From engine manufacturer to successful service company
The starting point
For many companies, particularly in the industrial sector, expansion of the service division is a big topic. Medium-sized manufacturer of engines INNIO Jenbacher is no exception, and bruhnpartner is accompanying them in their quest to expand the Jenbacher engine service division.
Expansion of the service business will only be successful (and ultimately, profitable) if the service offerings meet customers’ needs. That’s exactly where this project came in, setting out to:
- Define what customers need from Jenbacher engine services
- Determine Jenbacher’s current performance in meeting service requirements
- Benchmark regions with regard to service performance
- Convert the findings into a practicable action plan
- Make the relevant departments aware of the importance of the topic and establish a uniform understanding of service excellence
Building a deep understanding of the customer through qualitative expert interviews
To develop a customer-centric service strategy, it was imperative to gain a thorough understanding of the needs and ecosystem of the customers. How are the engines used in different industries? What technical systems are the engines integrated into? What does the customer consider to be the relevant service issues?
The first step involved extensive interviews with executives and decision-makers from different industries and countries. The objective was to identify the relevant drivers for customer satisfaction and to determine what basic factors and satisfaction metrics go into excellent service. Furthermore, pertinent parameters such as referrals and customer loyalty through service contracts were investigated.
Developing the “Service Excellence Model” and measuring current market performance
A “Service Excellence Model” was developed based on the findings of the interviews. It will allow for pinpointing the right focal points down the road when developing the service division.
The next step involved using a quantitative survey to test the model and draw out more specific data. The objectives were to validate assumptions regarding causal relationships, reveal nuances of different markets and regions, and foster internal acceptance of the results. The survey was administered online and distributed to the markets of the pertinent countries. Collaboration with organizations in the respective countries was part of the process in order to achieve a high degree of commitment and a positive response from customers to the survey. The very high response rates per country show that this was successful and indicate that the results are representative.
Using a toolbox of statistical methods to arrive at actionable implications
The Service Excellence Model was able to be validated and fortified using the data from the online survey. The following values were now revealed for each of the relevant drivers of service satisfaction: relevance to overall satisfaction, current rating from the customer’s point of view, and idiosyncrasies by industry and country. A special multiple regression analysis technique was used to put this together. It might look complicated at first glance, but for the experts, it’s no black magic. Coming to decisive conclusions regarding importance and valuation of current service activities could not have been achieved through simple descriptive evaluation methodology.
Regardless, the best statistics are still valuable even if they don’t become relevant to management. Thus, a final step was to develop an intuitive management tool from the statistical model to extrapolate specific measures and initiatives.
Driving the strategy and the organization using knowledge about the customer
Customer interviews, the surveys from the different countries, and the Service Excellence Model together provided comprehensive findings for the further development of the engine manufacturer’s service strategy. The task now was to incorporate these findings into the service strategy and to use them throughout the organization. Three areas of implementation stemmed from this:
- Communicating the findings from the customer studies in a variety of formats to be distributed company-wide, from executive management to the markets of individual countries
- Developing country-specific initiatives with the aim of managing them centrally while implementing findings on a locale-specific basis
- Conducting customer journey workshops for specific service cases (e.g., technical inquiries, ordering spare parts, maintenance), with special consideration of customer needs
"The global customer study conducted by bruhnpartner provided us with valuable insight for aligning our service strategy even more closely with the customer. We have used the findings to set up global and local initiatives that have had a marked impact on the customer’s service experience and thus also on the service division, in turn positively impacting new business prospects."
Martin Wendel, Vice President Global Service, INNIO Group
Drivers of success in this project
Across all initiatives, it is clear that the customer surveys and the driver model form the central basis for achieving an understanding of customer needs that is uniform across the company. This enables prioritization and fruitful guidance of measures. Additionally, the “outside-in” view is objective and generates the acceptance necessary for the results, which is an important factor for internal involvement.