There are quite a few companies that not only sell products, but also offer services related to those products. For example, think of a company that manufactures boats and at the same time takes care of the maintenance. Or a company like Canon, which not only sells cameras and printers, but also repairs them. Of course, there are numerous technical firms that solely perform maintenance and repair services and do not sell anything, like technical installation companies.
These companies are constantly on the move and work with people who are mostly in the field for various customers. They employ many service personnel, have to schedule many appointments, and manage a large inventory of parts and tools. A challenging set of jobs and considerations. In this blog post, we will briefly look at some of the problems these companies encounter on a daily basis, but also look at the solution: field service management using state-of-the-art digital technology.
Directing a large field force toward optimal efficiency and customer satisfaction is a challenging task. In fact, in practice, there are many potential bumps in the road. For example, without the right communication between the field service and the office, information does not always get to the right place. We often see, for example, that technicians on site do not have a clear picture of what exactly they need to do. The result: a lot of back and forth between the office and field staff and a customer who doesn’t really know where things stand.
Especially in the world of IT, compliance with SLAs is also quite an issue. Which services exactly are covered by the SLA and which requirements do you, as a service provider, have to meet exactly? We also see that inefficient planning sometimes causes problems or tickets to take too long to resolve. Think, for example, of technician A who has to drive all the way from Brabant to Amsterdam, while technician B from the capital still has room in his schedule.
The lack of a well thought out plan and the provision of correct information is also an obstacle to the much desired ‘first time fix’: a repair in which the problem is solved immediately and no follow-up appointment is necessary. Finally, we often see that service employees do not reach their optimal productivity because they have to deal with all sorts of manually performed administrative tasks that you could easily automate.
The solution: Field Service Management
The good news: there is a good remedy for the aforementioned challenges. It’s called Field Service Management and it uses modern technologies to improve planning and communication between inside and outside sales. Let us give a few specific examples.
Communication via mobile devices and apps
The combination of a mobile device (smartphone, tablet) and a special app for (Field) Service Management makes the work and life of a service employee a lot nicer and more convenient. He or she can check ‘on the go’ which jobs are exactly on the schedule can enter digital work orders and submit them to the office immediately after finishing a repair.
Automated workflow optimization
Automating workflows greatly reduces the amount of time service personnel have to spend planning and administering. This allows them to pay more attention to the technical side of their job and satisfy the customer.
Remote resolution and virtual assistants
Modern VR and AR technology often makes it possible to solve problems remotely. You can present solutions virtually or assist the customer live when setting up, repairing, or configuring a device. This saves travel costs and hours and often allows you to help more people within a shorter time frame. Virtual assistants such as chatbots are well-suited to identifying the cause of a problem by asking questions.
Tracking Assets with IoT
With IoT technology, you can now track assets in real time. Collect data, gain insights and predict the maintenance cycle of your assets. You can also set up notifications that send an alert when a machine or piece of equipment is due for periodic maintenance. In addition, you can optimally plan routes based on future needs.
Always arrive well-prepared thanks to Field Service Management
Thanks to the technologies and methods described above, you can be sure that service personnel are always well prepared when they arrive at the customer’s location: they have the right tools, the right parts, the necessary knowledge and all the important information for a specific job.
Are you also looking for specialized Field Service Management software that will provide optimal support for your service personnel? Please feel free to contact us for more information or download one of the resources below.