Field workforce automation tools such as dynamic resource scheduling and mobile working have had a significant impact on field service, with organisations that have adopted this technology consistently experiencing productivity improvements of 25% or more. However, these tools are not just capable of streamlining the way we currently work, they also provide us with a unique opportunity to do different things. All we need to do is unleash our imagination, says, Laraine Geddes, marketing manager, Kirona
Efficiency drives opportunity
By leveraging the highly sophisticated tools available, field service organisations have the perfect platform from which to expand. Dynamic resource scheduling enables organisations to improve the way they plan and efficiently allocate resources to field based tasks to maximise capacity and minimise non-productive time. Empowering field workers with mobile technology has not just streamlined the way work is allocated to the field, with real-time updates delivered to centralised functions, but it has also equipped the field worker with the tools that make them more effective in the field.
The result is a far more efficient and effective field workforce. This not only has an impact on bottom line profitability, it also presents an opportunity to grow the breadth of and scale of services delivered in a highly profitable manner.
The customer experience
All of the great efforts on driving efficiencies can be lost if field service organisations lose sight of the customer experience. According to Accenture in 2013, 62% of consumers switched service providers due to a poor customer experience, and although not as extreme, it is a similar picture in the B2B world. Customer retention is vital, according to Emmet and Mark Murphy in their book ‘Leading On The Edge of Chaos’, just a 2% increase in customer retention has the same bottom line impact as a 10% reduction in cost.[quote float="left"]All of the great efforts on driving efficiencies can be lost if field service organisations lose sight of the customer experience.Looking at ways to leverage technology to differentiate your customer experience should therefore be a focus of any field service organisation.
Using Dynamic Scheduling to provide customers with convenient appointments, using email and SMS to keep customers informed of when your field worker will arrive are all ways of delivering a great customer experience. But this can go even further, enabling customers to book appointments online, having deliveries scheduled at the time of purchase either within stores or online and enabling field-based workers to schedule follow-up appointments when they are with the customer all adds to the customer experience.
Driving new revenue opportunities
Happy customers present opportunity. When a customer has just received great service they have a far higher propensity to buy. By leveraging the field worker’s mobile device to prompt them with targeted up-sells for that client or customer, such as extended warranties, additional related products or follow-on services opens up the opportunity in a timely manner.
Being able to efficiently schedule resources enables you to offer premium services and SLA’s to your customers, generating additional revenues that you are confidently able to fulfil within your current capacity. This is where analytics is immensely valuable, enabling you to simulate different service offerings and understand in which regions and across which skills these can be provided.
Field Workforce Automation tools provide a fantastic opportunity for organisations to make that leap from being reactive to being proactive. Whether that be simply scheduling proactive tasks to complement reactive work, pushing real-time information to field-based engineers for preventative maintenance they should perform during a scheduled visit or filling any idle slots with proactive visits to customers.[quote float="right"]Field workforce automation tools provide a fantastic opportunity for organisations to make that leap from being reactive to being proactive.
Through driving efficiency in your workforce, you create additional capacity with existing resources, this additional capacity enables you to be proactive, all you need to do is understand how best to utilise this time to have the greatest positive impact on your customers and your business.
Whether you deliver goods, provide a facilities management service, offer field maintenance for business or consumers or deliver field-based professional services such as healthcare, you have an opportunity to be the best in your industry. Creating an efficient field service organisation and providing an exceptional customer experience does not have to be mutually exclusive, in fact, they can be highly complementary.
Ensuring you have the right technology in place to enable you to plan and schedule, to connect your field workers with your centralised systems and to analyse and gain true actionable insight into your operation is key. Using your imagination to use this technology to deliver greater value to customers and create new revenue streams enables you to set your company apart from the competition.