As companies prioritize positive customer outcomes through service over one-off sales — a business approach called “servitization” — field service teams are becoming competitive differentiators for the manufacturers and distributors that provide such services. Driving this competitive value is the adoption of cloud-based field service management (FSM) and asset service management solutions.
By this point, it’s clear that the cloud is one of the major catalysts for digital transformation. Organizations across industries turn to the cloud as a means to support increasing revenues, reduce costs, and improve customer experiences. Field service managers need their own state-of-the-art cloud applications to control service processes and drive metrics that impact customer value.
Now, as reported by MarketsandMarkets, cloud deployment is achieving a faster growth rate among field service organizations as implementing cloud-based FSM solutions becomes more cost-effective and dependable — even more so than traditional on-premise solutions. As we will find, cloud-based field service management capabilities have become critical to modern whole service and predictive service processes; companies who do not adopt these tools risk losing market share to new and evolving competitors.
Driving Customer Value for Modern Field Service Success
Field service metrics have come a long way since the “break/fix/repair” KPIs common decades ago. Long-term contractual agreements that focus on predictive maintenance, rapid service, and better customer outcomes are becoming common, providing many advantages for both customers and service providers.
Now, field service customers concern themselves less with the repair and service of their assets than with their performance and business results. They measure the value of their service agreements with these results in mind. That’s why new digital capabilities are creating new opportunities to use service to secure and optimize lifelong relationships with customers.
Digital tools have enabled field service teams to both cultivate and measure success using new metrics, including service revenue, customer satisfaction, workforce productivity, workforce utilization, and first-time fix rates. Cloud platforms enable these companies to leverage customer, technician, and Internet of Things (IoT) data as part of new capabilities that enhance and optimize service and maintenance processes.
But these new capabilities bring new expectations. Business leaders increasingly consider service departments profit centers, not cost centers. Companies must realign their workforce to drive customer value rather than simply fix and maintain equipment. This includes every type of optimization — improved productivity, leaner performance management, and an end-to-end approach to improving customer experiences. Technicians will be held responsible for customer satisfaction, and even upselling products and services.
Benchmarking Cloud-Based FSM and Asset Service Capabilities
It is the digitization of assets and the delivery-outcome-based service that will drive dominance in the competitive field service landscape. But as companies look to service departments to become profit centers, they need to give service teams digital tools that will help them succeed in these ways. For example:
- Remote Monitoring - Field service organizations must employ advanced tools to record and analyze data from the field, both during service visits and as part of ongoing monitoring and maintenance responsibilities. Remote monitoring is critical when field teams prepare for a customer visit — insights can help technicians boost first-time fix rates, reduce the time-to-repair, and upsell effectively thanks to getting greater asset knowledge before the time of the visit.
- Internet of Things (IoT) - Service organizations can use remote monitoring of assets to collect IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) data about those assets. They can predict future behavior of assets, allowing them to maintain high uptime and performance metrics. They can anticipate customer needs and use those insights to drive greater value during service visits, as described above. Centralized teams can develop a broader understanding of asset performance, then set up optimized, planned preventative maintenance schedules that ensure there are fewer emergency visits across their operations.
- Mobile Tools - As we have seen in our previous blog on Achieving Real-Time Visibility in Field Operations with Mobility Solutions, advanced mobile technologies keep field technicians connected to key resources and capabilities at all times. Organizations can integrate mobile tools with cloud-based FSM tools to maintain real-time visibility of technicians’ activities, including job queues, driving distances, and performance metrics.
With these capabilities, FSM and Asset Service Management solutions empower organizations to run more profitable and efficient field service operations. These new technologies also bring field service teams closer to customers and generate more value through their interactions with them. Field service teams with these advanced capabilities are more likely to differentiate themselves from competitors and build lifelong relationships with their customers.
Selecting the Right Cloud-Based Solutions for Your Organization
A majority of manufacturers surveyed intended to invest more in FSM software in 2018 and 2019 to help deliver on customer expectations and increase opportunities for more revenue and retention, Field Service USA reports. Most organizations spent on both reporting and analytics (67%) and customer experience analytics (56%) — an indication of a growing emphasis on customer experience in field service. The report by Field Service USA is available here for download.
At Techedge, we provide field service organizations with the right digital technologies to improve outcomes for their customers. Whether you’re exploring cloud platforms for the first time or improving upon existing processes, our services and solutions have the applications you need to drive competitive value in your service operations. Take the next step in your digital transformation — contact one of our field service experts to learn more about cloud-based technologies today.