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Field Service

How Discrete Manufacturing Can Go Digital With Field Service

Going digital with field service management makes customer satisfaction easy for discrete manufacturing. Learn how to exceed customer expectations today.

Workers reading documentation in a manufacturing plant
Discrete manufacturing is adapting field service management to meet customer expectations for digital service.

Discrete manufacturing has entered the digital world. Companies with field service capabilities that rely on digital technology continue to build customer relationships and drive revenue with field service — even without an on-site visit.

Customers appreciate the ease, convenience, and possibilities digital has brought to their field service experience — and they’re not going back. In fact, 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives.

If you’re a decision maker in discrete manufacturing looking for ways to adapt field service management to meet customer expectations for digital service experiences, here are the top five areas to focus on.

1. Eliminate in-person visits with visual remote assistance

Customers want more remote troubleshooting options for convenience and safety. Visual remote assistance reduces or eliminates the need for in-person visits. When a customer reaches out, agents determine if the issue requires an on-site visit or if it can be resolved remotely.

Agents and field service technicians use video sessions to virtually interact with customers in real time to solve problems with augmented reality. For simple fixes, such as a system reboot, an agent can remotely guide a customer through to resolution. If the issue is more complex, a field service technician can use a visual remote assistant to walk a customer step by step through the process.

Customers appreciate the ease, convenience, and possibilities digital has brought to their field service experience — and they’re not going back.

If the job requires an in-person visit, field service workers can use visual remote assistance to connect directly with an experienced tech if they run into difficulties. This service model expedites the maintenance process and improves first visit resolution. 

This is how Fike Corporation keeps employees and customers safer. The company launched a solution that allows agents to answer requests through live, virtual video calls. Fike also connects experienced technicians and trainers to onsite mobile workers to train and resolve issues together through video, augmented reality measurements, and digital diagrams. As a result, there are less people on job sites, which has reduced travel costs by 90%, and field service teams keep open lines of communication to share expertise through technology. 

2. Improve first-time visit resolution with proactive service

Customers want a proactive approach to guarantee system uptime. By connecting data across enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and other systems of record into a single source of truth, you get a real-time view into device performance. Data visualization tools help your team spot potential red flags, like system lags. Based on these insights, you can send an automated message to customers to schedule an appointment. 

Field service workers are also able to easily monitor issues. For example, if they are at a job site for a break-fix, they can see the last date that the asset received preventative maintenance. If the date for service is coming up soon, they can perform maintenance while there, eliminating the need for another visit. 

As an added bonus, access to this data helps ensure inventory availability by ordering parts based on demand. This decreases warehouse costs. 

3. Support contractors to improve customer experience

You likely work with many partners that perform various activities on your organization’s behalf. For example, if you produce an industrial gearbox, a contractor may handle the maintenance for customers. 

Ensure your partners work off of the same field service management solution for access to customer data and asset information. Set up a contractor portal for self-service options, including knowledge articles, warranty details, and an easy way to connect directly with your organization for questions. Schedule service visits on the contractor’s behalf to create a more streamlined experience for customers.

4. Help customers self-serve with appointment assistance

Customers have grown accustomed to connected service experiences from the likes of DoorDash. In field service, this translates to knowing a mobile worker’s estimated time of arrival, employer details, and company safety protocols. 

With an appointment assistant, you can send automated updates to customers on digital channels with this information. Customers can also use your website or customer portal for 24/7 access to their service history and service-level agreements. 

Give customers the ability to book appointments, make changes to their requests, and view knowledge articles for simple processes that they can do on their own. For example, if a light is not going on or there is an unfamiliar noise coming from their equipment, provide step-by-step directions in an article on how to reset the machine. This way, they don’t have to pay for an unnecessary visit for a simple reboot. You also don’t have to roll a truck.

5. Improve service based on customer feedback

Always keep the lines of communication open with customers. When customers leave feedback, they want to be heard — and expect the appropriate follow-up. Use an enterprise feedback management platform to connect customer feedback from post-visit surveys to your CRM data for a complete view. This helps you to determine the right response based on the customer, and deliver improved service offerings and products based on feedback.

Next steps

Eighty percent of service decision makers said field service is a key part of their overall strategy. Discover more ways to meet customer expectations for field service in Disruption Drives Digital Transformation in Discrete Manufacturing. And, if you’re ready to hit the ground running, discover Salesforce Field Service.

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