With the global pandemic, the year 2020 was uniquely challenging for all industries and sectors and more so for field service providers and management companies. Many businesses reported unexpected turnovers, and field service organizations were heavily hit by it.
As there is uncertainty to global New Normal, field services companies are looking for ways to sustain by being available 24*7, so they get least impacted by such challenges.
Let's discuss seven emerging field service trends that will gain prominence in 2021 and beyond.
1. Remote Workforce
With the frequent evolving work practices, field service organizations have come out from the traditional way of working offsite and have started their technicians to start remotely, reducing operational costs and boost productivity.
With the cloud-based field service management solution, technicians and managers can stay connected for work and dispatch schedules, track the progress on different work orders and so on.
2. Leveraging automation
Companies are focusing on modernizing their field service journey more than ever, and automation is one of the essential drivers that improve productivity and provides the ability to serve customers better. Cloud-based, always-on services have made information more accessible in real-time. It has become easy to manage everything from checking the technician availability to scheduling and confirming bookings in calendar apps and email to automated invoicing and billing.
3. Self Service Kiosks
Many organizations have supported self-service, but now it has become a key to reach your customer faster by removing any intermediate barriers. Currently, customers are working more from home and have highly been digital for their routine work, so now they don’t want to stay in a queue, connect to a call center or log issue on the portal.
Experiences like logging the issue or support ticket direct through Chat Boat or automated system where they live can see their service request, track & follow it personally.
4. IoT-driven predictive maintenance
IoT has been a talking point for a couple of years, and we don’t expect this to change. In our previous blog on this topic, we had identified how intelligent devices and appliances would help companies know in advance if an asset is broken, a part needs to be replaced, or maintenance is required.
These predictive insights enabled through IoT Triggers are transforming field services from reactive to proactive repairs and benefitting both customers and suppliers – identify and fix problems before customers raise, solve issues before failure, diagnose underperforming products and react swiftly.
5. Data-driven delivery
Data-driven delivery remains a highlight for 2021 as well. The field service industry's shift from corrective to predictive maintenance highlights the importance of how companies get data, make sense of it, and act on it to set them apart from the competition. To attain operational excellence and maximize service quality, it is essential to gain real-time visibility into metrics like customer acquisition cost, jobs per team member, daily fuel usage, travel time, cost per job, and more. In a recent study, Aberdeen Group found that best-in-class field service organizations that adopt analytics realize an increase in service profits by 18%, customer retention rates by 42% and SLA performance by 44%.
6. The growth of artificial intelligence
As IoT offers field-service representatives the ability to talk to machines and quickly identify issues, AI makes them aware of problems before they even appear. Many companies in the field services industry have started experimenting with AI-based strategies. Whether it is to train their technicians, prioritize work order requests, improve levels of customer experience, dispatch the right technician to the right job, keep track of their workers' performance, or manage inventory without much delay.
In the form of chatbots, AI converse and guides many customer requests efficiently that allow operators to focus on more complex customer service cases and other essential chores.
On the other hand, there are many times that before technicians arrive on site, they might not be knowing the parts and tools required for service. With the increased availability of AI/ML algorithms, soon the systems will become more intelligent, analyzing the error code when the customer reports the issue. Considering these error codes, the technicians will be ready in advance to perform the service faster and efficiently.
7. AR and VR transformations
The field services industry has a lot to gain by integrating innovative technologies like AR and VR into their business strategy. AR and VR enabled devices increase the technician's efficiency, service delivery rate, and customer satisfaction in many ways. Whether it is providing instant access to the entire knowledge base, getting instant access to maintenance history, discovering the right equipment to carry out maintenance, identifying the valuable information about the device, which is about to repair, and much more.
As the customers are reshaping the needs and demanding improved/advanced support from companies and technicians who are front face to them, it has become critical for field service organizations to invest smart in the technology. Technology that enables their technicians to be more productive, efficient, and customer-friendly, ultimately improving lifetime value and customer loyalty.
How are you preparing for these upcoming trends? We look forward to discussing field service management ideas and their implementation with you.
Author: Swati Shrimali
Swati is a Microsoft Certified Professional with 15+ years of project experience. She takes care of solution designing, requirement elicitation, managing projects and teams, and ensuring efficient project delivery. She has extensively worked on technologies, including – Microsoft Project, SharePoint, Power BI, Dynamics 365, Office 365, and complex integration with enterprise systems like Salesforce, Oracle, TFS, VSTO, etc. She is currently working as Solution Architect and also leading the Business Dynamics – PPM stream in Advaiya
Co-author: Ravi Fulani