Did you know that 52 percent of field service businesses still do things manually?
And according to Stratistics MRC, the global field service market is expected to grow from $1.78 billion in 2016 to $4.45 billion by 2022.
Advances in field service technology can reduce the manual work keeping you from activities that could grow your business. Modern solutions integrate AI and machine learning so your organization can get predictive with massive amounts of data, increase scheduling accuracy, resolve issues in one roll, and provide customers with greater flexibility and real-time updates.
If you’re still one of the ones sifting through work orders for lost paperwork or are struggling with any of the other challenges in this article, it might be time to make the upgrade to a field service management software solution. Below are some red flags to look out for.
1. Your technicians never arrive on time.
One of the most important — and most challenging — aspects of service scheduling is managing the fluctuations of field service demand. Important, because competition is fierce and customer expectations are at an all-time high. Challenging, because service organizations and companies that have a mobile workforce are subject to seemingly unpredictable disruptions and delays due to traffic, last-minute customer cancellations, or repair complications.
Field service management software often includes features like demand forecasting, partially or fully automated scheduling and dispatch, and route optimization. More advanced predictive field service technology even uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to do things like forecast job duration to further increase scheduling accuracy.
2. Your technicians have to return to the same job multiple times.
Your ability to “get it right the first time” is the single biggest thing you can do to balance cost and service delivery. According to Aberdeen Group Research, the most common customer complaint is when a technician doesn’t resolve an issue the first time. Whether the issue stems from matching staff to the wrong assignment, bringing the wrong parts, or not allocating enough repair time, repeat visits can cost your organization time, money, and its reputation.
Field service management solutions that allow you to optimize for first-time fixes can help you overcome this challenge. By creating a scoring system based on the skills of your technicians and their training so you can easily assign the right technician to the right job. Along with maintaining up-to-date technician profiles, tracking parts data and job history will help ensure you’re always prepared for anything.
3. Information isn’t centralized.
According to Kampyle, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience. But how can that happen when key field service data gets jotted down on pieces of scrap paper or stored in cryptically named files and applications that were never designed to respond to the changing variables of field service? One of the easiest ways to create consistency is by ensuring everybody has easy access to the same data: job history, related tasks, plans, pictures, documents, and inventory to name a few.
4. You lose visibility as soon as your technician walks out the door.
All too often, service organizations lack visibility into the productivity of their remote employees due to manual processes or static metrics ill-suited to the agility needed in a service environment.
Companies that measure and analyze their data can use it to add more jobs per resource per day or pinpoint the root causes of inefficiencies. For example, if all of your workers are consistently late to their appointments, it’s time to revisit your scheduling. But if you can trace the problem back to an individual or team using a workforce management solution, you can take corrective action. How much data a field service organization collects — and how it analyzes that data — can help you continually improve, differentiate your services, and identify core areas for improvement.
5. Your customers complain a lot.
Imagine a business person inviting a client to happy hour at 5 p.m. Now, imagine they arrive at 6 p.m. apologizing. It would never happen. Someone would send a text or make a quick call. And if it did? It would mark the end of the business relationship.
Why should it be any different in field service?
Although maintaining omnichannel customer service comes with its own set of unique challenges, field service organizations can and should connect with their customers on their preferred mobile channels: phone, email, text, or social. Doing so can greatly improve the customer’s perceived quality of service.
More and more field service management solutions offer a variety of ways to enhance communication between customers and service providers. As you begin your research, look for solutions that empower your customer with the ability to:
- set up service calls
- receive notifications
- reschedule appointments
- give additional context to the service provider
- see the mobile worker’s location
- provide feedback immediately following the service experience
Boosting Productivity, Boosting Profits
If you struggle with any of the challenges mentioned above, you’re not alone.
These challenges have long burdened field service organizations big and small. But as more organizations shift to service models, aiming to create memorable customer experiences, many are realizing they have a problem. Manually collecting, finding, and analyzing the information that drives timely, personalized experiences is nothing short of headache-inducing, if not downright impossible. Yet, because roughly half of your competitors still do things manually, you’ve got an opportunity.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to enhance productivity, delight your customers, and grow your revenue.