Connecting Consumers: Great field service is more than just better visibility

Apr 17, 2018 • FeaturesArtificial intelligenceMobileOPtimizationIntegrated Contractor ManagementSamir GulatiservicepowerSoftware and AppsCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

Samir Gulati, Chief Marketing Officer with ServicePower joins the exclusive ranks of Field Service News associate columnists and in his first article explains why in a world of increasing customer demands field service delivery needs to be the platform from which you wow your customers...

Customers expect more from today’s service providers. In a service environment where consumers are connected to the internet and each other 24 hours a day, they expect the same connectivity and instant response from companies they do business with. Consider the popular pizza tracker technology.

We’ve seen the technology cheekily called a baby monitor for pizza. Who among us hasn’t watched the tracker move in the right direction, just to stall right before the pizza is due to be delivered, leaving us disappointed, anxious and hungry?

Though pizza has little in common with complex field service operations, the tracker concept is very applicable.

Though pizza has little in common with complex field service operations, the tracker concept is very applicable.Consumers today expect to have full access to your services. Field service technology with supports the entire service lifecycle, from entitlement to completion is so important in today’s environment given those expectations. Consumers expect to be able to schedule a service or maintenance event whenever, and on whatever device is convenient to them, just like ordering a pizza. Enabling your customers to digitally engage with you operational teams, faster and in a smarter way, is a critical first step to building brand loyalty and increasing future revenues.

Providing visibility, just like that pizza tracker, is also now expected by consumers. Digitally booking a service event, to your employed or contracted workforce, is the first step in a faster, smarter service experience for your consumers.

Providing visibility to the appointment, the tech’s schedule and his or her location on the day or service not only improves customer satisfaction by delivering complete transparency related to the service event, it reduces costs for your organization by eliminating phone calls that historically would have occurred related to the appointment. The latest field service management technology can also enable customers to do more. It provides the ability to review new services and product offers based on asset ownership and service history, while also enabling techs and consumers to communicate directly.

Better than the traditional call ahead while en route, or a dial on a screen showing location only, consumers can upload pictures and other information related to their service event such that techs are better prepared to arrive and complete the service event while onsite.

Pizza tracker technology delivers updates based on preprogrammed timing and a series of predefined events, with very little engagement from the actual delivery drivers. That’s not good enough in field service. Field service is complex. Better visibility for the consumer is great. It’s the first step in providing faster, smarter service. However, it’s only the last mile of great service delivery.

Smart field service technology better supports complex field service delivery models.The miles in between matter just as much.  Smart field service technology better supports complex field service delivery models. It enables technicians to be scheduled with the skills and required parts to complete a consumer’s service order on time. It provides the tech with product information, repair information, and access to expert resources, even AI-based digital assistants which can define how to fix a certain product using available information, versus having the tech swipe through pages of documentation on a device to find a solution.

Field service technology delivers a great customer experience because it enables your field techs to connect to your customers throughout the entire service lifecycle, delivering service in a smarter way.

For the operational teams, the pizza tracker seems to do little else than automate the order, eliminating phones calls to the store. In field service, complex operations require robust, often AI-based technology, to deliver great service beginning with entitlement. Field service technology is the foundation on which service delivery technology is built, enabling each to manage complex processes and engage employed or contracted technicians and consumers in a smarter way, to deliver faster, more complete service using a single field service solution.

AI schedule optimization drives productivity, no doubt. Unlike the pizza tracker which can take a single input, an order, and deliver a single output, the delivery status, AI can be used in field service to harness a multitude of inputs related to consumer requirements, tech skills, and other hard and soft constraints, while also incorporating the latest in mapping and location technologies, to deliver a schedule which reduces operational costs, but which also improves service delivery, ensuring techs arrive on time, with the parts and knowledge needed to complete the service event.

Integrated contractor management solutions can ensure a similarly seamless service experience using contracted labour. Mobile technology can support full onsite processes, ensuring smarter, faster on-site service delivery.

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