Field service technology today is essential for an operation with field based resources, from repair techs, to insurance inspectors, to elevator maintenance and pole men, especially as the focus for most enterprises shifts not away from productivity and costs, but focuses on achieving those metrics to better improve customer service levels. Today, it’s not only about squeezing more from the turnip, but doing so in a way that delights customers and creates brand loyalty and repeat sales.
So, how does technology improve customer service levels and create customer delight?
New technologies have exploded recently, with the emergence of social, mobile, cloud, analytics, IoT and M2M, wearables, NFC tags and even 3D printers. Field service has made a habit of being at the forefront of assimilating new tech to improve overall operations.
Mobile devices, for instance, help our field professionals stay connected and use a piece of hardware sized to complete the job that needs to be completed on site, whether taking pictures with a smart phone or sketching a design of a job site or entering vitals on a tablet.
Enterprise mobility applications help us fully enable a field resource to access the data and processes he or she needs to get the job done on trip number one. HTML5 cross-platform design also means we can ensure a consistent experience for the customer, whether it’s our own employee or a third party contactor doing the work with his or her own device.
IoT and M2M are game changers. They enable field service organizations to understand what’s going on with a connected device, before the customer does, letting us get a problem solver onsite before a full failure. It also creates new revenue streams since we can predict failures and market maintenance contracts to keep equipment up and running, or even accessory subscriptions.
Route optimization software enables field service to offer customers scheduled appointment times, versus a promise to call back. Clearly, the highest levels of optimization engines, like ServicePower’s ServiceScheduling improve productivity and efficiency and reduce costs, which is good for the company. However, combined with mobile technologies, it also enables managers to monitor what’s going on with the day’s schedule, so we can ensure schedule compliance, again making customers happy that our field teams showed up on time.
3D printing is becoming more and more common. Think of the power of going onsite and printing a part or accessory, right there, while the customer is waiting. In, print and out, all in one trip. Sure, that’s good for the company too since repeat trips increase costs, but it’s better for the customer since there is no additional downtime for them that they must take off of work to accommodate.
Social collaboration is something that for instance, the 250 million people on Facebook are comfortable with. How often do you FaceTime with your kids while on a business trip? The application of social networks and connected devices in field service is all about collaboration. Think of a nurse on site able to connect to a doctor to improve the level of care they are providing to home bound patients. A field tech can video chat with an expert in the office to get help diagnosing and fixing a broken product. Again, the technology is being used in ways that make the customer happy.
Field service technology is good for business and better for the customer. Incorporating the latest tech, like IoT and M2M, mobile and social collaboration do in fact decrease costs and improve productivity. But they also ensure that a team member gets in, gets the job done and gets on to the next appointment. That makes the customer happy.
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