The Service Community’s Special Event attracted nearly 60 service professionals who were clearly up to the challenge of debating key service challenges whilst paying tribute to the legacy of Steve Downton, founder of the Community who lost his battle with cancer in January this year.
The generous host for the event was Unisys, coordinated by Alistair Martin, who ensured guests were treated to first class refreshments and facilities at the Customer Services Centre in Milton Keynes
Clara Downton, Steve’s second eldest daughter opened the session with a touching message from the Downton family reflecting on the spirit of the occasion and how proud Steve would have been to see the passion that was on show. Steve’s widow Kate, was guest of honour and engaged with old friends and new community members throughout the event.
The agenda had been deliberately paced to pack in many presentations and practitioner case studies to showcase the Community at its best. We were not disappointed.
“Transforming for Tomorrow” kicked off the presentations in earnest. Pitney Bowes’ Field Service Management Andy Beer and Mark King shared a fascinating case study of how they deployed a service application to avoid meaningless data and to provide real-time information to ensure that their field service team were truly optimised.
To follow this punchy opening, would take something special, luckily Mark Rawding of Coca Cola Enterprises was ready for the challenge. Mark’s insight into deploying technology for customer satisfaction, dovetailed perfectly with the Pitney Bowes’ experience. The key messages of Mark’s success were appropriate for a mobile application; focus on device selection and engage more with the customer. Both these opening presentations generated great interest from the audience, with pertinent questions and full engagement a true indicator that the sessions had nit the mark.
Martin Summerhayes picked up without missing a beat, deliberating about the reality of field service practices, describing what is known at Fujitsu as the ‘infinity loop’ of the service cycleThe Service Community welcomed Martin Gilday to the stage. Martin, SVP at Elekta (manufacturers of medical equipment) recounted his memories of Steve as he blended the importance of effective knowledge management at Elekta with personal experiences from his long services career. The content and relaxed delivery kept the audience captivated and carried us effortlessly to the halfway mark. The networking opportunity of the Community is a key feature that Steve understood to be one of the value-added benefits of the organisation; this was underscored by the lively discussions and interactions that ensued throughout the break.
The penultimate presentation got underway, Martin Summerhayes picked up without missing a beat, deliberating about the reality of field service practices, describing what is known at Fujitsu as the ‘infinity loop’ of the service cycle. His interactive style ensured that Martin gained optimal feedback as he demonstrated why he has been invited to speak on several occasions at the Service Community events.
Incredibly after what was aptly described as a ‘marathon sprint’ the final presentation was underway. Graeme Coyne of Siemens hit a chord as he described the challenges of inspiring the next generation of Service Engineers and producing a powerful service operation. The audience responded energetically, asking hard hitting questions about how to relate to young people in a way to attract them into the service industry. It was a lively conclusion to the formal presentations and generated relevant content for a future meeting.
This packed Special Event easily delivered on its objectives, whilst the energy and involvement of the guests certainly demonstrated that active participation is the only type that matters. Chris Farnath of Allocate Software chaired the event and wrapped the formal session. As indicated ahead of the event, he then invited interested guests to debate the future direction of the Service Community. As a testimony to the success of the proceedings, nearly three quarters of the guests remained for the break-out session, where it became very clear, very quickly that the Service Community had relevance, longevity and a unique position to offer service professionals.
The content of the meetings is the life-blood of The Community, followed closely by the generosity of participants to offer facilities and key skills such as PR, marketing promotion or other services that will keep The Service Community alive. To this point, the next event is scheduled for September – date to be confirmed.