Maintaining Customer Satisfaction with a Remote Field Service Workforce

Jul 30, 2019 • FeaturesCoresystemsFuture of FIeld Servicemanuel grenacherremote servicefield servicefield service techniciansInternet of ThingsIoTSAPService EngineerService ManagementCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

In today’s society whereas consumer’s we are becoming increasingly used to and expectant of instant results is an obvious challenge for field service organisations but can remote services help bridge the gap? Manuel Grenacher, CEO, Coresystems discusses...

With the pervasiveness of the Internet of Things (IoT), everything from device performance to customer interactions has become faster and more connected. Devices that require maintenance and repair now operate on an accelerated timeline of immediately notifying the user when service is needed. Because of this, customers expect real-time responses, leaving little to no time for a field service technician to travel to the site, troubleshoot the issue and fix the device. Therefore, to maintain and improve customer satisfaction, technicians are exploring ways to provide the same level of onsite, but while remote.

The idea behind remote technicians stems from the technician’s ability to diagnose a problem, determine possible solutions, and lay out a plan for issue resolution - all before they take one step onto the worksite. In a perfect world, remote technicians essentially only have to leave their workstations once to perform tasks that require a high level of skill, or perhaps not at all for routine maintenance and repair. Naturally, this drastically cuts down the amount of travel cost and time and total project duration needed to solve an issue with a customer’s device, streamlining the entire service request from issue detection to resolution.

Field service technicians no longer need to blindly infer what is happening on the broken device based on descriptions from less experienced users, nor do they need to fumble through repair instructions over the phoneField service technicians no longer need to blindly infer what is happening on the broken device based on descriptions from less experienced users, nor do they need to fumble through repair instructions over the phone. Indeed, the remote technician takes full advantage of tools such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and even the IoT itself to deliver the same experience as a technician standing in front of the customer would.

So how does it work? It starts with putting the proper infrastructure in place to allow technicians to troubleshoot issues on devices and machines from afar. Taking issue detection as an example, remote technicians can use augmented reality to share a mobile phone screen with a customer for a visual walkthrough of the issue. From there, the remote technician can schedule an onsite appointment if needed and manage the parts orders needed for specific projects, ensuring all the necessary assets are in place well in advance.

To be fair, managing a workforce of remote technicians is no easy task. In order to optimize your field service operations, it is extremely beneficial to be able to automatically assign the most qualified and available technician for respective service requests, taking into account expertise, location, and availability. As a fail-safe, the onsite technicians should have easy access to online product specifications and other assets needed to complete service requests. Additionally, similar to how remote technicians use augmented reality to connect to the customer for issue detection, on-site technicians can connect to more experienced journeyman technicians back at headquarters to troubleshoot unforeseen issues. This creates a network of knowledge that will keep project duration to a minimum, improving efficiency for the technician while onsite.

The way in which field service technicians work has evolved and is continuing to do so. The next generation of technicians are prioritizing independence, autonomy, and flexibility, on top of foundational knowledge and customer service experience. As the IoT continues to grow, so will the need for remote technicians, and the field service industry assuredly has the infrastructure to maintain the high level of customer satisfaction that we strive for today.

What are your experiences experimenting with a more remote field service workforce? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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