Heading into 2019 – What Were the Biggest Challenges in Field Service Management in 2018

Blog, Contract Management, HVAC, Technology Trends

Last updated Dec 16, 2019 at 12:25PM | Published on Dec 7, 2018 | Blog, Contract Management, HVAC, Technology Trends

With 2019 right around the corner, field service leaders are starting to look at where the industry is headed. To keep pace, leaders will want to know the trends that are taking over the industry or be in front of them. It’s difficult to tell what will challenge field service management organizations in the future, but we have a good idea. Customer demands are growing, the industry is calling for more talent to enter in, and revenue is an ongoing battle.

If your organization doesn’t react to these challenges, you could find yourself in trouble when the ball drops. And if your organization isn’t feeling these challenges just yet, get ahead of the curve and solve them now. If you wait, it may be expensive to fix them.

Rising Customer Expectations

One trend that started in 2018 that will become 2019’s problem is expanding customer expectations. Customers are wanting more from field service providers. They want fast service with knowledgeable technicians and without delays. And you should be able to deliver that to them, especially if you are deploying a field service software.

What has happened in the industry isn’t really its fault, as the service industry has changed. Think outside field service at how other service-based businesses are offering customers a better experience or greater options. Uber allows customers to call a ride from wherever they are and be directed to them in minutes. Netflix gives instant on-demand access to thousands of shows and movies. Even McDonalds has introduced touchscreen kiosks to let customers order on their own and skip busy lines. None of these are in the field service space, but all have a lasting impression on customer behavior.

Take lessons from each of those other companies and apply them to field service. Customers want:

  • Service to their doorstep in minutes, with full details of where the technician is.
  • On-demand access to technicians without waiting on hold or calling into call centers to make requests.
  • To know they will be taken care of, even when things get busy.

Field service management software gives your organization the power to offer all of these services and meet customer demands. With customers wanting more, you need to give them more. Greater access to scheduling and service requests can be done in customer portals. Updates on technician movement can be sent to their phones to alert them when a technician is coming. And service contracts built on automation will ensure that when busy, they move to the front of the line.

2019 will be the year of taking care of the customer’s needs. With field service management software, however, it won’t be at the expense of your own.

Shrinking Talent Pool

A massive problem that was identified in 2018 will come to a head in 2019 – a lack of skilled workers. All signs point to the talent pool shrinking, making it hard to find skilled technicians. That means there are fewer in-house technicians for companies to hire and schedule for calls. It’s a problem that is being addressed on multiple fronts. And field service management software has solutions including:

  • Using subcontractors
  • Optimizing technician schedules
  • Reducing administrative work

Many in the field service space are turning to subcontractors to complete work. With a subcontractor management software, the hiring, onboarding, scheduling and paying of these workers is made easy. To a dispatcher, they look and feel like a normal in-house technician. Their work orders are pushed to the mobile app, they follow the same checklists, and provide the same standard of service. But because they are a subcontractor, they are set up in your system to be paid with vouchers. Integrations handle the payment, making it easy to bring on a team of subcontractors when extra work is calling for them.

Field service scheduling software is also providing ways to optimize the schedules of the technicians you have. This opens more time for them to take on extra calls; they spend less time idle, waiting to deliver service. Optimization was a huge trend in 2018, and it will be a lifeline in 2019 for organizations facing shortages.

With mobile field service software, technicians won’t spend as much time with paper-based work orders, and neither will your back-office staff. Everyone will get a boost in their free time to work on other things. All because you adapted early and got in on a mobile solution that reduces manual working time.

Increased Competition

New competition should never be an old trend, but in 2019, it’s going to be a major challenge for some. With the reduced talent pool, some organizations are going to find ways to meet customer expectations. The challenge is, you don’t want them to meet expectations at the expense of your customers. With multiple companies competing for the same wallet share, you must keep customers on your side. That means fast, on-demand style service that makes your customers feel like they belong at the front of the line.

It also means looking at what your competition is doing and doing it better. Using a field service management software will give you that leg up that you need to survive. With routing tools, work order management systems and mobile apps, it will power your field service delivery through 2019. With competition comes options, and you don’t want your customers to have such a bad experience that they are looking elsewhere; they will have the option to do that. Always have technicians on time with all the information and parts they need. That starts with a field service software to connect your entire organization, so you are all speaking the same language.

Head Into 2019 Like a Lion

Don’t go into 2019 just talking about making noise; make the roar you need to succeed. There are going to be challenges in 2019, just as there will be in 2020 and beyond. The difference is all in how you deal with them and how your organization’s strategy fits with the trends. Are you always behind and feel like you are never moving toward progress? Well, perhaps it’s time to look into what a field service management software does for your service delivery. Then, when we talk about trends in the future, you’re already well ahead of them.