Digital transformation in field service is often characterized by back-end enterprise technologies, but empowering a mobile workforce with connected tools is a key driver as well. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global field service management market will grow by roughly USD 3 billion from 2019 to 2024, more than doubling in size. One of the major reasons for this is a growing demand for mobility solutions that support real-time visibility into field operations.
Manufacturers and distributors that provide field service capabilities face growing demand for the greater connectivity, communication, and real-time responses these tools support. Companies have implemented sophisticated mobile capabilities in their field operations to meet this demand. Now, according to this research by Field Service USA, nearly all field service companies (89%) provide their technicians with mobile tools that record real-time data about service appointments.
Technicians can use mobile tools and connected vehicles to keep customers updated about service matters, and use insights from their interactions for analytics, upselling opportunities, and more. In this way, technicians serve as front-line agents who create better customer experiences and inspire long-term loyalty. As we will see, mobile tools also help central teams improve field service management processes.
Below, we take a closer look at how mobile service teams are using these tools to optimize customer experiences. We uncover how real-time visibility from technicians’ mobile tools add business value and open the doors to new business opportunities.
Workforce-as-a-Service: How Mobility Supports an On-Demand Workforce
Not long ago, managing field service operations remotely was impossible. Since then, smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR) solutions have changed the standards of the industry. Highly secure mobile devices now support field workers in their daily responsibilities, where field technicians enjoy superior connectivity, more real-time resources, and greater autonomy. They provide them with opportunities to upsell, build customer loyalty and satisfaction, and add business value through access to key customers information and equipment data in real time. Such insights allow technicians to engage customers unlike ever before, in a proactive but integrated way.
As McKinsey describes, “field technicians self-manage to achieve productivity and quality targets,” receiving and managing jobs via safe mobile devices with single-touch or no-touch automated features. Mobile devices support GPS tools so technicians can arrive at their next job site; they can also support augmented reality features that connect them seamlessly with experts at headquarters to help during service visits.
State-of-the-art mobile solutions also allow field service organizations to address the needs of workforce scheduling, integrate with IoT data collection in the field, and manage every phase of the service process —installation, predictive maintenance, inspection, compliance, and repair. That said, mobility must be part of a broader digital transformation that extends from the most distant field technician to the heart of the organization.
Integrating Real-Time Mobile Tools with Centralized Systems
Mobility does a great deal to empower field technicians and their customers. But equally important is mobile tools’ support of routine data collection on machinery and equipment, as technicians carry out their responsibilities. Connected tools shift these responsibilities from manual to digital processes, in which collected data is transferred to centralized control rooms in real time. This data helps dispatchers and other centralized teams with managing skilled workers, processing contextual work orders, geolocation, and work planning.
Real-time monitoring and sophisticated analyses of technicians’ activities allow for more timely dispatches, but also add context to the real-time data technicians provide while on the job. Centralized teams can more readily integrate data from IoT devices and other sources to boost insights delivered to technicians while on the job, and align technicians’ progress with KPIs as well. These are some other potential benefits:
- Real-time decision-making, which improves productivity and success during visits
- Deliverability of predictive insights and other data to technicians in the field
- Improved task management, performance tracking, and job-time estimate for technicians
- On-site intervention by centralized teams using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) solutions
Integrating mobile solutions brings frontline managers one step closer to their technicians in the field. With a lifeline to the centralized resources of the organization, technicians are more likely to solve customers’ problems on the first visit; provide memorable, value-added experiences that boost loyalty; and leverage opportunities for additional revenue (i.e., upsell) while on site.
Create a Value-Driven Partnership with Your Customers
Customers are focused on positive business outcomes and the ways in which their equipment helps them achieve those ends. Naturally, customers are developing new expectations because of the flexibility and real-time opportunities connected technicians provide.
Nearly 75% of the field service companies that use mobility tools have seen an increase in the productivity of their workers; the remaining 25% have witnessed an increase in their customer satisfaction rates, MarketsandMarkets reports. Many best-in-class service organizations today understand their customers’ businesses so well that they can work together to create value — a recipe that benefits both parties and supports lasting relationships between field service teams and their customers.
Techedge is your partner for digital transformation and mobile systems integrations that deliver on your customers’ expectations. Our enterprise mobility solutions empower technicians and allow managers to both remotely monitor key processes and identify opportunities to carry out strategic initiatives. Take the next step in your digital transformation — contact one of our field service experts to learn more about mobility solutions today.