There is a lot of competition for field service operators today. As technologies advance, every operator must do its utmost to keep up with the times and maintain a competitive edge. The need to increase efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction – all whilst cutting costs – are always the cruxes of the issue, with the latter continuing to bear the greatest importance.
Software Advice, an organization that conducts researches into field service automation technology, recently surveyed over 8,000 consumers of residential services, of which 41% believed that residential service companies only do an ‘average job’ when it comes to utilizing their software for customer service (FSM software).
What Needs To Happen
Industries all over the globe – financial, medical, governmental – are pushing themselves to make full use of the powerful advancements of mobile technologies to increase speed, efficiency, productivity and customer service, and the field service industry is no exception.
Field service, perhaps more so than a lot of other industries, does not exist in a vacuum that is unsusceptible to environmental changes. On the contrary, field service is continuously evolving and adapting, as it must do if each operator is to continue to compete, and meet and exceed customer requirements and expectations.
Real Time Data Collection
In order to achieve this, each service operation must make continuous efforts to collect data from all parts of the service cycle, and then use this data to make informed decisions about the optimization of operations.
Real Time Optimization
The data that’s collected need not be hoarded away for future use. The future is happening now, and the up-to-date mobile technology that’s already available should be utilized to drive continuous real-time innovation within the field service industry.
Minimizing Customer Downtime – Sensors
Connected devices are set to play an ever-increasing role of importance in the field service industry in 2015. Machine to machine (M2M) smart communications from implanted sensors in, for example, security systems, vending machines or elevators, can alert technicians via their smart device to initiate repairs before an actual failure occurs.
This real time data can also be used in combination with manufacturing data to predict equipment failure and offer possible solutions to the technician upon his or her arrival at the scene. These are the sorts of innovations that are minimizing customer downtime – or even eradicating it completely – of which we can expect to see more and more of in 2015 and beyond.
Replacing the Break-fix Repair Model
The best road to maximizing customer satisfaction is in taking the necessary steps to ensure that jobs are completed promptly and, wherever possible, in a single visit. This, in turn, will increase efficiency and productivity for businesses, as costs are driven down in terms of both scheduling and repeated trips.
Prevention will always be better than cure. Utilizing modern sensors and mobile technologies to replace the break-fix repair model with the more streamlined and efficient proactive, preventative maintenance model will not only increase customer loyalty and satisfaction due to decreased downtime, but will also significantly reduce costs to the field service organization through maximizing first time fix rates.
Your field service organization needs to keep up with the technologies that are available now in 2015. To continuously improve all metrics of your business, focus on what it will take to drive up customer satisfaction, aiming to cut all operations down to single visits using the proactive preventative maintenance model. This is what is going to work for you and your customers in 2015 and beyond.