For any field service organisation there is often one simple key objective, to deliver excellent customer service whilst working as effectively as possible.
However, we are working in a market place where both economic pressures and customer demands have risen to greater levels than possibly ever before and sometimes it may seem like this ‘simple’ objective is becoming increasingly unachievable. Yet at the same time we are seeing technology at our disposal moving forward in quantum leaps, as we witness technologies emerge that can and will literally change the shape of the field service industry as we know it.
Multi-person video conferencing enabled by increasing mobile internet speeds is now a common place reality when not so long ago it was the domain of science fiction. The field engineer facing on site who doesn’t have the requisite knowledge to deliver a first time is now able to access a wealth of information and advice direct from his handset, he can see where the nearest parts he requires are and if their not readily available he can order them and schedule the appointment with Mr. Bloggs there and then. (First of course checking that Mr. Bloggs account has the correct privileges and if he doesn’t than the engineer can is perfectly placed to up-sell!!)
Then there is the Cloud… Many of the initial fears around cloud based computing, a large number of companies were hesitant to move business functions into the cloud with security worries at the top of the list of peoples reasons for hesitancy, are now being allayed and the reality is that cloud technologies offer an incredible opportunity for the service industry.
If having fast mobile devices is the key, then having knowledge bases, communications platforms and even central systems in the cloud, is the door that opens the way into a whole new world of service excellence.
Even better, unlike the majority of technologies, which are prohibitively expensive when they first emerge, the cloud is in fact the opposite. Suddenly expensive and complex service management systems that were once the exclusive domain of the enterprise organization are now available as Software as a Service, bringing the cost per person down in some cases to under $100 a head.
In a period of continuing economic uncertainty, where Service is a major battle field in all manner of industries, the combination of ever improving mobile data speeds and cloud computing is a clear example of how technology is changing the shape of the industry today.
Of course, not every company is able to or indeed should invest in every new piece of technology and software that comes along. Indeed what is cutting edge today could well be obsolete within a few short years, and no matter where we see similarities in service departments, and we see them in wide and diverse industries, the simple truth is no one service story can ever be the same. Companies, like individuals require a solution that is geared just for them.
However, having an understanding of the technologies available and the advantages they may bring to your service department is a core responsibility of every field service manager.
It’s vital that field service managers understand what the options available to them are, whilst taking the time to understand their own needs and weaknesses and then find the system or systems that are fit for purpose
There is plenty of good information out there (including of course this very website!) and another source of good and refreshingly impartial advice is Service Max’s new ebook “A Definitive Guide to Modern Field Service Management”. Which we are very pleased to be able to offer to you for free when you subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter.
Drawing on research from Gartner, Aberdeen, The Service Council and Forrester as well as a real life case study this ebook gives insightful and concise advice on how technologies such as cloud, SaaS, big data and analytics, smart phones and tablets and optimised scheduling engines can be brought together to empower organisations to adopt a fully 360° view of the service they deliver.