The future of field service is about to change. Many of these changes had already begun even before the pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020. Service companies have been moving away from the traditional break-fix model to adopt new models of working that lead to greater revenue potential for themselves and higher customer satisfaction. The Covid-19 pandemic only served to accelerate existing technological advances.
As technology takes hold of our lives, siloed field service experiences, legacy field management systems, and outdated business processes will soon be a thing of the past. Small and mid-level to large enterprises will need to consider adopting transformational technologies for field service management to surge ahead.
Here’s what has been brewing even as you read this article:
- Outcome-based services are becoming the preferred model
- More advanced forms of aftermarket services are on the rise with specific SLAs that are more satisfying for the customer and more rewarding for service organizations
- There is a continuing demand for smart customer service experiences
- Field service data is being turned into a strategic tool that facilitates revenue generation
- More companies are analyzing their data to improve efficiencies and drive data-based decisions for the future
- Manufacturing companies are moving toward complete servitization combining IoT and field service to transform field service management
- A shortage of field service staff will be prevalent in the coming years
With the field agent’s role being so vital here are 5 ways service organizations can move forward to meet the future challenges of field service management.
1. Situational data is a minefield that needs to be tapped
According to Deloitte Insights, there are more than 20 million field service workers across the world who have the unique distinction of working closely with a company’s most valuable assets: customers and their products. This critical interface is often under-tapped with situational data remaining with the individual field staff. Collecting this data in the cloud so that an organization’s field staff, working in different locations, has access to it and can have a valuable impact on core business.
… more than 20 million field service workers across the world have the unique distinction of working closely with a company’s most valuable assets: customers and their products.
2. Remote field service is here to stay
With Covid-19 social distance measures in place, remote video technology enabled by AR has been used to deliver information to CSRs on their screens to help them serve customers in real-time via collaborative platforms, like Blitzz. The CSR is able to solve many customers’ problems faster through guided DIY solutions. Only the more complex issues would require the dispatch of a technician to the site. Should the field agent on-site need help troubleshooting, subject matter experts (SMEs) can be looped using a Blitzz call. SMEs can guide the technician in real-time as well as augment the screen with video or recorded instructions, saving valuable time, and reducing truck rolls. Integrating the Blitzz platform to a CRM system will enable data collection, insights, and a smooth, transparent process for remote online support with real-time status management.
SMEs can guide the technician in real-time as well as “augment” the screen with video or recorded instructions, saving valuable time as well as savings on deploying another truck roll.
3. Field agents need to be trained rapidly to meet skills gap
2021 is likely to see a shortage of 2 million field service workers forcing the need for speedy onboarding and training of new agents. The solution lies in using the power of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), a combination of AR and VR to learn new skills, upgrade existing skills, or complete compliance training. These technologies enable agents to receive step-by-step instructions on-demand, delivering real-time training. With learning becoming part of the daily service workflow, field agents are able to access the type of training they need.
While AR augments a technician’s screen with the information needed, Virtual Reality (VR) creates immersive experiences. According to PwC, a multinational professional services network of firms, learning using VR-enabled immersive experiences was 4x faster than in a classroom setting. . Trainees were 275% more confident about applying their skills after the VR training sessions.
Trainees were 275% more confident about applying their skills after the VR training sessions.
4. Field service data holds immense value
When situational experiences are documented in real-time from thousands of points, a robust knowledge base is created. This knowledge base becomes a central data point that can be accessed by other field agents for delivering quicker resolutions to customer problems. This centralized data is a gold mine of data with significant value for product development, customer service improvements, and marketing.
The data can also fuel product engineering thereby continuously optimizing product development. By analyzing the complaints customers have and the challenges field agents face in resolving issues, products can be engineered to meet better service resolution.
Data can also deliver high-value insights into customer service performance – to see what’s working and what is not working. For instance, data can be used to identify the top ten frequently occurring customer issues which can be fixed through a CSR with visual online support. This knowledge can be transferred to training sessions so that such issues don’t need to be escalated to the next level.
By observing and analyzing data from the field, companies are able to better target their marketing and sales offers. Information can be gained by understanding how the equipment was performing and what was done to fix the equipment can be extremely valuable and useful for creating new service offerings, whether it is to cross-sell or upsell.
When situational experiences are documented in real-time from thousands of points, a robust knowledge base is created. This centralized data is a gold mine of data, rich in potential value.
As we move into 2021, let’s not forget the human aspect of any service organization. Any face-to-face contact, whether virtual or in-person, with customers is impactful . Smart field service plays a vital connective role between your company and your customers. A Deloitte report states, “In a digital world, it’s emotional connections that make the difference between satisfying experiences and those that delight the customers and build strong long-term customer relationships.” Talk to us at Blitzz. Our products are easy to use and with the many integration options we offer, your field service company can make a successful transition into the more the technology-reliant year of 2021.