eLoyalty Enhances Its Field Service And Logistics Services

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eLoyalty Enhances Its Field Service And Logistics Services
L. Talarico - November 21, 2000

Event Summary

eLoyalty defines strategies, outlines tactics, manages technology implementations, and provides ongoing support for its clients. It has 14 practices that focus on specific aspects of CRM such as Marketing, Internet, and Operations. Its Field Service and Logistics practice focuses on effective utilization of the field service staff; the goal is to improve customer satisfaction while simultaneously making the best use of field service resources. Knowledge management resource selections and dispatch optimization are the primary technologies eLoyalty employs to ensure that service representatives have the right skills and resources at the right place at the right time.

ServicePower is a dispatch optimization vendor headquartered in England. Its main product is ServicePower 2000. Dispatch optimization includes the following functions:

  • Scheduling service appointments

  • Mapping service appointments and required service skills with the proper available field service representatives

  • Optimizing the service schedule to ensure field service resources are not being wasted

In the new partnership between the two companies, eLoyalty will provide implementation and ongoing support services for ServicePower software, in addition to creating field service strategy and tactics. eLoyalty told TEC that increasing customer satisfaction through enhancing field service (and customer service and support in general) is a fundamental, yet somewhat neglected aspect of CRM. eLoyalty believes that demand for CRM software will increase as organizations move from a product focus to a customer focus. eLoyalty also believes that demand for field service and logistics components of CRM will increase as organizations realize these can be just as valuable as such popular components as call center management and campaign management. The partnership with ServicePower signifies eLoyalty's commitment to provide Field Service and Logistics services as this market grows.

Market Impact

eLoyalty primarily competes against the Big Four consulting firms. These firms have partnered with CRM vendors and built a workforce capable of implementing CRM products. eLoyalty has partnerships with large CRM vendors including Siebel, Vantive, E.piphany, and Kana. Each of these vendors has also partnered with at least one of the Big Four. This creates a challenge for eLoyalty because the Big Four have existing relationships with a large percentage of the potential CRM market. Smaller consulting firms find it very difficult to win contracts when they compete against Big Four firms that have already done work for the client.

eLoyalty's biggest competitive advantage is its workforce. Unlike many of the consultants at a Big Four firm eLoyalty only hires seasoned veterans out of industry. As a result it has a staff that brings more personal experience to a project than what might be expected from the Big Four. eLoyalty is also completely focused on CRM. Thus they may convince potential clients that their understanding of CRM is deeper than what may be found in a large firm that hires recent graduates and implements nearly every type of business application.

Although eLoyalty's stock has suffered the plight of many technology firms (losing over 74% of its value since mid February) eLoyalty is profitable and revenues are growing. Their 3Q00 revenue was $46.8 million, up 11.4% from the previous quarter and up 42% from 3Q99. Earnings per share for 3Q00 were $0.03.

User Recommendations

Organizations should consider eLoyalty's Field Service and Logistics practice (and ServicePower 2000) if their field service staff greatly impacts customer satisfaction. The benefits of improving the field service operation are reduced cost and increased customer satisfaction. Resource matching and sophisticated dispatching reduce the number of missed appointments, enable more cases to be handled per day, and shorten the time window that customers have to wait. Overall field service optimization can improve service consistency and predictability.

One of the biggest challenges to effectively implementing sophisticated dispatching is centralizing the scheduling and dispatch process. If it is currently decentralized, convincing field service representatives to give up control of their own scheduling and to handle more service appointments per day may turn out to be more difficult and time consuming than implementing the software. Some of the potential benefits to the staff (depending on how the staff's free time is reallocated) are time for often-neglected tasks such as account control and training. They may also gain a better balance between work and home.

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