In the field service industry, service management challenges test every field service leader’s mettle on a daily basis. While every business strives to increase efficiency and eclipse competition, field service companies, in particular, rely heavily on the customer experience to drive loyalty, retention, and revenue. Where operations and resources are widely distributed across large areas, the overarching service management challenge for field service managers is to reduce cost while providing a full, seamless customer experience. Everything from rising operating costs to ever increasing fuel costs conspires to break the bank.
In my experience, here are the top three service management challenges facing today’s field service leaders:
Changing customer demands for in-home service
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.
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 engineer engagement
As front-line soldiers for the company and for the brand, field engineers play an integral part in both service and sales. Disengaged field engineers therefore often pose one of the most considerable service management challenges for field service operations managers.
Field service leaders must understand the needs of their field service technicians and make sure they satisfy those needs. 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.
Mobility is pervasive and in the hands of today’s service customers, mobility means 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 appointment booking to achieving and maintaining consistency across increasingly diverse channels. In the coming months and years, I anticipate the sense of “instant gratification” encouraged by technology enablement to become universal. And in turn, I expect service companies will meet these service management challenges by relying more and more on technology to help them serve customers and secure a competitive edge.