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How Technology Will Help Field Service Managers Be Successful

Written by Kimberly Heuser | May 23, 2017

Field service managers are simultaneously required to control costs, optimize service efficiency and increase customer satisfaction without impacting quality and safety. Some companies use up the budget to add more field technicians and expand large-scale operations. Others assign more work to field staff and require them to work harder and faster. However, the wisest field service managers take advantage of available technology and a hybrid workforce model to satisfy customers, employees and corporate directives.

Customer Service Challenges

The media often highlights concerns about the government and large organizations monitoring the public with the term 'Big Brother', but every time a field tech enters the client’s site, they are being watched by Little Brother. That is, there are billions of cell owners who are ready to take a picture or video of poor service, workmanship and safety practices. These images can be instantly shared with the world via online review sites and social media platforms. They can also be shared with company management, regulatory organizations and consumer protection groups like the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Every stage and interaction of the field service experience may be recorded by consumers who are empowered to take action even if they are overreacting or exaggerating.  The solution is to empathetically respect and communicate with customers, in real time, before, during and after service events.

Satisfy Customers through Game-changing Technology

Most modern field service organizations favor forward-thinking strategies that leverage technology, customer feedback and predictive analytics to holistically understand their field service operations. Analyzing every historical aspect of customer experiences will provide insights into the performance patterns and environmental factors that can be tweaked and enhanced. It’s best to take advantage of field service management software to plan, monitor and oversee day-to-day operations. This type of innovative technology is rapidly evolving and becoming more dynamic. Previously, the software system would simply assign jobs and send automatic notifications to field employees. Mobile technology and collaboration tools now enable managers to optimize the efficiency of field staff and keep them connected. Advanced job routing algorithms minimize wait windows, while communication functions allow staff to keep customers in the loop and help them access self-service web portals.

How to Select the Right Field Service Management Solution

Effective field service management is a challenge to leaders of dozens or hundreds of field workers. Field service management solutions should be able to identify and assign workers to jobs based on skill sets, shift schedule, local proximity and the availability of tools and parts. Field service management software should rely on definable rules to build and adjust field schedules. Any unexpected sschedule changes, such as cancellations or emergencies, should be automatically accommodated through flexible functionality. There should be an optimization engine that will help streamline dispatch processes and daily exceptions. Field service managers can actually create different rules for each worker or team. For example, there should be separate priorities and schedules for installation and preventive maintenance units.

Field Service Software Integration

Field service solutions should offer extensive features and integrate into existing business processes. Some organizations may need their new software to integrate into inventory, customer relationship and entitlement or enterprise resource management programs. During the planning stage, field service managers should verify that the solution addresses the needs of multiple stakeholders within the organization. This could include options and information for dispatchers, supervisors, managers, contractors, customer service reps and even customers. When they are empowered through exclusive technology, customers will rarely feel uncertain, helplessness or left out of the service process. The ideal field service management software will provide real-time data, routes, schedules and updates. Field service techs should be able to request help, track parts, access histories and retrieve customer information.

Field service managers who take advantage of available technology solutions, such as field service management software, will improve service levels, first-time fix rates and customer engagement levels. The best solutions will integrate data, technicians, customers and technology together to solve problems and maximize customer satisfaction.