Before you make your business case for a field service management solution, it’s important to equip yourself with the latest technology information and trends in field service in order for you to know what is possible and how your business can benefit. In this blog we will touch upon key trends which will help you get prepared to shape your field service strategy and add context to your reasoning.
According to the TSIA, 76% of field service providers report they are struggling to achieve revenue growth, so it is becoming increasingly important to drive productivity, control margin and win customer share to boost the bottom line. Taking advantage of technology trends such as IoT, predictive maintenance, mobility and BI will help.
Visual collaboration and user friendly mobility
According to Aberdeen Group in their video “The Connected Service Network: Resolution in Real-time”, “best-in-class field service organisations are 72% more likely than peers to use visual collaboration tools” , as business is faced with more data and information it is vital that this information is disseminated easily for route planning, managing dispatch, scheduling and capturing work orders.
More than a third of employees in general are considered to be “mobile” and of course in field service companies this proportion is much greater, with your fee-earners making up a significant part of your organisation. It is imperative that you consider mobility for field service in your technology strategy.
Differentiating with superior customer contact
According to Aberdeen Research in their State of Service Management in 2016: Empower the Data-Driven CSO report, 58% of field service professionals report their top pressure is competition in product and service. Savvy customers now exist in the “switching economy”; according to Accenture in their Customer 2020 strategy report, 64% of consumers have switched providers in at least one industry due to poor customer service.
Whether your field service operates within a B2C or B2B environment; your customer’s time is as pressured as your own and they expect time slots to be communicated, convenient and honoured. Self-service, empowerment and simplified communication are key – Forrester’s blog on Customer Service trends in 2016 summarises this.
Putting the customer first – and meeting their expectations – must therefore be top of mind for field service organisations. In order to protect and grow your customer base, resolution times must be shortened and customers need to be kept in the loop about outcomes and service delivery. Customer expectations of a personalised service and their use of technology has increased the need for savvy field service businesses to be proactive in their offering.
These trends are shifting quickly, particularly as millennials are becoming more of a priority in spending behaviour; in Microsoft’s State of Global Service infographic they report that 84% of millennial customers have used a self-service portal for customer service.
Trends in field service – predictive maintenance and the power of IoT
By expanding your service offering to include predictive maintenance, you can add value to your existing customers to increase retention, grow your target market for new business and increase revenues more profitably. “Business models are expanding with field services companies focusing on subscription services and how they can expand into value-added project services, with a need to integrate across business processes and pull everything together.” Remote monitoring (or self-healing) maintenance models have many benefits to both customer and supplier – decrease number of repair appointments, identify and fix problems before customers are aware or adversely affected, solve issues before failure, identify underperforming products and perform “just-in-time” preventative maintenance.
Increased productivity and simplified administration through unification and integration
The connection and flexibility between your field engineers and your resourcing and project managers is key as factors can change. An issue can arise when HQ are juggling different platforms which are being used to manage time – leading to protracted administration and confused customers. By unifying your scheduling tools your team can achieve visibility and schedule engineers, teams and equipment across different appointment types including in-house, onsite, or remote.
How technology can support trends in field service
Connected field service technology such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) embraces these field service and consumer trends to provide better customer service and increase productivity.
By empowering field service and delivery agents with the use of back office applications that seamlessly integrate and synch with warehouse, sales and finance functions; they can easily find, reserve and dispatch replacement products on demand; understand customer history prior to on-site and communicate with colleagues (and send PoD and repairs images to support) in real time.
For further information, visit our website, take a look at the Dynamics field service app in Appsource, read our service management articles and speak to Prodware about how we can help you in improving your field service offering.Discover more about Microsoft Dynamics and field service management