The foundation of a highly effective field service organization is its workforce management system. This is especially true for organizations managing a mix of employed and contracted field service reps, which requires a greater level of sophistication and insight.
Relying on manual workflows and outdated systems puts field service organizations at a disadvantage from the start, especially when new technologies are available that enable significant cost containment and productivity improvements.
Yet 52% of field service organizations still use manual workflows.
To compete in an era of a quickly expanding Internet of Things (IoT), organizations must embrace these new technologies to optimize scheduling, improve dispatch and the customer experience, dispatching, and empower a hybrid workforce. Those that don’t will be left behind.
Below, we’ll explore three transformative technologies field service organizations should consider implementing to remain competitive in our new IoT ecosystem.
1. AI-Enabled Dispatch
Using third-party contractors can help fill the gap in skills, location, and availability of current personnel. Advanced field service management software can seamlessly integrate both contractors and employed technicians into a single system; this software can then apply AI and annealing algorithms to identify the right technician for every job.
Using this technology allows field service organizations to:
- Set customized parameters based on predetermined performance criteria
- Match those parameters to each technician’s skills, availability, and geography using AI-enabled dispatching
- Program other parameters, including preferred partnerships or suppliers, contract costs, and reject rates
Once the appropriate technician is dispatched, intelligent monitoring provides real-time status updates on in-progress jobs. Route optimization software leverages geolocation capabilities to enable reps to be deployed to customers in their area. This helps optimize the day’s schedule by reducing delayed appointments while increasing customer satisfaction.
AI-powered field service management enables organizations to continuously monitor operations from any web-enabled device from any location. Having 24/7 access to this level of insight allows for better decision-making and faster resolution of issues. This is absolutely crucial to effective contractor management and dispatching a hybrid workforce.
2. Smarter Scheduling
New field service scheduling software improves productivity and reduces costs by removing inefficient, costly manual processes and reducing paid downtime. Paper-based workflows are replaced with automated tools designed to optimize workforce productivity, schedule adherence, first-time fix rates (FTFRs), and customer experience.
- When booking changes occur throughout the workday—as they typically do—smart scheduling software quickly reconfigures existing schedules to accommodate all changes in the most efficient and impactful way
- The technology identifies the most appropriate technician in closest proximity, as well as the required inventory
- This automated, real-time process reduces delays by ensuring technicians arrive on time, equipped with the right tools and parts to fix the problem the first time
Smart scheduling also increases enterprise-wide visibility into operations through tools like interactive Gantt charts. These tools allow field service organizations to more intelligently configure their workforce with cost parameters to achieve their key performance indicators.
Through metric monitoring and compliance reporting, field service scheduling software also gives you more insight into problematic trends related to both processes and personnel. This allows you to take faster, proactive action before issues escalate and impact customers or the bottom line.
The proof is in the pudding:
AI-driven optimization helps field service organizations increase productivity by up to 68% while reducing scheduling costs by 15%.
3. Mobile Enablement
In the past, technicians were left to sink or swim once they hit the road. This is no longer the case with mobile field service software. This technology empowers both employed and contracted technicians with on-demand access to the information they need to ensure the best outcomes for each job.
Work order management is easier with rules-based data collection forms and on-the-spot creation of estimates and invoices. Mobile field service software ensures technicians are scheduled with consideration of their workload and activities, which improves technician satisfaction and reduces costly turnover.
Mapping and location technology within the software provide technicians with real-time traffic information and alerts customers with updated estimated arrival times. Technicians also benefit from GPS-enabled parts management that allows them to locate the parts they need faster, without having to manage inefficient duplicate warehouse runs.
Furthermore, mobile field service software improves the customer experience by allowing technicians to:
- Take payments
- Offer warranties
- Submit a claim
- Present a promotional offering while on site
This makes customer engagement more personal and enhances the field service organization’s overall customer service reputation.
Innovation in Action
Gartner recently published its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. The report states that only 30% of field service providers will be able to deploy AI-based decision-support solutions by 2022.
The report includes a review of the top field service management providers, with a detailed description of each vendor’s capabilities in the areas of digital technician support, outcome-based service business models, and AI-driven scheduling and decision support.
When analyzing ServicePower’s product innovation, the report states:
“ServicePower has recently begun offering a solution called IoT and Connected Home via IoT partnerships and integrations with popular home automation hubs. These enable insurance customers, for example, to initiate service requests via Amazon Alexa devices. ServicePower has also embedded HERE maps for global routing and real-time traffic-based schedule optimization and now has over 300 APIs.”
To learn more about leveraging innovative field service management software to optimize productivity, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience in the age of the IoT, contact ServicePower today.