Guest Author: Stewart Hill
Just like every employee who joins a new company, throughout my first three weeks at ServicePower I sought to answer the simple question “What is it exactly that ServicePower does?” But again, just like every new employee, I already had a pretty good idea because I’d done my homework and conducted extensive research. But I had also known of the company and its products for the past fifteen-or-so years having evaluated their scheduling product and existed within the field service management industry so I’d already formed some strong opinions and had a positioning in my mind that I wanted to validate.
So I took the next logical step and started asking employees what they believe ServicePower does by putting them on the spot and giving them a simple task: “In twenty seconds, give me your elevator pitch and tell me what our company does.” The responses were mixed and varied including terms such as “field service management software”, “mobile workforce management solutions”, “schedule optimization”, “we drive efficiency for service businesses”, “we optimize the mixed labor pool”, and other variations that were along the same lines. It’s all accurate but a little too generic. And nobody really nailed it. None of these “pitches” really puts ServicePower out there as offering something unique.
As you would therefore expect, I have an opinion about this that I would like to share.
So let me start with a very simplified model of delivering service out in the field: a customer calls, a work-order is booked, a technician is scheduled, and ultimately the job is closed. Simple stuff.
But today’s reality is far more complicated than this and the true reach of field service delivery creates a vast and intricate network that has to be competently managed in the pursuit of driving efficiencies and cost savings. Technology is playing a significant role in making this happen and there is one common theme than runs throughout this network: connectivity.
The customer today has multiple ways to engage with a service business: phone, email, online appointments, and social media. These interaction points connect the customer with the contact center who, in turn, is connected with the dispatch to schedule an appointment or response. In some cases – such as with online appointment booking – the customer may even connect directly with the schedule bypassing any known interaction with the contact center. Dispatch is then connected with the field technician communicating their schedule, schematics, customer information, and whatever other data they require straight to their mobile device, and they are connected and tracked via GPS. And don’t forget the customer may now have direct connectivity to the technician with their whereabouts and time-of-arrival prediction.
But there’s more: not all field technicians are employed by the service business so let’s throw in the connectivity to a contracted labor workforce too, but when do you decide to use them? This often needs some kind of intelligence and brokering. And what about the asset? Maybe there’s a warranty and claims process to bring into the mix so service then isn’t just about sending a technician to an asset but also bringing the asset back or sending parts. All of this requires information that’s connected. Oh, and there’s not always a direct customer involved. An increasing number of assets today “talk” to a command center, alerting us to their need for service or providing data where predictive maintenance can be calculated. This is M2M.
Then there’s analytics about real-time and historic performance of the technicians, contractors, cycle times, fix-rates, response times, and other metrics that need accessing in the field and not just back in the office. I think you’re getting the picture,
It is clear therefore that we suddenly have a very far-reaching network where every person, asset, and process is connected to each other. Driving efficiency and creating a service-delivery ROI is dependent on how well you manage every aspect of this connectivity. Welcome to the world of Connected Field Services.
Our market often talks about the connected mobile workforce or field service employee but that perspective is simply too narrow. The world of field service is far bigger than this. So here’s my initial elevator pitch about the ServicePower difference: “We provide connected field services solutions that bring together the customer and the dispatch center, technician, claims and warranty processes, parts, the contracted workforce, assets, mobility, business intelligence, social collaboration, and more. We connect all aspects of the field service value chain through the use of innovative technology to accelerate business efficiency gains and customer satisfaction while reducing costs.” Yes, this may raise the question “What is Connected Field Services” but that’s our entry point into the much broader conversation about the subject. We have your attention.
This is what we do.
Effective service delivery should not take a piecemeal approach. Connected Field Services Solutions is the future of our industry. If you are looking to be inspired by what we do, start by watching our product video below for a visual taste of what we can accomplish at your service organization.