Field Service Organizations (FSO) have a list of tasks to accomplish in a very short period of time. Booking servicing, managing schedules and dispatching, ordering the right parts, training technicians, and getting paid are just a normal day for an FSO owner. At the end of the day, you’ll probably worry about how well your customers think you did or if you turned a profit.
Trends in the field service vertical reflect businesses’ anxieties and the steps that are being taken to address them. Here are 7 trends we are seeing in field service for 2020. Use them as tips to help guide your goals this year. Implementing these solutions can make you more competitive. Digital tech will change your workflow and its important to adapt and take advantage of these technologies so customers keep coming back.
1. Customer Service Training
Online reviewers hold more power than any of the ad space you take out online. Field Service Organizations are quickly learning that their customer’s happiness will determine their future growth. It’s no longer about satisfying the customer so they come back to you, it’s about providing excellent service so they can vouch for you and recommend you online and to their peers. A Google or Yelp review can be the make or break factor when someone considers booking an appointment with you.
Stats like this one from Gartner Research are shifting business focuses: 32% of Field Service Organizations failing to attain at least an 80% customer satisfaction rate. Increasingly, we are seeing field service organizations investing in their employee’s customer service skills. Communication, relatability, patience, and approachability are just a few of the things these businesses are improving on. The second part of good customer experience is service success and cost.
Alongside “digital transformation,” you probably hear a lot about IoT (Internet of Things). Connected devices are growing quickly and there are expected to be 20x as many devices as there are humans on Earth!
The Field Service vertical is experiencing a transition in standards— from a preventive maintenance model to a predictive maintenance model. Connecting your product parts to the internet enables it to communicate with you when something is wrong; you and your customer know instantly when something is not working the way it should. You can provide immediate assistance and provide a fix before a much larger break. Coming in before a large break means less of an inconvenience to your customer, less time spent figuring out what went wrong, and avoiding parts replacements and revisits leading to cost savings. There’s a reason why 31% of FSO’s are set to deploy IoT in the next 2 years (Gartner 2018).
3. Augmented + Virtual Reality
This trend is slower in growth, but nevertheless garnering interest. Augmented reality for field service means all your technicians have an equal set of specialties. If a technician is better at one fix over another, virtual reality will allow them to still be dispatched to locations where their weaknesses are tested. Field technicians can access videos and documents in real-time that will take them through the procedure of fixing the part step by step in the real world— not on the screen. Technicians will be able to precisely see what it is that they need to do.
Every year, the stats show the same thing. Technicians are frustrated with the inability to see customer history and inventory availability before going out for an appointment. Data and information that is accessible anywhere and mobile allows your technicians to quickly make decisions that can make an okay customer experience a great one. Enterprise FSOs are taking steps to solve this.
Is it a problem the customer has dealt with before? What issues has the customer encountered in the past? Do we have the parts and tools to actually complete the fix now? A software solution that makes your data mobile can help your technician answer these questions.
5. Online Booking
Calls reign as the way people connect with field service companies, but the ability to book online is growing in demand as Millennials gain purchasing power. Integrating your dispatch and scheduling board with your website is a fantastic way to get more customers. Visitors can see your availability and with a few clicks book themselves into your schedule. You get a notification and can send a confirmation e-mail. That’s it!
Removing any barriers that prevent people from booking an appointment with you is key making customers happy. Make them do less work than your competitors require and you’ve got an edge!
6. Deep Analytics
What services do you complete most often? What parts are consistently running out of stock? Which field service technicians have the lowest first-time fix rates?
Field Service Organizations are looking at solutions to help them answer these questions in order to better streamline their business and make them more productive. Field Service Management Software can help you dive deep into all the data you have and make sense of it.
FSO’s rely on these solutions to make more accurate business decisions than relying on guesses and sporadic ideas.
7. Backend Automation
End-to-end automation on the backend processes of field service companies is the fastest growing trend in this list. Automation generates faster response times, reduced costs, strengthen service quality, and increases productivity. Repetitive tasks like scheduling, contract management, SLA management, and invoicing can all be attended to by Field Service Management Softwares that can automate this whole cycle from the second an appointment is booked.