Software applications have become indispensable to every type of business, and field service industries are no exception. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the reliance on field service software and embedded systems. These tools are now an integral part of operations for technicians in areas such as HVAC repair, IT services, appliance installation, and facilities maintenance.
During the pandemic, field service technicians have had to perform the necessary repairs, installations, and maintenance tasks while also abiding by quarantine and social distancing practices and regulations. By relying on mobile field service app products, these professionals can still have the necessary communication and provide the required services without directly interacting with their customers. This has accelerated the mobile app trend in this industry.
Field Service Software Brings New Advantages
These applications actually increased efficiency because the technicians can rely on field service software and not have to contend with the stresses and time commitment of face-to-face interactions with customers. Also, tasks such as scheduling and dispatching became automated and digitized, further streamlining operations.
Furthermore, technicians can rely on the embedded systems (the Internet of Things) to collect the necessary information to ascertain the problem before arriving at the job site.
Because of these advantages, companies will continue using these applications past the pandemic. The positive attributes that field service software and the Internet of Things bring to the industry mean that businesses and their technicians will have to adapt if they want to compete and meet customers’ needs in the future.
Field Service Technologies You Should Learn Now
Here are the tools field service technicians need to learn about to keep up with the changing industry.
Scheduling and Dispatch Software
Scheduling and dispatch software can enhance communication between a service company and its technicians in the field. However, this type of field service software can do much more than simply digitizing interactions.
When used as a part of a field service software suite, these tools can optimize operations to increase efficiency. For example, scheduling software can use mapping data to find out the most efficient order for appointments and organize the day so that technicians have to travel the least distance between different work sites.
Less travel time may lower fuel costs and increase the number of appointments (and earnings) a technician can have in a single day.
Dispatch tools can provide a similar advantage. By selecting the nearest technician for a service call, the company can limit travel and associated costs.
Mobile Field Service Apps
Field service technicians can get communications, scheduling, and dispatch data on a mobile field service app. These tools allow them to receive communication and use systems while at job sites or on the road.
Also, mobile field service apps can provide data specific to each job. For example, the technician can see data from any embedded systems on their mobile device so that they know what kind of repair to prepare for before they arrive. Customers can also send pictures, which the technician can see on the app. This feature can help them make assessments and bring the proper equipment to fix the problem.
Mobile field service app systems often also include chat features that allow technicians to communicate in real-time with customers.
The challenge with mobile field service apps is that they have different features, and the user interface can sometimes be difficult to navigate for those unfamiliar with them. If a field technician struggles using this mobile technology, it can actually decrease efficiency and extend the amount of time spent at each job site.
Because mobile field service apps are becoming an integral part of the industry, technicians need to be properly trained in how to use them to their advantage, as well as use them regularly.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT for short) refers to equipment and systems with embedded computers that control operations and collect and transmit data, all of which are connected and communicating with each other.
The main advantage provided to the field service industry by the Internet of Things is that it can predict the need for maintenance. Field service technicians can then interface with the appliance or system and understand the issue quickly. If they know how to read the data, they can even diagnose the problem before reaching the job site and select the necessary equipment to bring with them.
Homeowners rely more and more on smart appliances. According to Security.org, 70% of Americans want a smart home, and 78% are willing to pay more for embedded systems. These percentages show that the Internet of Things will be an integral part of the field service industry going forward.
Field service technicians need to understand the embedded systems on equipment in their area of expertise. They need to know how to read the data that these systems provide so that they can offer the correct maintenance.
Furthermore, service technicians need to know how to install appliances with embedded systems and ensure that they are connected and working properly. They may also need to interact with the systems to establish the initial settings. For example, an HVAC technician may need to set the parameters for a smart thermostat. Some service calls may involve making these settings for customers who cannot do so themselves.
Working with the Internet of Things requires technical training. Service workers need to learn to use the systems that are common in their area of expertise. In the future, a majority of their service calls could involve working with embedded systems. Technicians without relevant knowledge will not be able to take service calls.
The Future of Field Service
Technicians can enjoy the advantages of greater efficiency if they learn how to use field service software and apps. They also need to be able to use the alerts and data from embedded systems to plan repairs and schedule regular maintenance.
In some cases, technicians need to brush up on existing software skills or expand on tech abilities that they already have. While independent contractors may have to take steps on their own to master mobile field service apps, companies can offer training to their employees when they deploy these new systems.
Companies, meanwhile, need to be willing to adopt these tools, adjust their operations to fully utilize them, and commit to training both office employees and field technicians in their use.