In every field service organization, service management challenges test field service leaders on a daily basis. According to recent research by Field Technologies Online, the overarching service management challenge for field service managers is ensuring that their mobile workforce is operating at optimal efficiency and productivity while providing a full, seamless customer experience. In an age of rising operating costs, fierce competition and ever-increasing customer demands, our experience shows us that the biggest field service challenges include:
Meeting rising customer expectations and demands
As many field service leaders can attest, customer demands often prove to be one of the most significant service management challenges. Customers’ time is truly at a premium. Effective field service organizations must meet their customers’ demands and ensure that they are available when their customers want them. Also, customers tend to have less patience and less tolerance for insufficient work. Field service leaders face expectations of fixing it right the first time and absolute flexibility in appointment availability at the first point of contact. In terms of service management challenges, social media can be both punishment and reward for a field service company. While social media remains vital to the cultivation of an appealing online presence, encouraging correspondence and feedback on social media also risks dissatisfied customers complaining about service on a global stage.
Field employee empowerment and engagement
As front-line soldiers and brand ambassadors for your company, field employees play an integral part in both service and sales. Disengaged field employees pose one of the most considerable service management challenges for field service operations managers. As the direct link with customers, improved engagement with field engineers translates into improved customer experience, more customer referrals and often, increased sales in the field. Empowering field employees with modern and intuitive mobile capabilities, allows them to check their schedule, eliminate tedious paperwork, update timesheets, access knowledge management and much more. Armed with access to detailed customer history and party inventory, field employees are also better equipped to identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities that can positively contribute to the bottom line.
Mobility is pervasive and in the hands of today’s service customers, mobility in synonymous with immediacy. Amongst mobile users, the prevailing understanding is “I should be able to do this on my phone, now.” The service management challenges resolved by mobility range from providing customer self-service portals and appointment booking to achieving and maintaining consistency across increasingly diverse channels. Field service organizations need to prioritize their own digital transformation and leverage the latest technologies such as big data, IoT and machine learning to improve their service operations, deliver a great customer experience, build new revenue streams and stay ahead of the competition.
Changing workforce dynamics
An aging workforce and a shortage of skilled workers has made attracting, recruiting, training and retaining talent much harder and the use of contingent workers has risen dramatically over the past decade. More and more companies are supplementing their internal talent capabilities with the use of independent accredited contractors to bridge the skills gap and loss of valuable tribal knowledge as seasoned workers retire. In fact, according to research by Gartner, by 2020, 40% of all field service tasks will be performed by technicians who are not employees of the organization that has direct contact with the customer. This can, however, have a negative impact on service and brand reputation due to potential service inconsistency when a contractor is doing the work as well as lack of visibility into contractors’ availability and capacity. The right field service management solution offers a single platform which seamlessly assigns work to both internal resources and contractors, ensuring consistency in the service the end customer receives
Whatever obstacles you’re currently up against, it pays to speak to experts who can help you overcome the field service toughest challenges. Contact us today to find out more.