Do you know what lengths KVH will go to keep your systems running, you and your ships connected, and your venture profitable?
Here at headquarters, we decided to ask the manager of KVH Global Field Service (GFS), Joe Wallace, for that answer. What he told us about the accomplishments of the GFS team carries the whiff of a James Bond thriller – and it’s all true.
Imagine getting stuck on an oil platform in coastal Nigeria for 17 days, until a working helicopter can retrieve you (the one you were in crashed).
Or taking a busman’s holiday cruising the Indian Ocean so you could complete the antenna installation you’d begun when the ship was in port in the island nation of Mauritius, off the southeast coast of Africa.
Or using bamboo poles to haul the 1.1-meter KVH TracVision HD11 antenna that wouldn’t fit in an elevator up the exterior wall of a 14-story building in Hong Kong to mount it on the roof, where it could be set on four tires, then tested.
“That’s the kind of stuff that happens,” Wallace says. “The mission and scope of Global Field Service represents a premium level of service, and a commitment to 24/7 global and regional assistance that often occurs in challenging, remote, and unstable regions. At the very least, the Global Field Service team understands that standard operating procedure means there usually is no such thing as a standard operating procedure.”
KVH’s commercial clients function amid an unpredictable world stage, harsh marine environments, and an ever-changing marketplace. “Every minute they’re delayed outside of a port because something isn’t working costs tens of thousands of dollars, and it racks up fast,” Wallace says. “We ensure our clients are operating without incident, because when they go down it becomes an instant crisis situation. There’s a lot of pressure to get in there and get them back online.”
While the GFS unit represents yet another way KVH deploys resources to help SATCOM clients optimize uptime and ensure a maximum return on investment, KVH also demonstrates ongoing commitment through other channels: a vast network of service partners around the world and a round-the-clock technical support team operating from corporate headquarters.
In sharing one goal – a top-notch customer experience that results from superior products and reliable support – the service partners, technical support staff, and Global Field Service team also collaborate with each other.
“If the service partner has contacted technical support and the problem can’t be solved remotely, GFS will get involved,” Wallace says. “Most cases are capably resolved by technical support, but if there’s still a problem, GFS will come in.”
In fact, the work of Global Field Service also plays a critical role in product evolution. Parts that are returned to KVH’s repair department are routinely analyzed by the engineering and manufacturing departments. “Ultimately, this benefits our customers because we’re improving our products,” Wallace says.
Also, based on an assessment of client volume and traffic patterns, KVH has designated 17 service partners as consignment locations around the world. “We have parts in Brazil, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, to name a few,” Wallace says. “We push our parts closer to where we need them to speed up the service process.”
Given that KVH clients function in more than 3,600 ports, and realizing that “every country and every port has different capabilities,” according to Wallace, the role of each Global Field Service team member is vital to overall success. “We need exceptional people who can function in those environments,” Wallace says.
And while instances of derring-do are inevitable, what it usually takes to succeed in the job is a formidable degree of flexibility, a fondness for heights, and a can-do frame of mind.
“You can train anybody to do anything,” he adds, “but you can’t train attitude. Our team members have the right attitude.”
And that means KVH customers benefit.
“It’s an improved capability for us to be able to enhance customer experience anywhere in the world,” says Wallace, who worked in global field service for communications corporations before joining KVH. “That’s one of the biggest improvements that I feel our team has brought to KVH – the ability to install and service products anywhere in the world.”
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