ARCHIVE FOR THE ‘localz’ CATEGORY
There used to be an adage in business when it came to dealing with suppliers that jokingly went along the lines of “I only want one throat to choke.”
The idea was that if an organisation was providing you with a service, it was preferable to have just one touchpoint with them, one human at the end of the phone who understood the entirety of the relationship. One vendor who could provide the hardware, the software and of course all the services required to make that then all work.
However, today this concept seems somewhat antiquated, particularly amongst larger organisations. In a world of increasing connectivity and APIs, the prevalent thinking is more along the lines of “I want whatever you have to work with what I have.”
Best-of-breed solutions are once again returning to the fore to resolve specific challenges, often challenges that have arisen as the result of the disruptive nature of emerging technology we have witnessed in recent times and the ripple effect that disruption has on service across many varied and disparate industry verticals.
This development has led to a new wave of innovative companies rising to prominence within the field service sector. These include ‘Last Mile’ solution provider Localz who have already garnered an impressive roster of clients including DPD, Belron and UK utilities giant British Gas. The latter even having showcased their use of Localz technology as a major USP in their most recent high profile advertising campaign.
Localz is a perfect example of an organisation that has been able to identify an essential gap in the current field service management ecosystem that has been exposed by developments outside of the sector. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and fix parts that weren’t necessarily broken in the first place, they’ve instead focused on providing a well thought out, easily implemented and effective solution for an important but somewhat overlooked part of the service cycle.
“We’re not here to change the world for field service companies; we are not going to make you change everything you already have. We are here to help you quickly get big cost savings and massively improve your customer experience by simply plugging in our location based day of service software,” comments Tim Andrew, CEO Localz.
Of course, the twenty-first century has so far been the century of data. We have seen field service companies make a concerted effort across the board to knock down the silos between divisions to allow data to flow seamlessly across an organisation to enable them to attain the once fabled, but now commonplace 360-degree view of the customer.
This trend has played well into the hands of the major platforms who could facilitate this by offering multiple functionalities within their suite of solutions. SAP, IFS, Microsoft and others have all championed the benefits of the platform approach for this reason.
As is the cyclical nature of such things, it is often outside of the restrictions of enterprise providers, that we see innovation flourish and thrive. It is a well established pattern of evolution and consolidation that those of us in the field service sector with more than a few flecks of grey in our beards will recognise.
However, the difference between today and previous years is the prevalence of APIs and the increasing ease of integration, which allows a solution like Localz to plug-in on top of a broader system and deliver the impressive level of last-mile communications and visibility that British Gas has harnessed so effectively.
“Connectivity is the big thing,” explains Andrew as we discuss how technology development has evolved in the last decade.
“It’s also important for technology providers to realise they need to switch the model on how the technology works. Smarter providers have stopped putting themselves in the centre. Customers’ don’t want to hear about a solution that is the centre of their operation; they have already invested significantly in many solutions and established efficient processes that broadly work well. Now they want to improve; they want to see how we add value to what they’ve already invested in.”
"The twenty-first century has so far been the century of data..."
The solution itself can be described in a sense as Uber for Field Service in that there is a very slick visual representation for the end customer to see the engineer arriving.
There is also, other useful technology within the solution, including scan to van stock management, which can be a game changer for the P&L of some companies struggling to cope with the constant movement of spares. However, it is in its ability to allow field service companies to deliver a service experience that has become an expectation in the age of Amazon and Uber, that Localz grabs the headlines.
This is mostly because it is addressing an issue that many service companies, whether it be a giant like British Gas is universal, or a niche SMB are facing - customer expectations and understandings of what ‘good’ service looks like are evolving rapidly.
“Something I touch on quite a lot is that customers are more informed across the board today,” explains Andrew
“Whether it be in a B2C, B2B or even a B2E environment, we’re all just universally more informed today as such customer expectations are radically increased. Also, the ability to switch providers, especially in the consumer world, is becoming easier and easier. I don’t need to speak to somebody; I literally can go on a website and choose from A, B, and C and get better service.”
The term that has risen to popularity over the last eighteen months in this regard is the ‘experience economy’ where customer satisfaction is no longer enough, we have to consider and understand the total customer experience to deliver customer delight. With this in mind, tools like Localz have become an essential part of the field service equation as they play a significant role in meeting the modern expectations of that service experience.
As Andrew touched on, this experience economy, these increasing customer expectations, have begun to break down the barriers of what we would traditionally define as business to business or business to consumer service standards.
The impact of disruptors, such as Uber and Amazon, is being felt wide and far beyond transport and e-commerce, it’s become ubiquitous across all industries.
“It’s definitely becoming that way,” Andrew agrees as we touch on how the lines across bB2C and B2B appear to be blurring.
“Service expectations especially around visibility and communication on the day of the service call are fast becoming table stakes in B2B, but I think we’re going to see it in B2B soon enough as well.”
If indeed the zeitgeist of the early twenty-first century, in the field service sector at least, is one of seamless service experience, then tools like Localz could very quickly become an essential addition to any field service organisation’s technology sector.
From Singapore to Sweden and from California to Coventry and everywhere in between - where there has been an opportunity to learn more about developments in field service we’ve been there. As such we’ve spoken to more field service management professionals and field service solution providers than anyone else on the planet and we think we’ve a pretty good idea of what the solutions the industry is most keen to see and the companies that have emerged to deliver the solutions that meet those needs.
So without further a do here is our list of three of the best new solution providers service the Field Service Sector who have really impressed us across the last 12 months...
You can’t go to a conference, not just in field service, but in any sector and avoid the term Uberization. Within our sector alone there has been endless articles, white papers and presentations on how to ‘Uberize’ field service. Half of these are just focused on what the hell Uberization means in the first place.
Well a good place to start is implementing Localz, which can act like a plug in to go on top of whichever flavour of FSM or scheduling tool you have and deliver a very cool end customer interface that allows them to see the ETA of your engineer on route across the last mile.
Localz is capable of a ton of other stuff all centred around ‘Last Mile Communications’ but this really is the Uberization of Field Service many have called out for and with an implementation of weeks it is little wonder the have already secured some very high profile clients like British utilities giant British Gas. Localz can be as lightweight as a plug-in and delivers exactly what the market has been asking for in a brilliant way.
When Google Glass first came around everyone in the field service sector rushed to embrace it. All the Field Service Management Software guys raced to get the first App developed for it and there were loads of reports of companies doing beta trials everywhere.
Why? Because Hands Free working in field service just makes a massive ton of sense.
However, ultimately as we know the idea was great the technology not so much. And whilst there have been some very good alternatives coming onto the market in the field service sector for a while now, nothing has dominated because the price point for entry is just so high companies are uncertain if they will see a quick ROI if any at all.
Enter Mira who have the potential to absolutely dominate in the sector through a simple, well thought out and smartly designed headset that takes advantage of the fact that pretty much every engineer has a phone in their pocket.
Their headset allows a phone to be placed into the frame, much like the gaming VR headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Daydream but also gives the user visibility of the real world through a clear display.
The headset itself is exceptionally well thought out and you can see the team behind this product come from a design background - little touches like easily attaching to standardised hard hats for PPE compliance are testament to this. Similarly, as the headset is literally powered by your engineers existing smartphone there is no additional MDM concerns. A low cost, yet effective way to implement AR today.
Sticking with Augmented Reality, the last company on the list is Augmentir, who come with a very strong pedigree and a very neat approach to things.
At first glance, you may be forgiven for thinking that Augmentir are just another of the many Augmented Reality providers that have suddenly noticed the potential in the field service market. However, scratch the service and you will see that there is actually quite a lot more to them than that.
The first thing to pay attention to is who is behind this brand. It is the same team that previously developed ThingWorx, which was ultimately sold to PTC and became the backbone of their IoT solution and recognised as an industry leading solution. They were also responsible for Wonderware which statistically almost two-thirds of our readers from the manufacturing sector will already be using. So when these guys rend to turn their hands to something they have a pretty good track record of getting it right.
However, the really interesting thing about Augmentir is that they’ve gone far beyond the initial approach that many of their peers are offering when it comes to Augmented Reality (AR) and dived straight into an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered approach. In their own words they position themselves as ‘the first software platform built on Artificial Intelligence in the world of the augmented or connected worker.’
This could be a significant game changer in terms of AR being used in field service because it takes the technology beyond its initial use case and into something far, far more useful by leveraging another exciting technology in AI directly alongside it. In fact, as their VP Marketing Chris Kuntz told us they are “a 100% AI first company” who have just been smart enough to realise that AR is the interface that makes most sense for modern field service operations.
Powered by Localz technology, British Gas’ new “On my way” platform is helping keep its position as the leading energy supplier in the UK.
Powered by Localz technology, British Gas’ new “On my way” platform is helping keep its position as the leading energy supplier in the UK.
Localz “On my way” Solution enables British Gas’ engineers to send one-click on the way notifications to their next customer. Customers receive SMS or landline phone call notifications with a real-time ETA and live map tracking. These notifications also support two way communication, allowing the customer to message or call their engineer back with important information, further reducing chase calls into the contact centre. The solution is being used by 7,000 British Gas service and repair engineers. The increase in their first time access rate has enabled British Gas to achieve its goal of delivering best in class customer service as the leading energy supplier in the UK.
“The utilities industry is currently in a transition from a commodities business to a services industry. Today’s customers are becoming accustomed to services that are centred around their convenience and experience. Companies such as Uber and Amazon Prime have created new benchmarks for service. By implementing Localz technology, British Gas is meeting and delighting customers with new levels of real-time communications,” said Technology & Innovation, British Gas. “The Localz solution is a vital part in helping us as our organisation grows.”
Life is connected and impatient. Localz solution is a field service solution that enables enterprise to manage and communicate in real-time by integrating technicians, customers and technology. Smart real-time location, tracking and messaging addresses customer service demand for ‘uber- like’ comms and empowers the field team to take control.
Localz Contact information:
Localz Contact information:
Tristan Smith -
Phone: (+44) 2080 498320
Luis Ortega -
Address: 3951 Higuera Street,Office 5, Culver City CA 90232
Phone:(+1) 805 657 3253
Justine Coleman -
Address: 134 Little Lonsdale Street,Melbourne,Victoria 3000
Phone: (+61) 3 8899 6916
Services provided by Localz:
- Smart messaging and location technology that meets consumer demands for constant real-time updates and 'uber-style' real-time tracking;
- Intuitive apps for the mobile workforce simplify the day of service, providing oversight of each customer’s job details, vehicle inspection and instant accident reporting;
- A one-click “on my way” button enables the technician to send an accurate, real-time ETA SMS when on route to their next customer;
- A management dashboard enables office-based staff or call-centres to have visibility of technicians locations with live status of their jobs.
All about Localz:
Localz takes the communication complexity out of on the day service, providing businesses with mobile workforce solutions to deliver a frictionless last mile customer experience. ‘Uberised’ consumers expect real-time transparency and control with the Localz operational platform enables real-time tracking of the service technician, accurate ETAs and two-way communication and the Localz “on my way” messaging increases customer satisfaction and first time access rates.
The Localz platform is currently being used by the RAC, DPD, OVO Energy, Autoglass, Safelite, Woolworths and British Gas.
Latest video from Localz:
At this week's Housing 2019 event in Manchester, location and mobile technology experts, Localz, talked about the impact of the IConomy to the field service industry. In this article Localz explains how the field service industry can utilise...
At this week's Housing 2019 event in Manchester, location and mobile technology experts, Localz, talked about the impact of the IConomy to the field service industry. In this article Localz explains how the field service industry can utilise mobile technology to deliver “uber” style housing repairs and deliver frictionless customer services in the fourth industrial revolution.
The instant revolution
Consumers are sick and tired of impersonalised and inflexible services which do not fit into their routine. They want to be able to schedule an appointment that fits into their schedule and be able to track and adjust it in realtime. eBay, Deliveroo and Uber are all addressing the need for instant booking, tracking and assurance for its customers. These companies are putting the customer at the centre of its service, giving them control, reassurance and convenience and overall building trust. They are setting the benchmark for all industries and now customers are starting to demand the same experiences from every organisation they engage with.
Applying the success from leading brands and incorporating customer and field service engineer pain points, Localz advises on the key steps to ensure frictionless customer experiences in today’s digital age.
- Be digitally available
Providing convenience means being digitally enabled on various platforms, this includes customers being able to book an appointment via a laptop, tablet or smartphone and smartwatch. Alongside device enablement they also want to be able to book an appointment via different means including, email, telephone, on a brands app and in the future via voice recognition. It is vital that you stay on top of the latest technology and ensure you know how your customers want to interact with you.
1. Confirm and reassure
Once an appointment is booked you need to continually remind and reassure your customers that you are coming. It is vital to provide customers with regular updates throughout the appointment life-cycle, from confirmation to receiving the appointment, to a reminder the day before and the morning of including real-time updates of an ETA.
2. “On my way”
On the day of the appointment provide the customer with a real-time location tracker of the service provider so they can check the platform and are deterred from calling the contact centre. If there are going to be any changes to the appointment then the platform can be triggered to automatically provide push updates on the service providers ETA.
British Gas has seen no-access, failed appointments fall by 20% by using “On my way” notifications. Customers are more informed and therefore aren’t forgetting appointments or rescheduling if needed to.
The ‘Find my Engineer’ solution provides the ultimate transparency by giving customers access to real-time location tracking when the operative is en route. Accurate ETAs are provided, which take live traffic conditions into account. Localz own research shows that 65% of consumers say that viewing their service provider’s ETA is the most important feature on a service provider’s mobile app. This is particularly important in the housing sector as the length of appointments can vary greatly. By providing real-time updates enables customers to track the engineer and get on with their day so they are not stuck within the confines of their own home for hours.
4. Empower engineers
It is time that organisations start cutting out the middleman. A real-time operational dashboard needs to be put in place so both the team on the ground and in the office can see live updates of appointments. Engineers will be able to click and see in one touch full details of the job so they can be prepared ahead of each visit.
By enabling for two-way communications between service engineers and the customer will help to streamline appointments. Two-way communications make it easy for customers to tell you and your operatives important information without having to join a call centre queue. Provide contact centre staff with the same transparency and real-time tracking, so they can give a consistent and reliable message if a customer still decides to call.
OVO Energy’s engineers have cited that using two-way communication has an increase in customer satisfaction. By enabling engineers and customers to directly speak to one another it removes the middle man, which can be a frustrating experience for both parties.
5. “Rate Your Service”
One of the key ingredients to successful communication and one that is often forgotten is the power of listening. Asking consumers to “rate” and feedback on the service will lead to consumers feeling important, cared for and if you respond accordingly listened to.
This is something that Uber has done very well. By allowing consumers to rate their driver it not only leads to customers feeling heard but it enables the organisation to increase the safety of the solution.Both outcomes of providing the score is both of importance to the consumer and the company alike. In environments where interactions are frequent and where 'promises' can be fulfilled reliably and repeatedly trust can be established.
To find out more about Localz’s solutions click here.
Housing Associations within the Castleton portfolio will gain insight to their operations and new service transparency to their customers through Localz location technology ‘Find My Engineer’, which tracks an engineer's journey to a job, viewed by the customer.
Ian Stewart, Commercial Sales Manager for Castleton commented: “With an industry average of 20% failed appointments and each failed appointment costing up to £100, it is business critical for Housing Authorities to reduce the time wasted and costs incurred associated with these failed appointments to improve services for social housing customers. Our partnership with Localz will help our customers achieve this objective”.
The ‘Find my Engineer’ solution provides the ultimate transparency by giving customers access to real-time location tracking when the operative is en route. Accurate ETAs are provided, which take live traffic conditions into account. Localz own research shows that 65% of consumers say that viewing their service provider’s ETA is the most important feature on a service provider’s mobile app.
Localz client portfolio includes the largest UK energy provider, British Gas, who achieved a 17% increase in the first-time access rate of their engineers through Localz platform.
“Localz’s exciting new partnership with Castleton demonstrates their continued drive to innovate in the social housing sector. The integration of our “On my way” technology into their leading housing management solutions, provides not only increased productivity savings for their customers but a great customer experience for the tenants also," said Charles Bullock, Partnership Director, Localz.