As the calendar begins to creep towards the winter months, 2018 is nearing a close and we wait for the ball to drop on 2019. Now we can see what new trends will pop up in the field service industry. But before we put our 2019 glasses on for a New Year’s party, there is still a quarter of the year left in 2018 to go and still plenty of time to take advantage of all the trends that have dominated the field service management industry in 2018.
The field service management industry has seen some vast improvements in how technicians are handling service delivery today. It’s a little hard to think that it was already a year ago that Internet of Things (IoT) was the talk of the service industry. While it’s still very much in the baby stages of developed and roll out, there is no denying that by the end of last year and the start of 2018 that IoT was a hot button topic that everyone had an opinion on, and at the very least, knew about.
So, what has made headlines through the first three quarters of 2018? What has the field service industry been focused on and talked about over the first nine months of the year? And how has field service management software been at the forefront of those trends?
Increasing Technician Efficiency with Field Service Software
The top strategic initiative of 2018 that every field service organization is looking at is to increase the efficiency of their field technicians. Technicians generally make up the largest employee group in every service organization, so increasing their efficiency will have the greatest overall effect on the business. It’s not just about making their job easier with new field service mobile apps, but also making their job faster, making communication lines stronger, and improving on the administration side of things. Now no one is getting bogged down in the amount of data and information that is being required.
Increasing efficiency streams from two sources that are also dominating trends in 2018. First, a lack of employable technicians is making it difficult for service organizations to deliver their service, as baby boomers are retiring, and millennials are not filling in their jobs as fast as the industry demand needs them too. This creates a problem in that some field service organizations have too few number of technicians and too many service calls to handle, resulting in delays and missed opportunities.
Secondly, field service organizations want to find ways to increase their bottom line and the only way to do that, beyond raising prices in a very competitive market, is to increase the number of calls they are taking in a day. That’s why field service scheduling software has become so important to service delivery groups who want to not only better equip their technicians in the field to speed up service delivery with mobiles apps, but also improve dispatching practices to better utilize the workforce available and take more service calls.
Improve the Customer Experience
There has been a dramatic shift in the field service industry over the last year that focuses less on what is happening internally, and more what is happening externally. That’s why many organizations are focusing more on improving the customer experience and trying to understand how service can engage, delight and exceed customer expectations.
Understanding the needs of customers is becoming the major concern of field service organizations, who aren’t as worried about hiring the best of the best technicians, but rather hiring the best customer service technicians who can be trained in excellent service. Field service management software has helped in that regard, by providing technicians with field service mobile apps that allow them to access complete service history, repair manuals and guides, and connection to augmented reality and virtual reality to help training technicians in repairs before they complete them.
It’s also about making it easier for customers to get service to their door, including offering on-demand style requests for service. And with field service scheduling software, dispatchers are now removing the 9 to 5 timeslot and replacing it with a narrow window and text message updates that technicians are on their way or minutes out from the job site.
Big Data Collection with Field Service Software
Data has always been important in the field service industry, but today, field service organizations are utilizing the Big Data and analytics more to make drastic changes to their service delivery and how their entire service operation is conducted. Big Data needs to be analyzed quickly and efficiently, which is why many are turning to field service software and Business Intelligence to take all that data and turn it into useful information that can effect real change in service delivery today.
Increasing Revenue on the Back of Field Service Software
No surprise, increasing revenue is still a very much talked about topic in the field service industry. In fact, if you look at the first three topics, you can say that increasing revenue is a byproduct of greater technician efficiency, a better customer experience and changes to service delivery because of data analyzation.
The field service industry is still trending upwards and no matter if you’re in the HVAC, IT Service, Industrial Equipment or Facilities Management maintenance fields, there is some form of technology available to make your technicians, as well as your entire organization, more equipped to increase the bottom line. Field service management software is the driving force between many of these changes, including mobile solutions, IoT, and analytical reporting tools.
Field Service Software Is the Trend
Many of these strategic initiatives can be handled easily with a field service software solution that offers advanced scheduling, mobile apps and Business Intelligence. But it’s more than just a technician getting their work order completed faster. It’s the dispatcher scheduling more effectively, accountants getting invoices back to the customer faster, and service managers having a complete detailed look into their inventory to know what is available and what needs to be ordered before it becomes an issue.
Field service management software can handle all those initiatives and it will easily be part of the growing trends that the field service industry will see when they head into 2019.