Consisting of more than 20 million field technicians spread across the world, the field service industry is a giant. From maintenance works in apartment elevators and medical scanners, to factory and farm machinery, the slightest adjustment to time can have a huge impact on service operation efficiency.
According to 2017 statistics compiled on the field service industry:
As the field service industry experiences robust growth, companies are taking advantage of new technologies to transition from manual and time-consuming service operations. Innovations such as cloud-based mobility and machine learning are generating profits, increasing customer satisfaction and enhancing brand loyalty. Here are the top 5 field service industry trends for 2018:
Knowledge Acquisition from Aging Workforce
Research shows that 70 percent of service organizations regard loss of talent and knowledge as a major challenge in the years to come. Some negative outcomes of this deficit include increased customer dissatisfaction with inexperienced technicians, and massive costs in recruiting and training new employees.
Field service organizations are using innovative technology to preserve legacy knowledge. By reaching out to experienced workers and aging employees, their accrued knowledge is effectively transferred into knowledge management systems (KCS). This comprehensive knowledge database is then used to recruit, train and encourage new employees. In fact, companies that harness knowledge management systems outperform their rivals by 20 percent in service level agreement (SLA) compliance rates, and by 14 percent in first-time fix rates.
User-Friendly Mobile Experiences
The number of mobile phone users in the world is predicted to exceed five billion by the year 2019. Incorporating mobile experiences is an integral component of any field service strategy. Mobile investments create efficient communication channels, employee team-building, solutions for conflicts, and real-time interactions with customers.
Example: ServicePower offers one of the best global mobile field service platforms. Through hybrid workforces and unique in breed module capabilities, ServicePower recruits and manages third-party contractors, takes direct calls, and automates dispatches. In fact, the company was recognized by Gartner as a Visionary in its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management (FSM).
One of the major drivers of revenue growth today, automation enables employees to be more productive as well as serve as resources to customers. By allowing immediate access to inventory stocks and customer data, employees are able to function efficiently, save precious time in locating information, and instead spend more time with customers.
Cloud-based field service management software (FSM) features tools such as technician dispatch, scheduling, licensing history, invoicing, digital customer interactions, tracking vehicles, and employee activities. Some software solutions are also designed for specialized field service assignments like plumbing and HVAC in electrical home businesses.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is defined as the communication between a network of internet-enabled devices, systems, and physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity. The physical objects can also include devices, vehicles, and buildings, and contain electronics, sensors or software that allow them to exchange data over wireless networks. Currently, there are more than 12 billion devices that connect to the internet. By 2020, that figure is estimated to grow, and there will be 26 times more connected things than humans.
In a highly competitive industry, the incorporation of smart technology and connected products is of immense importance to field service companies. 81 percent of field service companies believe that smart connected products and IoT technology will be the norm in five to ten years.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
The augmented and virtual reality market is expected to grow to a market size of 215 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. With the Oculus Rift making waves in employee training modules and hands-free communication, augmented and virtual reality has tremendous potential in the field service industry.
Example: Practical applications of augmented reality were displayed during the Modern Customer Experience 2017 forum. By simply pointing a smartphone at a machine, a field service technician can receive repair instructions, superimposed over the image of the machine. Thus, an inexperienced technician can receive expert training even if an experienced worker is not available.