As another year draws to a close, this is the perfect time to evaluate the new technologies and trends in field service solutions. We saw a lot happen in 2015, the most transformative change was the broad adoption of field service mobile solutions. Over the course of 2015, field service software rose as the differentiator between mediocre and superior service organizations by increasing first time fix rates, reducing mean time to repair, and decreasing customer wait times (if you still aren’t using mobile, you may want to start here). Now that 2016 is upon us, let’s take a look at the hot technology trends that will be driving field service even further into the future.
Internet of Things (IOT) & the Internet of Everything
A lot of field service trends for 2016 were already introduced in 2015, but have yet to be fully adopted or incorporated into the budget for many service organizations. This new year will give way to even more talk about the “Internet of Things” – and it won’t just be buzz. I’ll spare you the definition of IOT and will put it this way – how much easier would it be if the radiation equipment, in every hospital, could run a self-diagnostic check and notify a technician before a staff member even notices a glitch? Many devices can now detect and flag issues before a human may know, saving both time and money. This trend also extends to appointment scheduling. With smart appliance technology, customers don’t have to interact with a call center to schedule an appointment. The smart appliances can auto-schedule repairs and notify the customer to confirm the appointment. When it comes time for the appointment, the customer can be alerted by text when the technician is 30 minutes out. These customers will be 10 times happier than those who have to schedule service the ‘old fashioned’ way. Self-diagnosing of machine issues makes call centers and service organizations proactive, not reactive, leaving time for the actual work to get done.[i] Moving to self-diagnosing machines will be a hot field service trend in 2016 for businesses that wish to increase efficiency.
Ok – that’s still pretty advanced. What if you just want to reduce hardware for field technicians when they’re out on the job? Smart watches and smart gear could be the way your organization gets involved with IOT this year, with more and more organizations opting into the wearables trend for a more hands-free service experience.[ii]
Cloud Solution adoption is Growing
The advent of cloud computing, has changed the way organizations function and businesses are adopting cloud strategies at record rates. Less expensive and easier to implement, cloud-based service scheduling solutions are the way of the future and definitely a hot field service trend for 2016. With that being said, organizations need to know what options are out there by researching what’s best for their company. Cloud-based workforce management software that can incorporate every aspect of the service chain into one solution will take center stage in 2016. This ‘one stop shopping’ experience is crucial to customer satisfaction, making it a hot functionality that service organizations want to incorporate in 2016.
Even though cloud technology will reach record adoption rates in the coming year, there are still concerns about mobile security threats. The fact of the matter remains, if you’re field technicians and administrators of the solutions are not trained properly on IT security and don’t deploy appropriate security measures, there will be a threat no matter the type of solution. In 2015, there were significant advances in Mobile Application Management (MAM) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) security technology. Whether you are looking at a BYOD program or company-owned mobile program, the technology to secure your mobile devices is available. Be sure to get your team up to speed once you decide which way to go, and make sure they understand the repercussions if they decide to go against protocol.
Customer Service Centric Strategies
A comprehensive service scheduling software should be able to manage the customer lifecycle from beginning to end – starting with customer inquiries and ending with completed service and satisfied customers. As mentioned above, service providers need to keep customers in mind at every point of their process. Incorporating the right software to seamlessly integrate all data points will ensure full customer visibility and quality service.
The Field Service Customer Lifecycle
In 2016 – organizations should strive to adopt or improve their current workforce management solutions through bold steps that align service policies with the needs and desires of their customers. One example of this comes from the security side of field service. Think of yourself as a consumer who is waiting for a service call, at your home, during the hours of 2:00-4:00pm. A field technician named ‘Jim’ is set to arrive; however you don’t have his number, know what he looks like, or know what to expect from the service call. It makes for an anxious experience from the customer’s point of view, as they wait for a stranger to enter their home. Now, take this same scenario, but instead apply technology. What if an email or text message was sent that enabled the customer to track ‘Jim’s’ time of the arrival, his service rating based on other customer feedback, and his picture, to put their mind at ease? These types of service experiences increase customer loyalty as well as customer satisfaction; service organizations looking to attain 90% customer satisfaction ratings must take this next step in 2016.
Another year calls for another re-evaluation of your service organization’s past performance. Take your data, analyze it, and make big changes in 2016. Technology is always moving, and by staying informed of the trends in service scheduling software, field service enterprises will be well equipped for healthy growth & profit beyond the new year.
If you would like to discuss the 2016 field service trends further, try our ROI calculator for a custom assessment of field service software costs and savings.
[ii] Source: http://blogs.clicksoftware.com/index/tag/wearables/