ClickReads: A Field Service Technician’s Holiday Wishlist
Editor’s Note: ClickReads is our weekly series of the top technology and business stories relevant to the field service industry. Check back weekly for the newest installment, or look for the #ClickReads hashtag on Twitter.
Field service technicians work hard all year to give their customers top quality service. So they deserve a top spot on Santa's nice list. If you ask a tech what they want for the holidays, it's probably anything that makes their jobs easier and keeps the customer happy. This means providing more efficient service and spending more time doing what they do best—helping the customer.
Fortunately in this digital era, there's technology that can help field techs provide optimal service. So Santa, when you make your list this year, keep in mind what techs want:
Preparedness for Every Job
Service techs have a lot to deal with. They must keep track of several customers and service appointments. And they must fit in time for emergency service calls. They usually have to deal with whatever is thrown at them.
Fortunately, there are ways to help techs stay ahead of the game. For instance, with machine learning, technology gets smarter every day. Machines have access to large amounts of data, which they can process and learn from. And humans have artificial intelligence (AI) to expand on the human potential.
Smarter technology can help techs be more proactive using predictive analytics. They can solve customer issues before it becomes a problem with predictive diagnostics. Machines can keep track of service history and know when it's time to schedule a service call before the hot water shuts off.
Likewise, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), our devices and software can connect to collect and exchange data. For instance, by installing IoT sensors in appliances, techs can keep track of them at all times. The sensors can track trends and alert techs when it's time for maintenance.
And with connected devices and software, techs can manage everything in one centralized, consolidated system. It can also be personalized with the applications and devices that fit their needs.
Less Time Spent on the Roads
For most people, commuting in heavy traffic is a low point in their day. But techs have to commute to multiple jobs each day. You can probably imagine how frustrating it is to deal with traffic all day. And during the winter season they have to deal with more severe weather conditions.
For most techs, the goal is to complete the most jobs they can per day to make customers happy. But with unpredictable weather and traffic conditions, it's difficult to create an optimized schedule. Fortunately, smarter technology can also make scheduling and travel more efficient.
Predictive travel uses historical time-of-day and day-of-week traffic data to estimate future travel times. This way, techs will know the fastest, most efficient route to the job. Ideally, they will spend less time in traffic, and can complete more jobs per day.
Easy Access to Information On-the-Go
Service techs are always on the go, and their tools should match that. With mobile devices and applications, techs can easily communicate in real-time with customers or headquarters. They could even adjust and track their appointments on their mobile device.
Techs also don't like leaving a job unfinished. They don't want to upset the customer, who will surely be upset when they have to schedule another service appointment. But things come up. A tech might encounter a problem they've never dealt with before and need some backup. Instead of scheduling a new appointment, the tech can receive help on the spot with wearable technology.
Wearables help keep techs mobile and hands free on the job. For instance, techs could use augmented reality (AR) smart glasses to get real-time assistance. The AR projected on the glasses help a tech visualize the instructions from another professional. The person on the other end can annotate videos and speak to the tech, which makes it easier to follow the instructions and finish the job.
Ultimately Santa, when you make a service tech's life easier, you’re also helping the customer. By giving techs what they want for the holidays, you're also giving to the customers they help every day.
And for the field service providers who want to give more to their customers this holiday season, read this list.