Late last month, 15 business leaders joined ClickSoftware at the St James’ Hotel and Club in London for an evening of lively discussion on the topic of field service management.
In summary, the uberization of customer service has significantly raised the bar for businesses, regardless of industry. The discussion explored how businesses can use technology in workforce management to provide a better customer experience and boost the top line.
Here are some key talking points from the event:
Key challenges in field service management
There are frequent challenges within the field service management industry. Firstly, how do you manage the risks when it comes to balancing between reduce field service related costs and maintaining adequate customer service? Is there a way for companies to maintain great customer service while field service related costs are in decline? Secondly, how can organizations speed up the learning curve and maintain knowledge in the industry?
These are all important questions to consider. Overall, there is a need across the industry for better knowledge management and collaboration solutions. Additionally, to tackle these challenges, an increasing number of facilities management companies are using outsourced services, since there is a growing need for contractor management solutions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution
The IoT revolution is firmly within the field service management industry. Organizations are now making better use of the big data to deliver the ultimate customer experience. For example, one facilities management company installed sensors at their customers’ restrooms to ensure they were cleaned per usage, instead of at allocated times. As well as big data, there is now a need for good analytics (taking information from past performances) to forecast more effectively. Today’s analytics are predominately offline, so organizations can access forecasted data on the move. Another example of the IoT evolution in the field service industry is the concept of a simulated scheduler that can process difference scenarios—providing a better ROI tool for decision making.
How to tackle change management
When it comes to change management in the field service industry typically many companies will be change-resistant. Organizations consequently need to engage their people and take them through the journey to allow them to understand the benefits.
For example, in one case, the most advocated dispatcher that opposed the use of schedule optimization was taken through the journey and later advocated the solution and helped to drive the change. This led to the successful implementation of the schedule optimization across the business.
When it comes to complexity vs. simplicity of the solution, some organizations need to start from the basics. The adoption of new technology is a challenge and should be a step-by-step process, which allows both employees and customers to ease into the change.
The other factor in change management is the workforce; as engineers become more experienced they also become more expensive. Consequently, there is a need to maintain the right balance between experienced and new engineers.
As ever, the key takeaway from our recent leaders’ event is that customer experience is becoming the new competitive edge, and tools such as customer surveys and customer communications are also becoming essential tools for any field service management organization to ensure they are delivering optimal service. Measuring and monitoring progress in customer experience will be essential for FSM organizations over the coming year.
The ClickSoftware team will be hosting another roundtable event on September 14, and we look forward to further industry insights then.
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