Having explored some of the ground breaking new tools being used in field service including crowd service and Augmented Reality in his recent articles, Manuel Grenacher, CEO Coresystems now explores how video assistance can be used to great effect in improving field service delivery...
The outlook for the growth of the field service market is hugely positive, with predictions noting the field service industry will nearly triple in size to $5.11 billion by 2020.
Following on from my previous articles in Field Service News, several modern technologies are playing a major role in driving that exponential growth, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) solutions. Another trend – or rather an overarching one that IoT and AR innovations both tie into – is the rising importance of video.
In addition to AR, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), new tools are emerging that make it possible to more directly involve service technicians, specialists and experts in field service operations, even if they are not on site.
Any provider of field services understands the frustration of having to comprehend a complex problem without a proper visual perspective of the issue at hand. Any provider of field services understands the frustration of having to comprehend a complex problem without a proper visual perspective of the issue at hand. With a verbal description (and perhaps an attempt to recreate strange sounds emanating from a malfunctioning device), a service technician is expected to diagnose the problem and magically offer tips on how to repair it.
When information cannot be transferred and made accessible to field service technicians on-the-go, this limits their ability to offer first-time fixes. With the rapidly increasing pace our lifestyles, consumption habits and mindsets, this is an issue because we are expected to be quicker, connected and digitalized.
The consequence is dissatisfied customers who face lost revenue due to extended system downtime.
Video assistance uses the tools available – like mobile devices – to provide images of devices in need of repair or even virtual spaces where service technicians can congregate to solve an issue. Companies can minimize errors, increase efficiency and speed up field services by, for example, uploading instructional videos and manuals and checklists for facilitating repairs.
Field service technicians can refer to these guides if they are unable to solve a problem on their own. This is a real help for service technicians who might be less familiar at repairing unique problems.
In addition to the growing complexity of service offerings, the aging workforce is one of the top challenges within the field service industry, according to the Aberdeen Group.
As this highly skilled workforce approaches retirement age, service managers are now faced with the risk of losing a vast source of knowledge that will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.
Modern video tools would make it possible for seasoned service technicians to play an active role in the company while also determining their own schedules.That is because these service technicians have not only gone through years of training but have also acquired immeasurable experience on the job – and this is experience that can often only be amassed firsthand and on site with clients.
Modern video tools would make it possible for seasoned service technicians to play an active role in the company while also determining their own schedules. This would ensure that their valuable expertise and know-how is available to a new and novice pool of service technicians.
Moving towards video is relatively simple and cost-effective to apply, and promises increased customer satisfaction, higher revenues, lower costs and overall maximized efficiency. Given video’s integral role in our day-to day activities (YouTube, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Live and other media), it is surprising that more companies offering field services have not yet integrated video technology into their business models. Surely a tool as ubiquitous as video – connecting people, providing access to endless information and entertainment – is a vital tool for providing more effective service.
Video-connected field service technicians have access to a vast wealth of information, which could help them find answers to complex questions or seek out expert advice from colleagues.
These tools also facilitate communication and collaboration across the entire company, which means field service technicians have access to real-time updates.
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