In the midst of winter here in Finland, we discovered our heat pump was broken. Not totally broken, but not working as it should. Despite calling the vendor several times over the course of a few weeks, they still hadn’t sent anyone to repair it. The temperatures outside were getting colder and colder, and worry began to sink in.
The heat pump market is booming in Finland, and companies are fully booked with new installations. Though the part in our heat pump that needed to be fixed was tiny, and didn’t take long to replace, the companies simply didn’t have the bandwidth to do it.
Obviously, companies cannot hire new technicians every time there is a sudden peak in demand, but on the other hand, they can’t just keep their customers waiting indefinitely. What if they could easily assign this job to a freelancer?
Not a great CX: Workforce shortages in field service keeps customers waiting
Customer demand exceeding company capacity – this is a scenario where our heat pump company is not alone. The shortage of a talented workforce is a global phenomenon, and it has a massive impact on field service.
According to a recent survey by Service Council, 48% of field service leaders see the shortage of talented workforce as a major market challenge already, and this will get even more challenging in the upcoming years.
There are multiple reasons for the shortage: aging workforce, higher customer demand, increased skill requirements being a few of them. The labor workforce shortages lead to dissatisfaction among employees and customers, as well as reduced competitiveness and lost revenue.
The power of gig economy: Expand service teams with freelancers
Luckily, there is hope on the horizon. A vast untapped potential is provided by the gig economy, where more and more employees work as independent contractors rather than having a permanent job.
It’s estimated that 40% of US employees will work as freelancers in 2020, so a major change in our mindset and the way we work is occurring. Field service organizations have already started to leverage the possibilities, and are building networks of freelancers who they can flexibly call for help when there is more demand than they can handle.
In our case, the heat pump company would have quickly realized they didn’t have the capacity to fix our heater in a reasonable time, so would have looked into their network, found a technician with the right skills, and assigned him to do the job. There would have been three happy parties: My family, the freelancer, and the company. And we most likely would’ve recommend the company to our neighbor, who was also looking to buy a heat pump.
Crowd service: A tool to manage your expanded teams
To enable successful field service execution, companies need to be able to find the best available technician with the right skills to fix the customer’s issue. They also need to equip them with the correct information and tools to complete the job.
Our heat pump company cannot send just anyone to our house; they must ensure the tech knows what they’re doing. If the technician is a freelancer, they must ensure that they have the knowledge to perform the task, and access to the same systems as their employees. To achieve this, companies need effective tools to manage the entire service organization. Crowd service is the answer to this need.
Crowd service provides the tools to manage the entire service organization: You can find the right experts, assign them to the job, and give them access to the tools and data they need. It enables you to build an ecosystem of skilled technicians consisting of in-house teams and freelancers.
In other words, crowd service enables you to fix customer issues quickly and spares them from waiting and frustration. It allows you to leverage the full potential gig economy and grow your business.