We’re at a defining moment for field service management — invest in digital transformation or risk getting left behind.
Sketching calendars on whiteboards, managing schedules on spreadsheets, and sending mobile workers into the field with clipboards and mounds of paper forms means we’re not giving customers the same level of convenience, personalization, and connectivity in field service they receive in their daily lives. Eighty-four percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and that shift is reflective of business consumers as well. If you’re a business consumer, you still request pick-up via a ride-sharing app, get assigned a driver instantly, see where they are on a map, receive notifications, and leave real-time feedback. The same should be true for your field service appointment.
The business world needs to catch up to what we’re experiencing as consumers. The future of field service needs to be digitally connected from your business to your customer, but transformation can’t happen overnight. So, how do you take the steps now to future-proof field service management?
Businesses aren’t competing with products anymore — they’re competing with experiences. Delivering in-person service is a competitive differentiator because it connects your company directly with customers, establishing a relationship now and for the future. But the service experience must be streamlined: 89% of service decision-makers say the experience a customer has with a mobile worker is a reflection of their brand.
Seventy-one percent of service decision-makers are already making significant investments with improved technologies and increased headcount. Despite this prioritization, mobile workers still face challenges:
Only 50% report having access to a connected device
Nearly half (49%) still toggle between screens to complete tasks
Forty-five percent have wasted significant time because of inaccurate or outdated job information
Your mobile workforce must have access to current customer information and tasks to turn a critical, vulnerable moment with a customer into an opportunity for loyalty.
In the next section, we’ll discuss how an investment in a connected field force solution drives efficiencies and improves productivity in the field.
Digital transformation connects your entire workforce and drives consumer-like experiences. A connected workforce solution unifies customer data, from service history to communications preferences, for a complete view that’s shared across the entire field service operation. This streamlines communication with customers, drives efficiencies for dispatchers, and gives mobile workers the information they need to resolve cases faster:
Be customer first. Customers want the flexibility to self-schedule from your site or app. Self-scheduling capabilities allow customers to make, change, and update requests – just as they would schedule a pick-up with a ride-sharing app.
Automate notifications. Customers don’t want to be kept in the dark on the status of their appointment. Similar to receiving updates when their driver is nearby, customers get notifications about their mobile worker. Location tracking and artificial intelligence (AI) work together on the backend to power these automated notifications, keeping customers in the loop, and free up dispatchers from fielding calls on location status.
Intelligently schedule. Dispatchers no longer spend time searching for the next-available mobile worker based on time, skill, location, equipment and manually scheduling appointments. Through a workforce field scheduling tool with intelligent capabilities, scheduling is automated to help dispatchers ensure route optimization and on-time appointments.
Seamlessly reschedule. In the event an appointment needs to be rescheduled, a customer can make updates through an online portal, app, or on their favorite channel of communication. Dispatchers see the change as soon as it comes in and easily reassign mobile workers in the field with real-time notifications.
Empower mobility in the field. Mobile workers need the ability to understand an issue before they step on-site and communicate with the team back at the contact center. With mobile capabilities, workers in the field get visibility into current job information, schedules, inventory, tasks, and customer data from their phones. They can also log updates before, during, and after the visit and leverage offline capabilities when Wi-Fi or data is unavailable to download customer information.
Close the feedback loop. Customers easily provide feedback via your site, app, or another preferred channel on everything from whether the issue was resolved to whether their technician was polite and easy to work with.
It’s no secret that digital transformation requires an investment in resources and technology to deliver the experiences all customers expect. To gauge whether it is working, companies can measure effectiveness against a core set of metrics:
Improved first visit resolution. When mobile workers have visibility into all pertinent customer information and tasks, they are able to get to resolutions faster. If a mobile worker is unable to resolve an issue, they can even connect with a remote expert to walk them through a resolution, decreasing the likelihood of repeat visits.
Decreased call volume. When customers have the choice to reach out through preferred channels and receive updates on their appointments automatically, call volume diminishes. Dispatchers are free to focus on top priorities and assign cases versus providing status updates.
Minimized windshield time. Workforce field scheduling reduces the time in which mobile workers spend unassigned to tasks because dispatchers have a full view of who is available in the field. For less complex cases, customers can even connect with a remote agent directly to fix an issue, minimizing truck roll.
Increased opportunity. Mobile workers can help identify new opportunities out in the field for incremental revenue. For example, if a customer has a need for a costly repair or a new part, a mobile worker can walk them through their options and next steps.
Improved customer satisfaction. A connected solution puts the customer first, from the minute they schedule an appointment to the moment a mobile worker walks out the door. By putting in place the capability to receive feedback directly from customers, you’ll know firsthand what the experience was like and gather the information you need to improve processes and training.
The future of field force management is now. If you’re ready to take the steps to future-proof your field service operation, learn how to connect your entire workforce with Field Service Lightning.