Written by 6:00 am News, Service Strategy

The crowdsourced tech: a new way to deliver on-demand field service?

Manuel Grenacher, CEO Coresystems takes a look at how crowdsourcing could potentially be a revolution in delivering field service as and when it’s needed…

Imagine a customer calls your customer service line and says he has a problem with his router. He wants someone there to fix it, and he wants them there yesterday. They’re upset because they’ve called your office several times for the past few months requesting service.

Your dispatcher tells the customer that the next available appointment is in two days. Your customer starts screaming at the dispatcher saying that it is unacceptable to have such a long wait time for an appointment.

In a world where a ride can be ordered on demand and Amazon will deliver almost any product you want the same-day you order it, customers’ expectations for the type of service they want to receive from businesses continue to grow more demanding. And timeliness and flexibility often come high on the list of customer desires, even if field service companies did not initially consider these things to be customer priorities. Since field service customers’ hopes are now through the roof, there should be a new way of delivering on-demand field service to meet those high expectations.

Creating an enjoyable customer experience is important for the success of any field service business. To create this experience, field service organizations must prioritize coming up with strategies to deliver instant service that’s fast, personal and predictive.

Service should be more predictive

Gone are the days of waiting around for machines to break, then sending field service workers to the rescue at the next available appointment time. Because of IoT sensors and smart machines, preventive and predictive maintenance are what customers want. Field service workers should be able to predict machine failures and stop problems before they occur, therefore preventing downtime. The pros of predictive maintenance are numerous.

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, found that predictive maintenance results in a 35% to 45% reduction in downtime and a 20% to 25% increase in production within the oil and gas industry.

Field service software enables predictive maintenance by collecting and analysing data so service visits can be planned ahead of time.

Predictive maintenance means no more unnecessary truck rolls. Service appointments are scheduled only when needed; at times when a machine has been predicted to fail.

On-demand field service workforce

No matter how an organisation decides to enable predictive maintenance, predicting service needs to be accompanied by a scalable workforce. In order to dispatch field service workers on demand, companies can use crowdsourcing platforms like Mila. The company builds service crowds of pre-vetted, trusted, and qualified technicians who are ready to provide service at a moment’s notice.

For example, Swisscom, a major telecommunications company, is already using this external on-demand workforce consisting of vetted individuals (Mila Friends) and professional service providers (Mila Pros) to help customers with setting up their Wi-Fi, troubleshooting or explaining new products. Having these kinds of workers means they can give customers service that is quicker and more flexible.

The Mila Crowd is most often active in the evening during the week or on the weekends, outside of regular office hours.

More flexible and faster service

In the past, companies have relied on dispatchers to fill their technicians’ schedules with appointments for the day or week.

However, this type of scheduling means all of your workers may be booked up if there’s a spike in problems or customer requests at a certain time. Additionally, if there are certain times of year that are more demanding for your business than others, this style of dispatching can cause long customer wait times for appointments.

By using an on-demand workforce, companies can react to customer requests more efficiently. Workforce-as-a-service also means field service organisations can save money, since they are able to scale their services without having to invest in hiring and training new full-time employees.

Provide more proactive service

Have you ever been at a restaurant and needed a napkin, silverware, or ketchup to eat your food, only to have your server appear out of nowhere and deliver those items? How amazing does it feel to know your server anticipated your need and gave you something you wanted and needed without you having to ask for it?

Customers now prefer service that stops problems before they occur. By implementing preventive and predictive maintenance, companies are no longer just being reactive. Being proactive means offering individualised service and personalised help to customers with consideration for their specific needs.

It also means customer engagement is higher since companies no longer have to wait for customers to come to them with a problem. Field service workers can monitor IoT-connected sensors and smart machines send notifications when a failure is going to occur.

Being proactive, rather than reactive is a better way to run a field service business in today’s market. And workforce-as-a-service makes this possible.

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