From consumer-focused computer repair, to monitoring large machinery for industrial organizations, field service plays a critical role in delivering a winning customer experience. As the Technology Services Industry Association notes, automation boosts productivity and increases revenues within field services.
New apps and technologies are improving customer management, streamlining service delivery, and helping field services professionals complete strategic repairs. Here’s a closer look at the latest trends.
Information gathering: Empowering field services for data collection
Field services technicians can be your organization’s eyes in the field. Armed with a smartphone and camera, today’s mobile tools let technicians collect customer data, gather insights on client sites, and identify prospective customers.
For example, a tech who is onsite with a client might notice an equipment issue that indicates the need for future servicing, or field service staff on the road may see a prospective business opportunity. Intelligent feedback loops from your field service team can improve delivery across your organization, from sales and account management to scheduling maintenance appointments before they’re needed.
Better monitoring and communications for customers
Field services get a bad reputation for long waits during multi-hour service delivery windows, but they don’t have to. Companies are improving the customer experience with apps that enable them to track reps in transit, communicate with customers, and pinpoint arrivals.
By using smart location tools, field service organizations can track techs who are traveling between locations in real time, improving communications with customers and corporate management for better planning and visibility. At the same time, self-service scheduling tools allow customers to book repair appointments, share information, and improve communications.
Sensors for smarter repairs
The Internet of Things (IoT) is also helping speed up service delivery—and many field service companies are investing in this foundational technology. In a WBR Digital survey, 81% of companies said they believe that smart connected technologies and IoT will be implemented at scale in the industry in the next five to ten years.
Field services techs often arrive at a customer site without clear knowledge of the issue they’re to address. That translates to time spent diagnosing problems and hoping they have the right components on hand. Increasingly, companies are turning to solutions such as sensors that relate information on repairs back to companies before a tech visits, so techs arrive onsite with the right instructions, parts, and more.
Augmented reality for faster service
At the same time, organizations are exploring augmented-reality glasses to speed up repairs. New tools pair glasses and knowledge platforms to gather information based on what techs are seeing, and then send information back to technicians on how to complete a repair. Tools can also outline workflow steps for repairs or enable techs to video call a remote expert to consult on challenging cases.
“With hands-free solutions, instead of holding a piece of paper that can get wet, rip, or get lost, or even holding up a smartphone or iPad, the field services worker can wear this new form of computer on his/her head. When you have a monocular or binocular screen in front of your eyes, you’re able to see the data for what you need to do while also having both hands free to repair equipment,” according to Sean Everett, an AI expert with Prome.AI, who was interviewed for this piece.
Technologies are helping field services technicians deliver targeted services more efficiently, while dramatically improving customer service. As this trend continues, field service is shifting from a source of customer frustration to the cornerstone of a great customer experience.
To learn more, view The Future of Field Service and the Connected Mobile Workforce ebook.