silo for some companies -- has become a totally integrated part of business operations. If you sell pretty much any product or service now, you need a website with information about what it is, what it does, and next steps for potential customers. That website’s performance is often driven by a mix of IT and marketing. That’s just one small example.
Service-level agreements, in essence, assure an organization a defined amount of stability, reliability, and performance from their IT infrastructure. It’s basically a ‘comfort zone’ around technological infrastructure and how it links back to customer outcomes.
This is very important in field service management organizations, and specifically of importance to the plumbing industry. It’s a key driver of profitability within many plumbing companies.
In short form, increased profitability typically emerges from increased customer satisfaction. Effective service-level management should be driving customer satisfaction by creating a more integrated, nearly-seamless experience for the end customer in terms of how the technology is working for them.
Let’s say a potential customer suddenly has a clogged toilet. He or she should be able to find your website quickly, visit it, and gain the relevant information (such as phone number or problems you can address), call you, schedule an appointment (or do so right from the website), then know what time a plumber should be arriving. Once the customer is at this stage, he or she should be able to track the plumber in the context of his or her other appointments. The customer information should be loaded onto your site so that the plumber knows exactly the problem when he or she arrives, and the invoice can be generated and signed for on-site.
The above is mostly seamless integration of ‘customer experience’ and ‘plumbing operations,’ which is the ultimate goal of service-level management.
For more information, you can download our eBook about steps to undertake in service-level management. It will go into much more detail about the core steps in using service-level management as a path to profitability:
- Setting goals
- Linking those goals to KPIs
- Tying those KPIs to forms of measurement
- Building out a library
- Deciding on a reporting framework
- Consistently re-evaluating and re-iterating your best practices
You can read through it, think about it in the context of your plumbing (or other) business, and then contact us to talk through some of the pain points. We love helping small businesses find paths to profit through different techniques.