Having existed decades ago, field service management is a system of coordinating field services anywhere other than the company property. This entails scheduling work orders, assigning service technicians, monitoring labour hours and job status, and billing for the finished job.
Field service management runs on the principles of deliverable promises, quality assurance, and trust.
During the earlier days, the assurance of the quality of goods or services being delivered was on a word-of-mouth basis. Those who didn’t follow through on their responsibilities were subject to severe punishment. For example, they were banned from conducting any future business.
Although time has passed, the fundamental rules for operating a business have not changed. Field service management companies today send their employees to a location to install, maintain, or repair with the trust of delivering high-quality services to the best of their abilities.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, like all businesses, field service management experienced a significant paradigm shift.
How Field Service Management Trends Evolved after COVID-19?
Following the pandemic, customer expectations started to shift as well.
A survey of 25,000 consumers was conducted by Accenture in 2021. Based on these findings, only 17% of respondents who were classified as “traditional consumers” indicated that the pandemic had not changed their behaviour. The remaining 50% claimed that the pandemic led them to rethink their goals. Whereas, 33% of “evolving consumers” were unsure or shifting their viewpoints.
Field service management cannot maintain its competitiveness and responsiveness to customer needs by continuing to employ the same methods. Therefore, the below mentioned are a few of the changes that happened owing to the pandemic.
For better safety precautions, many people began to only choose businesses that had contactless services. In order to succeed in achieving customer service and satisfaction, businesses have to find ways to automate their operations.
For example, firms can dispatch field crews directly to customers from their respective homes rather than from the main office.
The technicians will be able to finish the repairs and get job alerts from their mobile devices and home-based dispatches. Similarly, customers can follow the progress of on-the-way technicians, get real-time status updates on repairs, and even make service payments.
Online payment methods
To avoid face-to-face interaction and convenience, people have started switching to online banking. This enabled businesses to expand their services and increase their business efficiency. During these times, field service suppliers were required to adopt secure mobile apps or online transaction processes.
Customers prefer digital payments, so it is always a good idea to offer this convenience to your customers. This will also help you collect payments on the spot, keeping your cashflows from running dry.
Utilising cutting-edge technologies
The COVID-19 outbreak made people aware of the value of technology and its influence on daily life. With this, businesses in each sector started investing in cutting-edge technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Personnel working in this industry developed technology solutions for off-site assistance. A recent study showed that a company that included technological advancement saw a decrease of 17% for on-site assistance.
With technology, it is possible to locate the customer’s point of need and offer remote assistance and support using IoT sensors and augmented reality glasses.
What will Field Service Management look like in the future?
The field service technicians will become accustomed to using analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict equipment failures and other necessary information.
Businesses are planning to adopt this mechanism as it allows for lower maintenance costs and prevents failures. Technicians can use IoT-enabled tools to proactively monitor, set up alerts, and take predetermined actions to mitigate potential damage.
Predictive analytics compares current behaviour to historical behaviour to make an assessment. For example, equipment is likely to malfunction again if the same circumstances exist as when it did so previously. Hence, this is why predictive maintenance visits will be in demand in the future.
Everything is accessible from the small smart device that fits perfectly in the palm. During the pandemic, when people were confined to homes with few resources, they realised how crucial a mobile phone was.
Artificial intelligence-enabled mobile devices increase the output of technicians and keep fascinatingly revolutionising the field service management industry.
For example, mobile apps come with valuable features. Receiving job specifications, looking at asset data, ordering parts, filling out service reports, scanning barcodes, and adding pictures and external documents to jobs are a few examples.
Furthermore, apps allow mobile workers to access the crucial information that companies require to thrive in the contemporary economy. More importantly, mobility encourages productivity and proactive behaviour in a way that is simply not possible with paper-based systems.
Risk management processes
Unlike in earlier times, field service technicians now want to know what they are getting into. Field service suppliers will start developing pre-screening questions prior to their arrival to help them comprehend the risk and what they need to know about the environment.
Even though this is a risk management tool to foresee the future, it can also be used for other benefits too. People can, for instance, access the threat and based on that, perform tasks locally or remotely, as convenient.
It will be possible to analyse the risks and the tasks that need to be completed in order to carry out the work effectively.
Backend process automation
The strength of a company is based on how efficient its back-end processes are. If the backend is cluttered with paper and manual work, major errors are possible. However, with automated solutions, work can happen at a much faster rate with very few errors.
Future operations will heavily rely on backend automation to carry out routine tasks and make them run more smoothly and effectively. Jobs, for instance, can be automatically scheduled and assigned to technicians. This can ensure the best possible set of tasks for the day are allocated, thereby reducing the inefficiency of the company.
Backend automation will also handle inventory management. This guarantees that core component stock levels are maintained at suitable levels and those out-of-stock situations are avoided. Additionally, invoices may be automatically processed, delivered, and enabled for instant payment.
Technical and soft skills training sessions
Training is one of the most important aspects of any field service operation. Engineers need to have a thorough understanding of machines and other devices to succeed in their profession.
Training is therefore absolutely essential for everyone, both those who are already working in the field and those who are just starting out. With the rise of Digital Transformation, it is much easier to conduct theoretical training programs. Online portals enable you to access training materials anywhere and at any time.
Soft skills like leadership, collaboration, communication, problem-solving, work ethic, flexibility and adaptability, interpersonal skills, etc. are also crucial to teach now. The future will require more soft skill talents than technical knowledge to be in the industry.
With increased awareness, people have realised the importance of work-life balance. In contrast to earlier times when people would simply work nonstop, today everyone knows what is best for them and take breaks as needed.
Thus, field service management companies will be required to offer hybrid solutions for employees to do what’s best for them. Employees who are given trust will look for ways to work more productively and complete tasks more successfully, than those who are not.
Potential Field Service Management Challenges and Solutions
With technology in the background, field service management will evolve continuously. Even the simplest tasks in the past required people to travel to a location. Today, modern technicians can complete them securely and remotely.
Despite the many advantages of evolution, here are a few pointers you should remember if you want to be successful in your line of work.
- Never forget to maintain sincere relationships with all stakeholders.
- Always be aware of planning and organisation.
- Keep an eye on project priorities.
- Automate the business.
Even though it sounds like a hard task, the reward is definitely fruitful. The future of field service management is an exciting journey to be a part of. As a parting gift, make sure to try out i4T Business which provides an end-to-end innovative digital platform empowering field service suppliers.
It provides Authorised Service Agents, Field Service Suppliers, and Property Occupants with Efficiency, Transparency, Compliance, and Safety at every service touchpoint. What more do you need? Register for i4T Business today.
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With our cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of how the Field Service Management sector operates, the i4TGlobal Team loves to share industry insights to help streamline your business processes and generate new leads. We are driven by innovation and are passionate about delivering solutions that are transparent, compliant, efficient and safe for all stakeholders and across all touch points.