During his decade as an Information Systems Consultant in Digital Equipment’s field service organization, Great Brook’s principal, Fred Van Bennekom, was perplexed by a seeming contradiction. Field service engineers had incredibly tight bonds with customers. (In fact, one former engineer said that if he told customers to put toothpaste on their computer, they would!) Yet, these tight bonds were not fully leveraged by the company for information about product use, product performance, or customer needs.
Fred’s academic research focused on customer feedback practices, both feedback from customers to service organizations about service quality and feedback from the service organization to product developers about product performance. For the past decades he has been helping companies translate these lessons into business practice through his Customer Surveying book and Survey Workshop series, a unique training offering that Fred delivers worldwide.
Frederick C. Van Bennekom, Dr.B.A., Principal
Fred Van Bennekom founded Great Brook to apply the lessons he learned from his research and past experience in support service organizations. In addition to his role at Great Brook, Dr. Van Bennekom taught for 2 decades in the Executive MBA program at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration in Boston. Fred teaches Operations Management and Service Management courses with a focus on breakthrough strategies for quality improvement. He has previously taught on an adjunct basis at Babson College, Harvard University’s Certificate in Management program, the Hult International Business School, Boston College, Boston University, and Bryant University.
Fred has also co-produced annual Voice of the Customer conferences and monthly executive breakfasts targeted for customer support executives.
Prior to Great Brook and his venture into academia, Fred served ten years as an information systems consultant for Digital Equipment Corporation’s Field Service organization. He was an architect of operational reporting systems for front-line field service management and key metrics reporting for senior management. Fred helped design and build a business information center for field service, which was a unique concept at the time. While information technologies have made it obsolete, the fundamental design has stood the test of time.
Fred received his A.B. from Bowdoin College — in non-Greek that’s a B.A. — and his M.B.A. with highest honors from Boston University’s School of Management where he also received his Doctorate in Business Administration. (That’s what “Dr.B.A.” stands for.) His dissertation research examined the strategic role that a service organization can service as an information conduit from customers to product engineers.
Fred has served as President of AFSMI’s (Association For Service Management, International) Boston-based Minuteman Chapter, and President of the Boston Chapter of the Association of Support Professionals for which he has also served as Vice President and Program Director for many years. Annually, Fred serves as a judge for ASP’s Ten Best Support Sites.
Dr. Van Bennekom authored his first book, Customer Surveying, A Guidebook for Service Managers, published by the Customer Service Press in 2002. Along with Keith Goffin of Cranfield School of Management in England, Fred also published, a major research report Problem Prevention Through Design for Supportability: Gaining Competitive Advantage from Customer Support available from Great Brook. Dr. Fred contributed to the Help Desk Institute’s, Implementing Service and Support Management Processes: A Practical Guide.
Fred is a featured speaker at many industry conferences within the US and abroad and has been a keynote speaker for many company meetings. He has published many articles in both industry and academic periodicals, including articles in the Boston Business Journal, Customer Support Management, and ServiceNews. He has also contributed to a number of books, including We’re Off to Seize the Wizard by Jeff Pepper of ServiceWare, Field Service Management by Arthur Hill and Software by Design: Shaping Technology for the Workplace by Harold Salzman and Stephen Rosenthal.