The Pros and Cons of Remote Service Delivery for the Customer

Oct 06, 2020 • FeaturesDigital TransformationSalesforce

So far in this series of excerpts from an exclusive Field Service News white paper sponsored by Salesforce we have looked at why requite service is becoming a necessity for field service organisations as well as the tools needed to offer remote services effectively. Now in the third instalment in this series we look at the pros and cons of remote service delivery for the customer... 

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Understanding Good and Bad of Remote Service Delivery for Field Service Customers

Having established the fundamental pieces of technology required for effective remote service delivery, in previous articles in this series, let us take a moment to look at a couple of positives and negatives of such an approach for the customer.


Pro#1: The Importance of Biosecurity in a Post-Pandemic World

In the short term, this is almost certainly the most significant point for consideration all round.

Quite simply, we are all working together to try to get the world back on track as quickly as possible. Every organisation around the globe is currently evaluating how they can get their business back operating in some capacity while still protecting their staff and also in some cases, their customers as well.

While equally field service organisations may also be doing everything they can to ensure that when their staff go on-site and they aren’t breaking their customers’ bio-security, questions will inevitably be raised when a customer is the third, fourth or even fifth site visit of the day.

Will customers have the right to reject an engineer if they have been on multiple different sites earlier in the day?

Can the service provider vouch for the bio-security of each of those sites which are beyond their control? In the short-term at the very least, pragmatically, a remote-first approach to service delivery would be an advantage for companies getting back on their feet.



Pro#2: The Importance of Uptime vs SLA Response

The second pro of remote service delivery is not a new discussion at all. It is at the very heart of much of the advanced services or servitization discussion. Ultimately, what holds more value to your customer – the costly approach of sending an expert to their site to get things fixed, or getting things up and running, minimising downtime as quickly and as efficiently as possible? In regular times there was a much more balanced debate around this conversation.

If the asset that was down wasn’t mission-critical, then bringing an expert on-site could be an advantage. It could equally be a matter of trust – if one engineer has a relationship with the customer, then that customer may be prepared to wait for the engineer to be available.

The uptime here is less important than the customer’s preference. However, as with the first pro we mentioned, in the short term at least, companies will be looking to get as much of their business operational as possible with as little interruption to their operations. Therefore, the speed in which a remote service approach could offer resolution will be a huge advantage for customers for the duration of the recovery period.



Con#1: The Loss of a Trusted Advisor:

This is, of course, the other side of the coin to the second pro we referenced above. For many service customers, the arrival of a trusted and experienced professional on-site is not just an opportunity to get a problem resolved – it is also an opportunity to further tap into that expertise and ensure you are running your operation as effectively as possible.
It has often been a discussion amongst field service organisations as to how we can leverage the trusted adviser status of our field service engineers.

However, we must also consider this to be a two-way street. Often our customers take far more value away from the service call than the surface level resolution.

For many organisations, the loss of having the ear of a subject matter expert on-site is significant.



Con#2: Delays in Resolution for More Complex Problems:

This second con may at first glance seem counter-intuitive , especially when we consider that the second of our pro’s was a quicker resolution.

However, consider for a moment, that no matter how sophisticated the tools being used by the service provider are, if a problem is particularly complex or unusual, then the fault may never be identified at all. Every service management professional will understand the frustration of the dreaded no-fault-found (NFF) diagnosis – something that can be even harder to identify on an intermittent fault.

However, in a world of remote-first service delivery, it could be a reasonable prediction that NFF percentages may begin to rise. From the customer’s perspective, this means a lengthy remote service call, taking up his resources with no resolution. Potentially, followed by a repeat remote call, this time with a more experienced engineer but still no resolution and then finally an on-site call to diagnose the issue. All the while, the customer is becoming increasingly frustrated as their asset remains down.


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Look out for the next feature in this series coming next week where we explore the Pros and Cons of remote service delivery for the Field Service Provider...

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