Field service organizations (FSO) undergoing digital transformation know that innovative field service technology – along with different strategies and approaches – can help make this transition as seamless as possible.
However, many FSOs starting on this journey want to learn more about the field service technologies in which they should consider investing. Moreover, what are the top field service technologies that drive success? How are these technologies deployed? What benefits do these field service technologies deliver?
In this post, we will examine innovative field service technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI), mobile technology, customer self-service portals, and Augmented Reality (AR). We will help answer key questions, define the top field service technologies to consider, and cover the benefits and business opportunities.
What is field service technology?
Before examining the specific technologies and benefits, it’s important to accurately and simply define field service technology. In short, field service technology is the hardware or software that is part of a greater field service management digital solution. Technology features can include AI, automation, mobile platforms, AR, cloud storage, data analytics, and more.
Top 3 Field Service Technologies That Drive Success
1. AI-Driven Mobile Field Service Software
AI-driven field service software is defined as software that leverages AI technology to process large amounts of data and extract useful patterns. AI software can be used differently across numerous industries, while its core abilities include automating repetitive tasks, simplifying complex workflows, and even processing and generating written and spoken languages.
Likewise, deploying AI in field service management with a mobile-focused strategy delivers a myriad of benefits.
First, AI-driven field service technology simplifies tasks, reduces redundancies, and increases accuracy across field service workflows. AI obviates the need for traditional and manual-based approaches that are notoriously time-consuming, labor-intensive, and prone to human error. FSOs can deploy AI to augment automation; for example, by automatically selecting, scheduling, and dispatching field technicians in the field. These field technicians can be automatically notified via mobile devices to promote agility and speed.
AI-driven field service technology, when deployed correctly as part of a holistic field service management software solution, also enhances greater efficiency. As an example, AI can automatically inform a field technician with accurate, real-time parts inventory or job history data so that the field technician is equipped with all the necessary parts and information to complete the job on the first try.
AI scheduling is another key benefit of field service technology. With a growing blended workforce, FSOs can use AI scheduling to optimize complex scheduling for employed and contracted technicians all in real-time. AI can help automatically select the right field technician by quickly processing all the other variables such as parts inventory, skill sets, geographic location (who is nearest to the service call site), cost parameters, and more.2. Self-Service Customer Portal
A self-service customer portal is a digital solution that is made for the customer end-user. The customer portal is typically created for both standard web and mobile platforms; and in doing so, offer customers the most convenient way to access an FSO’s field service portal.
Moreover, field service customer portals deliver several benefits.
Customer engagement and communication can improve greatly when deploying the ideal self-service customer portal. Customers, through the portal, can access real-time data regarding a field technician’s availability, arrival time, and more. Portals also offer a way for customers to communicate directly with the field technician, improving the customer experience and lessening the call volume for FSOs.
Depending on the field service customer portal deployed, FSOs can potentially expedite customer payments and processing. For example, a field service customer portal featuring online payments can reduce invoicing timelines, improve time to pay, and help FSOs access the money in a faster and more efficient way.
Investing in a self-service customer portal demonstrates a “customer first” approach and is a vital component of enhancing the customer experience and retention. This field service technology empowers the customer with increased visibility and control. Overall, positive customer experiences lead to better customer loyalty, customer retention, and revenue.3. Augmented Reality (AR) Remote Support Tools
Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive experience that enhances the real world by superimposing computer-generated 3D elements into an existing environment in real-time. On the other hand, Virtual Reality is a self-contained computer environment that is completely separated from the real-world environment. While often confused for each other, AR and VR are quite different, and AR is more prevalent in the field service industry.
Field service AR can be used in several ways. First, AR can be used as an interactive visual aid for field technicians by superimposing diagrams and instructions over equipment in the field. Secondly, AR can be used as a visually focused remote tool for customers; and in doing so, empowering them to virtually collaborate with expert field technicians.
When deployed strategically, field service AR can provide several benefits.
AR can drive improvements in remote triage and troubleshooting. Field technicians, through AR, can gain a better understanding of the job and see what the customer is seeing. AR also removes the need for field technicians to constantly go back and forth with a customer on the telephone. Both parties – field technicians and customers – can see the problem at hand via AR in real-time.
Adopting AR technology also improves remote workforce management, training, and onboarding. Traditional approaches were reliant on printed manuals, training sessions for new field technicians, shadowing sessions of more experienced field technicians, etc. These approaches are often time-consuming, resource-heavy, and expensive. AR field service technology provides comprehensive field technician training; AR makes the training accessible, flexible, and interactive. Depending on the AR technology deployed, AR can increase training efficiency and efficacy of new employees as well as build the skills of current field technicians.
Partnering With an Innovative Field Service Technology Provider
While there are various field service technology solutions, not all are created equal. It’s important that your FSO partners with an innovative field service technology provider with the expertise and experience of successfully deploying AI, field service customer portals, AR, and other emerging technologies. Avoid trying to combine disparate point solutions that were not created for FSOs; this creates unwanted complexity and integration challenges.
ServicePower delivers field service technology and is helping to advance the field service industry with innovations in field service AI, self-service customer portals, AR, and more. Digital transformation does not have to be challenging; when you partner with ServicePower, you can seamlessly deploy a holistic field service management platform that does the heavy lifting for you.