Is Field Service Adopting Machine Learning and AI?

Feb 12, 2019 • FeaturesFuture of FIeld ServiceEmily HackmanMachine LearningArtificial intelligence

In the second article in our current series of articles from field service solution provider Astea focussing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning we explore how and why field service companies are adopting these emerging tools... 


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There is a lot of buzz around machine learning and AI in the field service industry, but are service organizations actually adopting it? How are they applying the concepts to their business operations? And lastly, what results have they experienced thus far? We turn to some of the predominant service management industry analysts to help answer these questions.

Let’s tackle adoption trends first. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 10% of emergency field service work will be both triaged and scheduled by artificial intelligence, up from less than 1% in 2017. (1)

And by 2022, Gartner predicts that one- third of complex field service organizations will utilize machine learning to predict work duration and/or parts requirements, rising from less than 2% today. (2)

In addition to analyst predictions, another way to look at adoption trends is to ask how many companies plan to deploy machine learning in the near future. In a recent Gartner survey of 50 leading field service organizations, over 25% indicated they had artificial intelligence or machine learning projects planned for the next 12 to 18 months. (2)

Aberdeen Group’s research is in alignment with Gartner’s. According to a recent survey of customer experience management leaders by Aberdeen, only 14% of their organizations were currently using machine learning and only 9% were using AI. Yet 40% of the surveyed companies are planning to deploy machine learning and 34% are planning to deploy AI.

 

Adoption Results:

How have service companies applied intelligent systems to their operations? What have their results been thus far? 

Again we turn to the analysts at Gartner who state that field service companies will use AI and machine learning in their customer service channels to gain better insights, increase self-service and improve productivity.

Specific AI applications in customer service include:

  • Intelligent case management routing and workflow;
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) tooling;
  • Knowledge management;
  • Chatbots, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and natural language processing (NLP);
  • and finally, sentiment analysis and emotional detection in social media.(2)

Customer service appears to be the most popular application thus far for field service, but what other business functions could AI improve? According to Aberdeen, another application is managing the customer experience. Retaining existing clientele is top-of-mind for almost all companies. In fact, companies using cognitive technologies achieve 6.5 times greater year-over-year increase in customer retention rates, compared to all others.(3)

We’ve seen positive results from AI and machine learning when applied to customer service and the customer experience. But can these technologies improve life for your employees, too? 

Striking a balance between positive results for your customers and your employees is a best practice you’ll hear often when reading about cognitive technologies. The early adopters have proven it’s possible. Aberdeen’s research shows that companies using cognitive technologies enjoy 81% greater year-over-year increase in employee engagement. This is a bit of a paradox since in the short-term, some employees will be replaced by robots. Yet, when looking at the big picture it’s clear that the large scale impact of AI and machine learning will be improving employee productivity.(3)

 

Can this lead to financial success as well?

Thus far we’ve discussed positive results for your customers and your employees, but can cognitive technologies help drive financial success also? Absolutely!

Aberdeen’s data shows that companies using cognitive technologies enjoy 36% greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue, compared to All Others. They also attain 63% greater annual improvement in customer lifetime value, compared to others.6

Companies using cognitive technologies enjoy 36% greater YoY increase in annual company revenue. They also attain 63% greater annual improvement in customer lifetime value.

 


 

References::

  1. Robinson, Jim et a “Critical Capabilities for Field Service Management.” Gartner, 27 March 2018.
  2. Huang, Olive et a “Predicts 2019: CRM Customer Service and Support.” Gartner, 13 Dec 2018.
  3. Minkara, Omer. “Cognitive Customer Experience: The Future is Here.” Aberdeen Group, April 2017.
 

Do you want to know more?!

There is a detailed white paper on this topic authored by Emily Hackman and Liron Marcus which is available to fieldservicenews.com subscribers within our premium content library... 


Sponsored by: 

Access White Paper

 Astea

 


Data usage note: By accessing this content you consent to the contact details submitted when you registered as a subscriber to fieldservicenews.com to be shared with the listed sponsor of this premium content who may contact you for legitimate business reasons to discuss the content of this content.