The future depicted in the film “I, Robot” is now. At least, that’s what experts and trend forecasters are reporting, as robots begin to take over certain white-collar and blue-collar jobs. According to a study conducted by NPR, researchers predicted which jobs in fields ranging from medicine to maintenance have the highest chance of being done by robots in the next 20 years. The study determined the percentage likelihood based on four job requirements: cleverness, negotiation, helping others, and squeezing into small spaces. For example, electricians have a 14.8% chance that their jobs will be taken over by robots, since some parts of their jobs are easier to automate than others.
Some complex processes in the medical and machinery industries are now being automated by robots. In hospitals, machines are diagnosing lung cancer more accurately than doctors, doing hair transplants, applying surgical sutures, and delivering anesthesia for low-level surgeries via Johnson & Johnson’s Sedasys machine. In the machinery industry, robots are already inspecting circuit boards and loading solar wafers into solar cells.
So should field service workers be worried that they’ll be replaced by robots in the coming decades? Not necessarily, because they are not one of the field serivce management challenges. Here’s why:
Robots Will Change The Way Field Service Workers Do Work
Robots will not completely take over field service work, but they will cause field service technicians to work in a different way. Like smart watches or smart glasses, robots in the field would be used to help keep human technicians away from potentially dangerous projects or simple, painstaking tasks that a robot could do faster. This frees up field service workers to give more time and attention to helping customers directly and assessing their needs.
Field Service Will Still Require a Human Touch
Like service managment software, robots need human supervision to be programmed and to ensure necessary tasks are performed correctly. Robots still don’t function alone. Furthermore, from a customer's’ point of view, no matter how good a robot is at installing a part or servicing a piece of equipment, most customers will want to interact with a human worker, rather than a piece of intelligent machinery.
Customer Service Will Become More Important
Field service automation has made customer service a top priority for new field service hires and companies. Simply fixing a machine well is not good enough to create a happy customer experience. The same holds true for robots versus field service workers. Though a robot may be able to deliver install and maintain equipment, customers will always want to engage with live field service workers because these workers are seen as trusted experts and advisors, who can explain the job the robot completed in human terms and respond to concerns and complaints accordingly.
Though robots may improve the efficiency of your business like field service software, in the future, adding that human touch to technological advances will be more important than ever.