The field services industry is under increasing pressure to modernize, as current technologies to support off-site workers do not meet customer expectations. With new digital field services technology available, and a new standard of working trickling through the industry, it’s important that organizations adapt in order to stay competitive.
The field services industry is an interesting one, as it involves jobs performed in the field, rather than on company property. These off-site operations, in healthcare, telecoms, or construction for example, have been slow to adapt to changes in technology, but organizations are starting to embrace a mobile-first culture, investing in digital field services technology which automates processes for greater efficiency.
Why does the field services industry need to modernize?
Over three quarters of fields service providers admit they are struggling to achieve revenue growth. Customer expectations of field service workers are growing, but many organizations are still unequipped to satisfy customer needs. However, research of the industry demonstrates that companies which achieve service excellence, and meet customer expectations, are 3.9 times more likely to achieve a year-on-year increase in customer retention. As a result, pleasing the customer is necessary, and organizations must invest in digital field services technology which can facilitate this.
What challenges does the field services industry face?
Throughout the industry, there are common challenges which field service workers face. Let’s take a look at some keys ones.
- Keeping on schedule
The field services industry relies on customer visitations, typically to install a service or make repairs. Ideally, field service workers are looking to visit as many customers in a day as possible and deliver services or products efficiently. However, delays in jobs often occur, which can throw off the schedule for other customers. This gives an impression of bad customer service and can lower the customer retention rate for organizations.
- More equipment needed
A common issue for field service workers is a lack of correct equipment for a job. Throughout the industry, equipment service requests are still performed manually, via an email, and wait times will create bottlenecks and negatively impact the day’s schedule. With this being such a common issue, a better system is required for communicating equipment service requests, ensuring that the right piece of equipment is delivered on time.
- Communicating with customers
With customer service a top priority for field services workers, it’s important that communication lines remain open, especially in cases of changed appointment times and unplanned events. However, many organizations are still using traditional methods of communication, which don’t meet customer expectations. If a field services worker is stuck on a job but communicates this poorly with the customer next in line, it can lead to customers having to chase field service providers for information.
- Inaccurate data
Organizations are still using manual timesheets for field service jobs, but these are vulnerable to human error and inaccuracies. Successful scheduling of technicians and resources relies on accurate data from the field, and if this data is inaccurate, it gives organizations a murky picture of their business. It’s vital that accurate data is recorded, so that field service providers can make accurate scheduling decisions and ensure overall efficiency is maintained.
How does process automation help field service providers modernize?
Digital processes in field services can help the industry to modernize. Automation software is a key piece of digital field services technology which helps businesses excel in customer service, improve scheduling challenges, deliver better communication with customers, and provide data for better scheduling. Here are some use cases:
With automated solutions, field service providers can streamline the workflows of employees, ensuring better scheduling and greater efficiency. Many operations in field services are inefficient because the process involves complex steps which, when handled manually, results in bottlenecks. Tasks like equipment service requests cannot be performed successfully through manual processes. However, with an automated digital field services tool, equipment service requests are processed faster, and with more accuracy, ensuring the right equipment can be delivered promptly.
Deliver better customer service
The more time a field service worker has to spend on administrative tasks, such as notifying individual customers of delays, the less time can be spent on the customer at hand. With customer service a key part of the job, relieving field service workers of their admin duties frees up time and allows employees to focus on the customer in front of them. The automated tools also ensure that, for those customers waiting for a product or service, communication remains prompt and transparent. Customers no longer have to search for information and timely communication results in higher customer satisfaction.
Generate accurate data
Manual timesheets often lead to inconsistencies and inaccuracies. With automated solutions, however, field service providers can gather complete, accurate work order data including billing processes and time spent on a job. This allows organizations to make scheduling decisions which reflect the capacities of their employees – and ensure that operations are more efficient as a result. The better informed a business is about how long their workers take to complete a job, or how many customers they are able to visit in a day, the better organizations can allocate resources in the long-term.
Want to introduce digital processes in field services? Nintex for ServiceMax is purpose-built for field service providers. Delight your customers with automated solutions and ensure operations remain efficient.