Field service management is a tool that is changing rapidly as new technologies that emerge in the market become the new standard. Experts suggest that by as soon as 2022 around 70% of customer interactions will involve some form of machine learning application, chatbots, or mobile messaging interactive options. It is estimated that by around 2025 more than two-thirds of field service work will be programmed by algorithms, especially where automated scheduling optimization providers are concerned. With the effects of the pandemic leaving more and more people preferring virtual or remote services, these developments are likely to receive a boost.
Many companies have now made the leap, seeing the benefits and adapting to the times. As adoption continues to accelerate, your organization’s field service management needs to adapt to the changing climate in the years to come. Here are a few field service management tips from the experts that you should follow to future-proof your operations and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Optimize Your Field Service Management
Route optimization has become the norm these days and there is a lot to gain from doing it and by doing it effectively. You are able to save money while improving responsiveness at the same time which can, in turn, increase your customer satisfaction. Route optimization is most effective when done together with scheduling optimization, and when you take real-world constraints and add them into the mix. For the best results you need to consider the following aspects in real-time:
- The true availability of technicians
- Possible changes to job status originating from customer requests
- The tools and resources that are required
- The external impacts such as traffic and weather
- Any opportunities to sell or upsell
2. Review Pre-Scheduling
Pre-scheduling is important in order for you and the company to be able to better understand the total field service capacity as opposed to the expected or predicted number of tasks. When you use mathematical, or machine learning optimization for pre-scheduling in conjunction with real-time scheduling it allows you to have more control over your costs and enables you to optimize employee and customer satisfaction.
When back-office systems and customer and employee apps are inspected simultaneously, for example, dispatch software, or chat messaging between clients and employees, optimization is able to greatly improve capacity planning, batch planning, as well as time-slot booking. Your solution should take availability, current contract agreements, labor regulations and a diagnosis of any other important parts into account. Your scheduling and rescheduling should be done in real-time (or as near to it as possible) or even automatically to maximize your efficiency.
3. Invest in Training
There is an increasing need and demand for well-trained technicians and if you have them, how do you hold onto them? If you don’t have them, how do you educate existing staff and, or new generations? It is advisable to start a leadership and training development program for experienced staff members so that they can train or guide less experienced, newer technicians.
In a recent study, it was found that about 69% of next-generation workers expressed that they had a desire for digital access to experts while in the field for additional assistance. It is important to start considering new approaches for knowledge transfer, especially remotely and in real-time so as to provide the best possible services to customers. Tools that cultivate and promote mobile and video collaborations play a critical role in furthering satisfaction.
4. Replace Quotas with Real-Time Data and Responsiveness
Quotas are the typical system used to maximize workforce productivity and work perfectly in an ideal world. In the real world, there are ever-changing conditions that make meeting these quotas quite difficult. Traffic, changing weather conditions, and other outside influences all play a role in the success of an employee reaching their quota.
To mitigate these issues you should use predictive analytics to respond to the more unexpected variables. An example of responsive field service management is using analytics to identify when the optimal windows of time for customer visits are.
5. Have a Change Management Plan
Fear of loss of predictability is what makes people want to hold on to old methods. If you are looking to adopt new technology, it is important that you don’t just do it for the sake of it. You need to ensure that your team is on board with the change and that they are trained up for it.
Employee and customer satisfaction is more important than ever before and is compounded with the desire and need to reduce costs and carbon dioxide emissions. It is important that you keep optimization, training, and change management high on the agenda as you consider how to improve field service management to meet your goals as well as the goals of your company.