Among the biggest challenges for any field services firm is finding other organizations to partner with.
As an article on the Channel Partners website points out, few companies in the industry can do it all, especially as customer needs evolve rapidly and their solution requirements grow.
Finding reasons to develop advantageous relationships is the easy part. Understanding the actual process is far more complex. Before signing any formal business agreement, both parties need to complete the following five steps.
- Set the rules of engagement.
- Decide who owns the customer relationship.
- Agree on a revenue formula and spell out who gets paid for what.
- Understand each other’s business model.
- Form and treat the partnership just like you would with any vendor agreement.
Field services agencies need to automate as many components of the agreement as possible. This will help them avoid disruptions in the normal business flow of customer transactions. Easy automations include loading pricing agreements, work order completion verification, and automatically generated vouchers to pay your partners.
It’s so important that agencies integrate these components into their own field service management software so they don’t drive administrative costs through the roof. If you’re using a subcontractor all the time, for example, putting together a pricing agreement and automatically cutting a check when the work is complete seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Japanese carmakers have been doing this for decades.
Good communication also is vital to successful partnerships, according to the Channel Partners article. It’s hard to build trust unless both parties are open about everything from their target markets to long-term business plans.
Don’t limit communication to emails and an occasional phone call. Make sure the agreement spells out how often to meet and details the customer responsibilities that each company is in charge of.
Source: Channel Partners, December 2012