Delivering high-quality field service efficiently, while conforming to a budget and specific resources, is fundamentally a result of getting the appropriate technician – with the correct tools and skills – to the correct location, within a stipulated deadline. As a function that has a definitive impact on customer experience, field service management (FSM) is crucial to ensuring that customer service meets quality guidelines, deadlines and budgets consistently. After all, in many cases the field service technicians are the sole face-to-face interaction that a customer will have with an organization.
In many legacy models, field service management was conducted through a back office that used spreadsheets, technicians who tracked and closed service requests in hard copy, and organization wide exchange of data over the phone and by email. Given the high standards of service expected by customers and the diversity of products and servicing requirements often being addressed, field service is often one of the more demanding and operationally complex functions within an organization. The advent of mobile connectivity and cloud technology present an opportunity for the uptake of software based solutions that help to automate scheduling, dispatching, task allocation and case management.
A 2015 field service benchmark study by TSIA was able to ascertain that leaders are able to drive almost twice the service derived revenue compared to others in their industry. The corresponding 2017 study by the same organization noted that the number of field service companies adopting a service-based model had grown from 9% to 23%. As of 2018, the number of field service organizations, with fifty or more users, that have already deployed or plan to deploy mobile apps has reached 75%. Not only do organizations benefit from the efficiencies that FSM delivers, as more employ the strategy, the advantages it offers become standard practice for a greater number.
Field Service Management translates into more viable business models and inflated bottom-lines
FSM delivers a much more rapid response to customer complaints and service requirements. As an operational advantage, this is not a peripheral metric, in the age of the customer-centric business model, it is a crucial differentiator. A recent Frost & Sullivan study showed that by 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product quality as the key brand differentiator. The key advantages offered by a technology enabled field service operation also include the following:
Ultimately, FSM solutions offer organizations the ability to deliver enhanced, high quality and rapid response services that would otherwise not be possible. Not only does this bring down operating costs significantly, it also results in a brand identity that drives a greater market share and customer retention.
Effective customer service is a crucial differentiator for the contemporary business. The deployment of cloud and mobile connectivity enabled field service management not only delivers an unprecedented standard of service, it also enhances back office processes through streamlining of existing systems and insights drawn from gathered data.