Is Your Organization Adapting to Fulfill Customers' Needs?
Field service has experienced rapid change over the last several years. The introduction of new and innovative technologies has changed the functionality and complexity of many of the products consumers use. As consumer adoption of new technology increases, it is imperative that field service management organizations continue to be customer-focused and retain highly skilled and knowledgeable field service technicians.
Retaining experienced and knowledgeable field service technicians today can be challenging. Several factors are converging to decrease the number of available field service technicians. A 2018 economic analysis of the demand for field service workers in 16 vertical markets performed by Blumberg Advisory Group and Field Service Insights showed that by 2021 the U.S. will need an additional 2 million field service workers to meet current demand for service and support.
What factors are contributing to the shortage of available field service technicians?
- Changes in population demographics: The “graying” of the U.S. workforce is having an effect on all industries and field service is not immune. Take the manufacturing industry as an example, which will have nearly 2.5 million workers retire between 2015 and 2025. This will result in a 2-million worker shortage in the manufacturing industry by 2025, according to the Manufacturing Institute, an arm of the National Association of Manufacturers.
- Shrinking labor pool: Millions of people have dropped out of the U.S. workforce due to factors such as disability, drug addiction, and prolonged unemployment. The percentage of the adult population that is working or seeking employment has dropped by 4 percent since 2000. Yet, the economy continues to grow with unemployment at a 17-year low. The result is that the demand for workers is exceeding the supply of available labor in the United States.
- Lack of interest in a field service career: While the number of experienced field service technicians retiring or leaving the industry is a significant contributor to the field service technician worker shortage, the lack of new field technicians entering the industry further exacerbates the problem. Fewer people between the ages of 18 – 35 are interested in becoming field service technicians. Workers in this age group have different expectations than previous generations about their career choices. Issues such as the companies (or industries) they decide to work for, the kind of work they are expected to do, and job satisfaction are equally important if not more important than compensation or job status for this group of workers. In order to attract new talent, field service organizations will need to rethink how they can attract and retain younger workers both now, and in the future.
What steps should you be taking to prepare your field service organization for this looming technician shortage?
Field service organizations are realizing that adoption of digital technology can play an important role in closing the gap for technician workforce shortages. New technologies such as field service management software, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and IoT can help technicians save time resolving service issues. IoT provides a platform that helps field service technicians as well as end-customers troubleshoot and resolve problems on their own or through guided troubleshooting. Field service organizations can deliver improvements in key performance metrics like first-time fix rate and mean time to repair after implementing technologies like predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can be utilized to diagnose problems, target the faults, and recommend and implement corrective actions before a technician is dispatched. All of which contribute to increases in first-time fix and job completion rates and customer experience.
Utilize third party contractors or implement a hybrid workforce
Many field service organizations have started utilizing third party contractors as a strategy to reduce the impact of a shrinking service technician. Many have found that using third party contractors or deploying a hybrid workforce has several benefits such as:
- The ability to augment their current service provider network quickly and at a lower cost than hiring permanent technicians
- Increasing the geographical range of their service network to areas they may not have serviced previously
- Expansion of the range of services provided to customers as a result of the broader skills and knowledge base contractors can bring beyond those of the employed technicians
- Increasing their service flexibility and efficiency across a broader network
- Faster time to market utilizing contractors with existing field service experience and expertise
To remain successful field service organizations must prepare themselves for the real possibility of a future service technician shortage. The organizations that will continue to thrive, despite the shortage, will be those that are innovative and flexible. They will embrace advancements in technology, execute customer-focused service strategies, and empower their field service technicians while delivering an excellent service experience. The deployment of contractor management best practices along with third party field service management software can provide significant benefits in the management of the on-boarding, dispatch and claims processes.
ServicePower can help your third party or hybrid workforce more efficient and productive
At ServicePower we provide solutions to transform field service organizations. Our SerivceISP solution is a comprehensive field service management solution that lets you seamlessly manage your third-party workforce including on-boarding, credentialing, dispatch and claims processing. and delivers:
- Consistent Standardized Processes - Convert business logic into standard processes to improve quality of service and customer satisfaction
- Minimized Risk and Protection for Your Customers - Comprehensive Onboarding & Credentialing that reduces your risk and exposure through contractor/freelancer background checks and drug testing
- Reduced Cost & Increased Process Visibility - Significantly reduce costs by eliminating fraudulent and duplicate claims
- Improved Operational Efficiency - Automated contractor job matching based on predetermined performance criteria