The field service industry is evolving all the time, and perhaps over the past 5 years or so it has evolved at a quicker rate than ever before. This is a good thing, of course. Progress is inevitable, and so long as you can keep up with it, then you will always be doing things in the fastest, safest, smartest and most up to date way that you can – and at the end of the day, that’s what your customer wants and deserves.
But, with the speed of change these days, keeping up with all the latest solutions and innovations can be easier said than done.
Back in 2012, say, you knew exactly where you were, what you were doing and how to do it as efficiently as was then possible. In fact your field service teams were the masters of efficient process, your customers couldn’t be happier with the service, and everything ran along smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
But over the past couple of years you’ve noticed that some of your competitors have started to gain a bit of traction, and perhaps have even managed to pinch the odd client off you. And when you investigate a little further, you find out that the reason is because they are doing something different that you’re not.
Your process that was at the top of its game 3 years ago is all of a sudden feeling a little sluggish in comparison to what your rivals are presently offering.
How can this be?
Well, the problem may well be that since your old processes were serving you so well, they’ve become habit. And, as technology and the world of field service has very quickly progressed, your habitual tendencies are keeping you trapped in the past.
As unfortunate as this might be, it is easily fixed – all that’s needed is for you to recognise what you should be doing differently, and then act upon it. It can be hard to let go of something that you know once worked so well – but the fact is that what was once the pinnacle of efficiency and effectiveness no longer cuts the mustard, and it’s time to move on. I mean, you don’t still use a Nokia 3310 do you? That was once the very best mobile phone on the market, but just look at the range there is now. You’ve got to break those old habits and move with the times, it’s as simple as that.
1. Stop Using The Break/Fix Repair Model
Prevention, as ever, is always better than cure, and unfortunately that is something that the age-old break/fix repair model by definition simply cannot live up to. If you’re still waiting for equipment to break down and for clients to call your field service team out to fix it, then, if you’re not quite past your sell by date yet, then very soon you will find that your competitors will be running rings around the outdated services that you provide very soon.
Once a piece of equipment has failed, then your field service team will be rushing around, fighting against the clock to get it fixed in order to minimize the downtime (and therefore the damage) of the client’s business. But, thankfully, these days there is technology available that should prevent things ever getting to this stage.
Monitoring technologies are what are required. These will continuously assess a piece of equipment, detect very early on a future problem, and schedule a field service technician to turn up and solve the problem before it occurs. Of course, you will need to invest in these monitoring technologies, and so you will need to draw up a business plan for you to roll them out over the short-term future in order to maintain your competitive edge.
2. Stop Relying On Data From The Glory Days Of 2012
Not a lot of industries stay stagnant for long these days, and so it is with the field service industry. The needs of your customers will be quite different now to what they were just 3 years ago – and that also means that they will expect you to solve any problems with a lot more urgency than you were able to do back then.
You need to stop relying on historical data to make predictions and pay closer attention to what’s going on in the present. Improvement of forecasting is the ultimate aim of the game, and you need to plan for future demands now, and anticipate potential problems based on your most recent data before they occur.
3. Replace Old Tools With New Ones
Carrying round heavy printed manuals should really be a thing of the past by now, but there are still many incidences of just this very thing today out in the field. These are by no means an efficient way for your field service engineers to access the data that they need when on a call – not least because the information contained within them is fixed and becomes increasingly outdated by the second.
The best field service organisations out there are making use of the ever-evolving range mobile tools and technology, that allow for the access of current data, which provide much better support for technicians in the field through the provision of relevant information that will aid them in reaching a faster solution.
What are the efforts that your organisation is taking to keep up with the times? Are there any further old habits that you think should be broken? Please share your thoughts with us below.