eFiles: June 11, 2001

The next big thing: Field service; Energy companies not plugged in?

The next big thing: Field service

Recognizing that success means keeping customers happy even after theyve bought your product, companies are increasingly emphasizing customer and field service. The Yankee Group Inc., in Boston, estimates that revenues of field service software vendors will reach $515 million by 2004, up from $250 million this year.

According to a report from Yankee, technological developments in wireless and mobile devices have the potential to transform the delivery of service over the next two to three years. Enterprises looking for new field services products and features will also benefit from increased competition, including products coming from large customer relationship management vendors such as Oracle Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc.

Energy companies not plugged in?

Energy companies, on the other hand, could stand to improve their Web-based customer service offerings. According to a report by Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn., only 27 percent of 100 energy companies surveyed used automated response systems to alert customers that their service inquiry was received. And fewer than 20 percent of companies had answers regarding something as fundamental as starting a new service available on their Web sites.

The survey also found that only 26 percent of energy companies indicate how long it will take consumers to receive a response, either on their Web sites or via automated response, to an inquiry.