Maintaining strong relationships with our customers is at the heart of everything we do at IFS, and the IFS Champions program was born out of this mindset. Mike Pfarrer, VP of IT at Scope Services, was nominated by his peers and chosen to be an IFS Champion for the great work he is doing, and I got the chance to speak with him about this and what service means to him.
Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Mike, I’m the vice president of IT at Scope Services here in St Joseph, Michigan, USA. I have been here for approximately a year and a half. Prior to this I came from Whirlpool, where I was an IT manager overseeing the IT aspect of Whirlpool’s engineering department. Before that I was in the United States Navy for 20 years, where I was involved in a plethora of different things. That is pretty much me in a nutshell!
At Scope Services what does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for us is, untypical. We communicate with our clients, discussing field activities or issues they’re having with our work order management solution, or with their handhelds. One of my divisions is a production and development team, who works closely with the project team to satisfy requirements for the client. Another person on my team, deals with the infrastructure and operational support; so handheld support, helpdesk tickets, etc. That’s from a corporate standpoint to a client facing standpoint. The last group I have is a security team who works on our cyber security such as SOC2 Certification or a government NIST audit, so they’re continuously monitoring our system and ensuring that we’re secure. I work on securing new clients and working on selling Scope Services, I look at innovation and growth for the IT community, shifting or transforming us from a static waterfall type mentality into an Agile, DevOps, DevSecOps type culture. So, all of that is in on my notebook every day!
I know Scope Services joined IFS as a customer through the Clevest acquisition in 2020, tell us about that relationship.
We currently use the Clevest solution and were actually Clevest’s first customer! We have been using the Clevest software for a very long time and we have a long history with the Clevest arm of IFS. What makes the relationship great is that we are one of the few customers that has advanced privileges, we are what I would refer to us as a lighthouse program. We look at the application’s strategic goals, its strategic direction and we highlight any issues before the product is put out to market. Now as we grow with the IFS community, we are continuously looking for the next best offering for us, we want to take advantage of current and future state innovations, technology improvements and so forth. Our path will follow or will include IFS.
What do you think a great service means to you?
Great service to me means that we anticipate problems and fix them before they’re noticed or they’re impactful. If there is an issue, we get it fixed quickly, complying with SLAs, complying with customer needs so the issue is fixed before the customer even knows it. Most importantly we provide customers with a service that makes their jobs easy. In my role as a support function, I want to make jobs for field technicians easy, and almost make IT, the work order management solution, all the processes that go on to make the job happen, I want to make that transparent.
What is the service angle at Scope Services, how important is it?
Service for us is the primary way that we make a profit, we want our clients to come back to us. When you hire Scope, service is what they are hiring; they need to know about the quality of our service, and the people that they are receiving our service from. There is an efficiency and a work ethic behind all this that stands with our name. Scope Services has a good reputation for this, we communicate with our clients, we want to be their partner, and that’s what service at Scope breaks down to. It’s providing this service, we don’t want to be a ‘well you’re just a subcontractor’, no, we want to be part of our client’s strategic solution, we want to assist with the vision and the mission of their company, we want to partner with them.
At IFS we talk about the Moment of Service™ and we define that as the moment when every business process comes together to delight a customer. What would you say is your Moment of Service at Scope Services?
To me our moment of service happens on day one. When we turn the switch ‘ON’ when a project is operational. ‘Are we there?’ ‘Is the system working?’ ‘Do we have the right people hired and equipped with the tools and processes that they need?’ ‘Are we able to represent our client to the consumer?’ Because that’s really what it is all about, Scope Services becomes the face of the client to the consumer, and so we need to know we are ready for that. That’s where that moment of service is; when there’s not a single hiccup on day one.
In your consumer life, can you describe a moment where you’ve felt like you’ve experienced a great moment of service?
Absolutely, I’ve experienced many. Like picking up your phone and going on Amazon, which I did last night at about 2:00 o’clock in the morning as I had to figure out how to get rid of a mouse in my house! It’s that service. It’s not even thinking about going shopping. It’s going to a fitter for golf and walking in and they are more concerned about you as a person and what you need rather than trying to sell. The other day I had a sales rep at my house to replace a door, and though we did not end up going through with the sale, I enjoyed the conversation. He was understanding and realistic and when we showed clear sticker shock at the proposed cost of the replacement, he immediately understood our concern and did not try to force the sale.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I play a lot of golf. Don’t tell my boss! That’s my quiet time because IT support can get to you, it can drag you down. I don’t want to compare myself to a doctor or a nurse, but there are similarities in a technological sense; the nature of IT support is to always hear about the bad things, and you always deal with problems that need fixing. You never hear about the good things, people never talk about their email account because it just works, until it doesn’t work! Golf is my escape, but family is important to me. I have a wife and two children, and two dogs that I spend a lot of time with, or at least I try to; my son is now 22 and rarely at home, and my daughter is a senior in high school and so Dad is boring these days! I do work in the yard and work in my workshop too, but really family is number one, and then golf is number 2, and then work is more like 5 or 6!
To find out more about IFS Champions and the impact they have on our customer ecosystem, click here.
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