The Potential Downsides of a Remote First Approach to Field Service (podcast highlights)

Nov 16, 2020 • FeaturesDigital TransformationSalesforceThe Field Service PodcastCovid-19Remote Services

Salesforce's Gary Brandeleer and Field Service News' Kris Oldland discuss potential downsides to adopting a remote first-approach to service delivery and explore the potential for a hybrid model that blends on-site and remote service...


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In a recent exclusive white paper authored by Field Service News Editor-in-Chief, Kris Oldland, we explored a number of different aspects of the emerging conversation centred around the importance of remote first service delivery.

The white paper looked at a number of different facets of that discussion including the technology and tools required to make sure we're delivering remote service effectively and also looking at some of the pros and cons of adopting a remote first by default approach both for the service customer and the service provider.

However, as this is a fairly embryonic conversation that has only recently gained significant traction as we see a huge host of companies beginning to embrace remote service delivery as a direct result of the pandemic, Oldland invited Salesforce’s Gary Brandeleer to join him on the Field Service Podcast to hear his insight and to learn from his direct experience. With Brandeleer and his colleagues at Salesforce having helped so many organisations through digital transformation journeys, it was also an excellent opportunity to disseminate some of the thinking that goes on alongside that.

In the above excerpt from that podcast, the two begin discussing some of the nuances within the conversation, particularly looking at the challenges of remote service delivery and also the potential loss of benefits to having the field service engineer on site for the service organisation.

For example, it has long been said that the field service engineer is the eyes and ears of the organisation and their being on site could be a significant loss from the service providers side of the equation.


"I think that's an interesting discussion to have because I really think that there is going to be this hybrid model..."
- Gary Brandeleer, Salesforce


“So there is an idea of the loss of the trusted advisor to consider that is for sure,” begins Brandeleer.

“Before, your trusted advisor was really just a technician on site, now I have a feeling that we will see this decrease a bit, but it's a balance. Companies must decrease that approach of having 100% of that trusted advisor relationship with the technician. Now, the balance may be 50% of that trusted relationship is done through contact on site, but 50% of that relationship is now built with the back office,” he explains.

“I think that's where this loss of the trusted advisor will be covered by other things,” Brandeller adds.

However, what about the issue from the other side of the equation, what value to the service provider lose in not having someone on-site, with a captive and attentive audience of the customer?

“I think there is nothing better than having someone on site to actually look at if there are other devices that the service provider could also service. Having a subject matter expert on there to interpret and understand how the site is working, what is the criticality of an asset against the whole system and the whole operation of the customer?

Indeed, it does seem that there are arguments in either way to the advantages of remote service delivery and on-site both for the customer and the service provider.

“Companies are getting these kind of quick fixes done via remote assistance, which is really helping on uptime,” Brandeleer muses. “However, some customers may say, Well, that was a quick fix that you did for me remotely and yes the device is fixed, but it seems like you need to send someone anyway. So when really is my problem really going to be completely fixed?”

“I think that's an interesting discussion to have because I really think that there is going to be this hybrid model where the first quick fix is done remotely – for example it could be like your pipe leaking. It might be quite annoying right now. Well, you, you do the quick fix of putting tape literally around the pipe and say, okay, for now shut down the machine, keep it like this, we will be on-site very fast.

“So somehow, yes, the leak was fixed, but it was a quick fix and now you need to really need to have someone on-site. So how can you add this discussion with customers where you say, okay, we really solve your problem completely, and when was the problem really considered as fixed completely?

“I think that's where the only way to have this kind of discussion is always going back to data.”


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