Field service challenges are very real and constantly evolving – especially considering that 2020 looks entirely different than it did even a couple of years ago. With all of the changes, service leaders have plenty to think about when planning for growth and expectations.
So, what’s changing for field service management (FSM) organizations of tomorrow? What’s new in terms of customer expectations, technology innovations, and service process transformations? How does this impact service experience delivery?
Top five field service challenges
When investigating what your company needs, it’s best to begin with understanding the greatest challenges in delivering the best field service.
At a minimum, it’s important for service leaders to be aware that legacy silo-ed field service is giving way to new harmonized and connected models, and it’s now possible to convert traditional cost-resource tradeoffs and low customer satisfaction problems into a profit-center opportunity. Below, we share our insights on the top 5 biggest challenges for field service managers today, based on our recent conversations with a number of customers and our success in globally deploying field service software.
1. Customer service experience expectations continue to rise
Customers today expect a dramatically different experience, thanks to ubiquitous connectivity and the availability of different channels to reach out for service. Many consumers, especially millennials, are tech-savvy and want an instant response to queries, repairs done correctly the first time, and replacements booked immediately.
To put it simply, they want perfect service moments. For field service companies, the pressure to get the experience right has never been higher, and warrants an organizational transformation that includes the use of the latest technology. That’s the only way to ensure relevant information is readily available and accessible whenever and wherever it’s needed in the enterprise or field.
2. Delivering perfect field service moments requires harmonizing multiple processes
Anyone running a field service company knows that delivering a superior service experience requires synchronization of a number of moving parts and relies on keeping them running flawlessly, day in and day out.
Every service moment has an end-to-end workflow. There are a number of steps that can go wrong in every moment, from the customer call to the time the case is closed and an invoice sent, especially if a company is siloed or hasn’t embraced digital transformation yet.
Companies can conquer the field service challenge of the hydra-headed process through IT consolidation and collaboration, automation, and mobilization. Field service software can help managers in the office organize the workforce and help field engineers on the move better manage their individual workflows in one central place.
3. Performance metrics matter – from rapid resource allocation to real-time service delivery
Response times are not only critical for customer experience, but also for service leaders wanting to track performance rather than just resolution. Predictive alerts and proactive service are now possible using a variety of technologies like artificial intelligence, IoT, and augmented reality, including apps that can handle scheduling, tracking, and real-time invoicing.
Keeping track of where field service engineers are used to be impossible unless they called in. It was difficult to re-assign tasks, know if engineers had run into problems, or had completed their assigned job ahead of schedule.
Mobile communications empower managers to physically locate field service engineers and track their schedules, to re-assign engineers who are running ahead of time, or send additional help to those that have run into problems service delivery, thus ensuring perfect service moments for the end-customer.
4. Rising costs and competition are a double whammy
Customers not only expect great service, they’re also ready to switch to a competitor if their experience isn’t up to par. They have choices, and with today’s as-a-service models, it’s easy to take their business elsewhere.
Keeping operational costs under control is one of a field service manager’s biggest headaches in delivering perfect service moments. Parts that need to be ordered, excessive drive times, and extra tolls are all costing businesses money.
Using field service software, managers can easily pinpoint where their operational costs are escalating and see how to bring them under control. Ultimately, it’s about getting the right van-stock, right part, and right technician for any given service job, and perfecting that requires continuous feedback and improvement.
5. Keeping an expanded field service workforce happy
The field service workforce is changing from a more mature age-group to the quick-to-learn tech-savvy Gen-Z population. They come with different levels of experience, expertise, and operating styles.
Further, the workforce may include on-demand field service engineers, crowd-sourced from the eco-system in order ensure high availability of the right skillset. Collectively, they are a company’s front line – letting them perform their jobs without jumping through operational or administrative hoops keeps them happy and hence, your customers happy.
Empowering them with all the knowledge and information they need, increasing collaboration with other parts of the organization to minimize paperwork, and getting them help quickly to avoid any jeopardy, can dramatically improve their performance. Giving them tools to optimize their routes and bring down their drive times, ensuring they have the correct parts and allowing them concentrate on the job they were hired to do, with the ability to act on any upsell/cross-sell service opportunities, all contribute to delivering perfect service moments.
There are challenges, and there are also opportunities with the right transformations to overcome field service challenges and put you ahead of the game.
Resources, best practices, and self-care pointers for these trying times can be found HERE.