Here are some best practices that companies can follow to transform their field service:
#1: Optimize customer experience
Use user experience to enhance customer experience. Provide a personalized self-service portal to customers that will enable them to easily book and manage service appointments and also give them the visibility into the ongoing status of their requests. Build this in with proactive notifications, product updates, tips, workarounds, and anything else that helps optimize their experience. Gone are the days of longer wait times; two-hour appointment windows are the norm now. Customers are becoming more intolerant of poor service and are even willing to pay a premium for guaranteed one-hour window.
#2: Make ‘field’ easy for technicians
Make the service experience smooth for your own field technicians to operate. Give them quick and easy access to work order information, parts management, service history, and collaboration tools. Enable them to manage their tasks and schedules, as well as track travel and work time in the field. When work is complete, provide the ability to capture and record the customer’s signature for acknowledgment of completed work. Companies should give more autonomy to technicians to take decisions based on the situation they face without always having to rely on the central dispatcher. This helps in making them more responsive in the field.
#3: Collaborate across organization
Connect field service with the entire organization to get full visibility into customer issues. When your entire organization is connected, the root cause can be identified, which will help in providing the right solution. Assign tasks to the appropriate personnel in other departments and track status to ensure complete and successful resolution. One such company, Area Wide Protective, saw 64% faster invoicing and a 41% reduction in invoice corrections when they implemented a field service solution that connected data about services delivered directly to the back office team via CRM.
#4: Skills, technology, flexibility...all matter
In the technology space, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning enabled applications will bring light to new channels and intuitive interfaces for customers. Enriched conversation coupled with chatbot for customers is the key to resolve issues efficiently and enable automation. Automated scheduling will help in optimizing field resources by assigning work to technicians automatically based on proximity, availability, and skills required.
New FSM systems should bring in more flexibility allowing dispatchers to easily modify assignments, track SLAs, and manage exceptions as well as support onboarding and project rollout with structured project management. To maintain the talent pool dynamics, companies must focus on the millennials entering the industry. Communication, collaboration and engagement are keys to creating a millennial-friendly environment.
#5: Use data for decision-making
Get your insights in place and learn from them. Identify the patterns in your field service performance with the help of advanced technology liked IoT, AI and ML. As IDC reported in its Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions for 2019, 95% of organizations will have incorporated new digital KPI sets by 2023, focused on product and service innovation rates, data capitalization, and employee experience. Global spending on IoT devices and services will reach $1.7 trillion in 2020. Data is powerful and having a single dashboard can help operations managers make smart business decisions, faster.
#6: Follow proactive approach
Think in the future and make room for predictive action. Use advanced technology to diagnose potential issues that will help in resolving them before the customer is even aware of it. Automatically schedule planned maintenance activity for each asset to maximize uptime and meet SLAs.