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Key functions that Service Management solutions must offer

Key functions that Service Management solutions must offer

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Service-centered industries face two key challenges in their pursuit to success; becoming more responsive and delivering accurate, reliable services at speed. Research reveals that customers are twice as likely to report a bad experience than share about a good one. This means that services must be delivered on time, as required, and in excellence to avoid watching customers walk out the door. Jane Thomson, Managing Director at EOH Infor Services (formerly Softworx), says that, to be effective, Service Management solutions must offer five key functions.

When managed correctly, Service Management entails a customer-focused approach to delivering Information Technology – providing value to the customer while strengthening the relationship. With the right software, assets and products in place, both speed and responsiveness can be achieved. Industry specific Service Management software solutions help businesses to perform better, by supporting the delivery of better equipment service; faster problems resolution; and the efficient management of the entire service process.

The first key function is work orders. The tool must be able to track and manage work orders for faster completion and more accurate billing. Second is scheduling and dispatch. The solution must help to organisation to gain visibility into each technician’s schedule and qualifications to increase resolution speed and minimise non-essential trips.

Third is service history. Does the software offer access to complete historical data? Without this access, informed decisions cannot be made. This leads on to the fourth key function; analytics. There’s no value to the data if it cannot easily be analysed down to the detail level.

Last is service contracts. The tool must track and manage service level agreements with maximum efficiency. Service supply chains are often more complex than the supply chain of finished goods. As a framework to structure IT-related activities, and the interactions of IT personnel with customers, strategic service management meets the needs of the customer without undue complexity or supplier cost.

Every industry has unique needs and challenges, so utilising industry specific software is therefore paramount. Solutions such as Infor Service Management provide highly focused capabilities that help companies compete effectively in selected industries.

With specifications for contract service organisations, equipment maintenance, general manufacturing, hospitality, facilities and HVAC, the solution delivers unique benefits to each industry. In the process, it develops a highly responsive, information-driven service organisation that is capable of building trusting, long term customer relationships.

Driving transformation in hospitality

Thomson has also analysed the hospitality industry and how it has been affected by globalisation and rapid digitalisation.

According to an Infor report, in 2016, 52% of all travel reservations were made online, with 65% of same-day hotel reservations made from a smartphone. Hospitality organisations that don’t meet their customers’ need for a digital presence and mobile operations will soon become irrelevant.

Thomson there are three key challenges to delivering excellent customer experience – internal operations, marketing operations and technology foundation.

“When it comes to internal operations, front of the house (property management and guest management) and back of the house operations often aren’t aligned, resulting in inefficient workflow and operational glitches,” she said.

“When these inefficiencies affect the customer, their experience is tainted.

“Marketing operations should go much further than the latest promotional campaign. Every interaction with a guest or potential guest should be seen as a marketing opportunity. Yet, many hospitality companies are unable to interact with their guests in a seamless and intelligent way, across all touch points. Systems that enable the users to identify the time of an interaction or pull up an individual’s preferences are essential to delivering personalised guest experiences.

“Hospitality establishments often lack the technology foundation that ties all areas of the business together, thus marketing and internal operations cannot collaborate and achieve efficiency. With no common store to collect data on individual customers, and make it accessible across the organisation, opportunities to create unique guest experiences and interactions are lost.  What is needed is a solution that delivers in-context business intelligence, such as detailed guest history, preference profiles and recommendations presented at the point of guest interaction. This empowers users to react in real time, and surprise guests with an even better experience than they had imagined.”

Infor has developed a targeted set of hospitality solutions, driving customer experience in a powerfully positive way. Infor Hospitality is already achieving this across the globe, delivering customer experiences in over 20,000 hotels, restaurants and casinos in more than 100 countries.

The solution will officially be launched across Africa in February by EOH Infor Services. The strategic set of solutions is tailored to the hospitality industry, giving these establishments the power to delight their guests and increase sales by more than 30%, maximise revenue by as much as 7%, and reduce labour costs by 6%.

Streamlined operations, run in an integrated system for all guest and hotel data, mean employees and management can stay on top of all the intricate details that ensure a superior guest experience.

“Can you ask customers to be your guest, with full confidence that all of their needs and expectations will be met?” asked Thomson.

“If not, you’re falling short. With the power of a digitally transformed organisation at your fingertips, why settle for being average?”

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