Technology and technicians in field service

May 26 • Features, Software and Apps • 4732 Views • No Comments on Technology and technicians in field service

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Field service organisations face increasing competition, declining margin and high customer expectations. But, they also are challenged by new technologies, such as social, mobile, cloud, analytics, IoT and M2M, and wearables. Each new technology has potential to revolutionise field service just as field mobility technology did several years ago. Marne Martin, CEO of ServicePower looks at why technology is just one ingredient in field service excellence.. 

ServicePower is spending much time and effort in innovating our field service management software. We are working hard to be innovative and stay ahead of the latest technologies such that our customers have the best in class FSM solution today, but are also positioned to take advantage of new advances as they hit the market. We are completely mobilising the field service call, enabling the field based tech to complete all onsite processes in one trip. We’re incorporating social collaboration to ensure that the tech has access to materials and expert assistance from the office to get the job finished. We’re partnering with one of the world’s leading research institutions, the University of Manchester, to further improve our scheduling algorithms.

We cannot dismiss perhaps the most important element in the delivery of field based services: the field technician.

Our hard work has been recognised through winning the 2014 M2M Evolution for IOT Excellence Award, and being named as a Visionary by Gartner in its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.

However, we cannot dismiss perhaps the most important element in the delivery of field based services: the field technician.

How does the emerging workforce, which is young, technically savvy and collaborative, affect your ability to provide exceptional field service? Let’s look at the following important issues regarding the technicians in your workforce.

Recruitment

One of the top challenges field service organisations face right now is the retiring workforce. However, according to Aberdeen more than half of field service organisations wait until there is an opening to fill to recruit a new technician, rather than doing so proactively. While it’s important to find a great technician with the skills required to perform the services offered by the organisation, it’s just as important to also understand the needs and motivations of its young (averaging 32 years old), technically savvy recruits, and do so prior to needing to fill a position. To that end, it’s also important to identify what will ensure the highest retention rates with the new workforce.

Technology Adoption

With the young, and we’re really talking about Millennials, which in 2015 are projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation, comes adoption of more and more consumer oriented technologies. Aberdeen says that 62% of best-in-class field service organisations are incorporating some level of BYOD strategy. That’s happening because these young recruits are helping to speed the transition due to high adoption rates of mobile, connected technologies for personal use. As a matter of fact, in America, 2 of every 5 households only have wireless telephones. Technology is changing our personal and professional lives.

Service Evolution

The newest generation of young, tech savvy and collaborative field service technicians grew up with computers and social networks, text, email and chat. It’s how they communicate.

For the customer, further downtime and inconvenience are eliminated. For the field service organisation, costs are minimised, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are improved.

This isn’t a negative for field service. Adoption of these communication methods only improves customer service. As we field service management software vendors improve our ability to ensure the tech with the right skills and best knowledge of or proximity to the service location are intelligently scheduled, as with the ServicePower ServiceScheduling product, field technicians armed and comfortable with the latest mobile technologies can tap into the social, mobile and cloud technologies, as well as utilise wearables, to diagnose an issue while onsite, access the documentation or videos and chat or video chat with experts in the office whom can help ensure that the product is fixed in one truck roll.

For the customer, further downtime and inconvenience are eliminated. For the field service organisation, costs are minimised, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are improved.

Strategy

Field technicians are your face to the customer. They are often the only point of contact a customer has with your organisation post sale. So, how do we find the best and brightest field technicians, and keep them?

  • Proactively identify what your customers want.
  • The Boomers are retiring. Proactively identify how to attract Millennials to your organisation.
  • Identify how to keep workers engaged with your field service operation
    • Train them effectively
    • Offer and support utilisation new technologies such as wearables, which contribute to their success.
    • Provide access to the tools, information and experts to make them heroes to your customers
  • Support social communications
    • Document how and when to use it for company purposes. A 140 character Tweet can be a huge PR success or a nightmare for your operation
  • Encourage adoption of new technologies like route optimization, IoT and M2M and video. The business value of these tools empowers the field technician to create happy customers and make their own day a success!

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