Looking back, we examined the top 5 field service industry trends for 2018, the top 5 field service industry trends for 2019, and now that we are in 2020, it’s that time of the year again to look forward and anticipate the trends so we can prepare our teams and our operations for what’s to come.
In the world of field service, what can you, your team of technicians, and your customers expect to see and experience in the year ahead? What will stay the same and what will change? From the explosion of self-service to a demand for privacy and data protection, your customers’ expectations are higher than ever. But thanks to powerful field service software that has revolutionized the industry, competitive field service companies are not only meeting high customer expectations--they’re exceeding them and will continue to do so.
Top Five Field Service Industry Trends
1. Data Protection and Privacy is a Non-Negotiable
Did you know that in the first six months of 2019, 4.1 billion records were exposed via data breaches? The aftermath of those breaches, including identity theft, fraud, and millions of dollars in irreversible damage, has left customers in every industry with no choice but to demand more privacy and better security.
As a field service company operating in 2020, your current and future customers want to know what data you have and how you’re using it. To reassure your customers and drive long-term loyalty, field service companies will need to step it up when it comes to data transparency. Companies must be able to show they’re not compromising sensitive information so customers don’t hesitate to input their addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers into the field service management suite you use to run your business.
2. Field Service Software is Essential to Communication
In 2020, you can expect that phones will stop ringing at every field service business. It’s not that service requests won’t be coming in, but quite the contrary. It’s that people don’t want to have to pick up the phone to request the services they need. This generation of homeowners is phone adverse and is looking to communicate with you in other ways, via email, smartphone applications, live chat, and other easily accessible digital channels.
This modern, quick, and voiceless form of communication shows no signs of slowing. For example, live chat is expected to continue to grow by as much as 87% in the next 12-18 months. In some industries, chat growth has increased by as much as 150%.
This year, it’s essential to invest in field service software that enables this quick and easy communication.
3. Appointment Scheduling Software is Taking Over
In every industry, people are not only growing more phone-adverse; they’re also growing more self-sufficient. Ultimately, your customers need your help to solve their problems, but they want to help themselves, too, and cut you out as the middleman as much as possible. Leveraging self-service programs such as appointment scheduling software or field service scheduling software gives your customers the power to manage their own appointments, allowing them the autonomy they crave and saving your company both time and money.
According to Aberdeen, companies with self-service programs boost customer profit margins by 6.8% a year. Capitalize on this opportunity to boost your profits by using the best field service software.
Give your customers a self-service digital experience so they can:
- Book online appointments and get instant confirmation
- Get proactive, customizable notifications and automated job status updates
- Track technician location
- Receive end-to-end job status tracking and communications
- Access their claims portal
2020 is all about customer empowerment, and the best field service companies will adapt.
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4. The Gig Economy is Here to Stay
2020 is also confirmation that the gig economy is here, and it’s here to stay. Companies who have mastered the management of their contractor and mixed workforce can run lean, agile operations that will weather any obstacles thrown at them.
When you look at the future of employment, the statistics speak for themselves:
- About 36% of US workers are now involved in the gig economy
- US freelancers contributed $1.28 trillion to the American economy in 2018
- If this growth rate continues, more than 50% of the US workforce will participate in the gig economy by 2027
The best field service companies will capitalize on this trend by employing a mixed workforce of full-time employees and part-time contractors. Talented field service contractors specialize in specific areas and can service remote geographical locations, allowing you to service more customers than you would using full-time employees only.
In 2020, run your field service business using a mixed workforce management style.
5. The Aging Workforce Will Encourage Evolution in Technologies
This year, the workforce is expected to have a shortage of 2 million due in large part to the aging working force exiting the field. According to Gartner, “aging workforces will transition to workforces with less experience but more autonomy. This will require better digital service support techniques, especially for training, safety, collaboration, and democratization of distributed knowledge.”
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 embrace advancements in technology, execute customer-focused service strategies, and empower their field service technicians while delivering an excellent service experience.
Key Field Service Takeaways for the New Year
As modern field service companies enter 2020, management professionals must draw upon a larger workforce to solve customer problems. They must protect customer data and reassure them that it’s safe. Field service software must be utilized to enable chat and self-service to please modern, tech savvy customers who are strapped for time.
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