So you may be asking yourself, what is field service and why is it important?
Field service refers to the management of a company’s resources/employees/technicians at or en route to customers, rather than on company property (i.e. work done out in “the field”). It’s something that we all deal with as a customer. However, our present day culture of instant access and communication has revolutionized the benchmark of what field service can and will be in the future. Field service used to be a black hole of coordination and preparation between companies, their employees, and the customer. But now with modern innovation and technology, companies as well as customers no longer need to go into service appointments unprepared or uninformed. As a customer experience focused consultant, I’ve been fortunate to see this progression from within and have worked with companies helping set the field service bar. These positive changes we now expect with service often lead to a better overall customer experience and build brand loyalty. At the same time, these changes in service allow resources to be more efficienct in completing service requests.
What has the term “field service” historically meant? What are the present day standards and trends of field service?
Everyone has dealt with field service of some sort in their lives. Field service has historically meant a lot of frustration and difficulty for not only the customer, but also companies trying to properly manage and allocate resources. An A/C repairman showing up for a job but not having the right parts. A customer struggling to be available for the 8-hour window the cable guy is supposed to arrive. Both of these situations cause frustration for customers and affect their satisfaction. I can speak from experience as I dealt with both situations in the last couple months.
You may notice the common denominator in these examples. Wasted time. Wasted time for the customer as well as companies. The extra time it takes for a technician to go back for a second appointment leads to lost revenue because their resource could be working on a new request. Companies could also potentially lose future business from that disappointed customer. A complete paradigm shift swept through our service culture changing “service please?” to “service now!” This whole notion of waiting in anticipation has been thrown out the window thanks to our hyper connected, instant information age of smart phones and 4G internet. Now customers demand a different level of communication and insight that previously seemed impossible.
How does my company have the ability to pursue and take initiative in the field service industry?
As amazing as this evolution promises to be, there are still very few companies leading this renaissance of the field service landscape. With all of these technological advances and interconnectivity, companies can track, monitor, and communicate with employees and customers in an unprecedented way. By establishing better communication streams with customers, field technicians can come prepared for jobs which allows much greater efficiency. Greater field service efficiency not only means higher upfront profits for companies, but likely future revenue through repeat business due to increased customer satisfaction.
The obvious question you should ask yourself is, “what does this mean for me and my company?” I’m sure this all sounds great, but are processes like this achievable to anyone other than billion dollar mega-corporations? [The answer is yes]. This sort of streamlining service can be done in a few ways. The first would be through a homegrown web connected solution. This option usually takes a sizable dedicated internal IT team to develop and maintain. The second would be through some sort of proprietary field service focused system of which there are a multitude of different options.
In the coming months, we will be publishing more deep dives into real world use cases as well as a comprehensive look at a newer system on the market right now called Field Service Lightning from Salesforce. If you’d like to check out more about this product and the benefits, you can find it here. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about field service, feel free to contact Matt Shemluck (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tarun Patel (email@example.com).