Crowd Service Takes Field Service to a New Level

Jun 26, 2019 • FeaturesSoftware & Appscrowdsourcingmanuel grenacherSAPSoftware and Apps

Manuel Grenacher, GM of SAP Service Cloud looks at why field service organisations are increasingly recognizing the potential benefits of the crowdsourcing model within a field service context...

Crowdsourcing is an established trend in the workplace, although primarily known from industries such as software engineering, rideshare platforms or finance in the form of crowdfunding.

However, companies in field service are increasingly recognizing the benefits of this collaboration model for their business strategy. Amongst some of the advantages are a faster processing of service orders or improved customer satisfaction to name just a few.
But why exactly should companies jump on the crowd service bandwagon?

Build a strong ecosystem with skilled partners

By establishing a crowd service concept in their field service management, companies can add as many external technicians to their talent pool as they require in addition to their internal technicians – sourced from its partners and subsidiaries to freelancers.

That way, they create an ecosystem of certified experts performing simple tasks such as installing standardized machines and equipment or replacing cables, but also solving complex issues with specially configured systems or according software. In that case, it is of paramount importance that this expert knowledge is digitally recorded.

    "Crowdsourcing is an established trend in the workplace..."

With the support of a partner ecosystem, companies can increase the capacity of their workforce as well as expand their geographical coverage. This is particularly helpful in remote areas or certain countries where it does not make sense to have a full-time employee on standby waiting for service calls or in areas with high demand where companies do not have the capacity to respond to service requests fast enough.  Moreover, it gives flexibility despite high volatility in demand and peak times.

Finally, companies can expand their knowledge pool. This is especially important for very specific maintenance and repair tasks of old equipment at a time when highly qualified specialists are becoming rare or they are already retired.

Accelerate the completion of service orders
After having received a service call, the artificial intelligence-based crowd service tool can match the most suitable and qualified technician from the pool with the specific service request. The technicians are selected based on their location, availability and work schedules, required skills and additional criteria that companies can determine individually.

Afterwards, the system sends a request to the technician’s mobile device. The expert can then accept the service job and receive all the information needed for the tasks in the application. Once the assigned tasks have been completed, the technicians receive a fixed payment for their job – and customers can rate the performance the same way they would rate a driver working for a ride-share provider.

Transform customers to fans
So, what is the biggest advantage of crowd service? The improved customer experience for your clients, of course. Benefiting from a larger pool of technicians, companies can respond to service requests faster and reduce the waiting time for their customers.

Moreover, sending the most suitable technician to the job that needs to be done leads to a higher service quality, boosts your first-time fix rate and, therefore, leads to minimized downtimes of mission critical machines and equipment.

This is the decisive moment in customer service: companies need to help their customers to achieve their business goals despite machine or equipment failures.

In return, customers will reward companies with their loyalty.

Manuel Grenacher is GM of SAP Service Cloud.