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Fix Problems Before They Happen With This Field Service Strategy

Service representative, dressed in a blue jacket and khaki hat, performing proactive field service on a panel inside of a home painted in white / reduce operating costs
It’s time to ditch the reactive break-fix mentality and embrace a proactive service approach with the right field service management tool. [Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock]

When you shift from a reactive to proactive field service strategy, you can increase efficiency, win customer loyalty, and save on costs.

How much does it cost your business if your equipment goes down for one hour, one day, or one week? What kind of impact does equipment downtime have on your customers and your reputation? Prioritizing proactive field service can help you not only reduce operating costs but also keep your customers happier — and coming back.

According to Forbes, unplanned downtime due to equipment failure costs industrial manufacturers more than $50 billion annually. That’s a lot of pressure — especially when you’re trying to do more with less, deliver great service, and scale your business.

Enter proactive service: identifying and preventing potential customer issues instead of reacting to a problem after it’s already happened. 

Let’s dig into why a proactive service strategy is important for the future, how it helps you reduce operating costs, and examine some best practices to get started for success now.

Save money by planning ahead

The right field service strategy delivers more revenue, productivity, and cost savings. Discover how your company can be more proactive by checking out our latest field service guide today. 

Why is proactive field service so important for your future?

Today, organizations like yours are asked to become more efficient and reduce costs while keeping their business running and their customers happy. Proactive service can help ease this pressure and sets you up for success. 

First, let’s define our terms. By proactively maintaining an asset before it fails, you’re taking care of preventative maintenance — the routine maintenance of equipment and assets to prevent unanticipated downtime. Predictive maintenance is monitoring equipment during normal operation to reduce the likelihood of failures.

We are also seeing organizations moving away from simply selling products and services to focusing on making their customers successful. Service providers are focusing on the metrics of their customers’ success by moving to outcome-based contracts — which outline specific goals and are paid only when those objectives are met — and aligning their field operations to customer satisfaction.

Field service organizations use proactive maintenance, and install base management, to successfully meet service level agreements (SLAs) with outcome-based contracts. With these contracts in place, you’re focusing on the success of the customer and aligning field service operations to deliver that. This makes the service provider a strategic partner to their customers.

With a proactive service strategy, you are extending the lifespan of the asset and reducing the number of truck rolls by doing more with each visit. All of this works toward a global goal of sustainability. 81% of CEOs say they are already developing new sustainable products and services. Proactive field service not only helps you reduce operating costs but also helps the environment. That’s a win-win. 

How does proactive field service make you more money? 

By being proactive, teams are able to service customers more efficiently and learn more about not only their current needs but what they’ll need in the future. We found that 84% of decision-makers say they see major returns from their field service investments. 

The goal is to stay a step ahead of the next break-fix. With field service management, you can build effective predictive and preventative maintenance programs in your proactive service strategy — and see real results. 

For example, a properly functioning predictive maintenance program provides businesses with a 10x return on investment, 30-40% over reactive maintenance, and 8-12% over preventative maintenance alone. 

And a study by Jones Lang LaSalle found a 545% return on investment by performing industrial benchmark preventative maintenance compared to no maintenance plan at all. Having a proactive field service strategy helps you get more for your money by avoiding downtime, as well as reducing safety issues (and staff hours) caused by expensive emergency fixes. 

Efficiency leads to cost savings, upselling opportunities, and increased customer satisfaction. Your equipment continues to run reliably and your customers are happy.

Build your proactive strategy

Discover top trends from field service experts and learn how you can prepare your company for what’s next.

What are some best practices for being proactive in field service? 

Being proactive is a combination of knowing your assets and knowing your customers. You can easily implement these best practices into your field service strategy. 

Put your data into action 

Every time you service a customer, you gain valuable insight into how they’re using your assets. You can use the data you already have to learn what you need for the future. Analyze usage-based data like the repair history of a product to adapt maintenance to each asset.

For example, an electric vehicle manufacturer has a failure with a trunk lift issue — an error in the mechanics of the trunk not opening correctly. 

When an owner reports a seat belt issue that requires repair, this manufacturer will also prompt the customer to confirm if they have a trunk lift problem as well or ensure technicians carry extra parts for the trunk lift. This minimizes the need for additional technicians on the road, simply by knowing the history of the trunk lift issue.   

With this data, the technician then brings a spare chamber part in case it is needed for service. Not only does the part get fully repaired, but it’s also scheduled for preventive maintenance in the future and the customer is beyond satisfied with their service, now that they can breathe easy again. 

Add preventative maintenance to your schedule

One way you can prevent the need for break-fix services is to enlist preventative maintenance, helping you reduce operating costs.

In addition to using calendar-based recurring maintenance tasks, you can set up maintenance based on the usage or condition of the asset. That way you can ensure asset uptime while reducing costs.

Use an all-in-one field service management solution 

As with any best practice, you have to have the right tools for the job. To enlist proactive services, you’ll need a field service management tool that should be able to: 

  • Effectively monitor asset performance, predict asset failure, and improve service accuracy.
  • Reduce time on the road by using automation to find the right resources with the right skills and the best route. 
  • Respond quickly to dynamic requests with automated scheduling and dispatching.
  • Boost frontline productivity by connecting workers to the right data and tools.
  • Increase first-time fix rates with remote assistance by connecting customers and frontline service teams with experts using interactive guidance.

An all-in-one field service management solution can be the answer you need to save money and make customers happier.

Proactive field service can majorly reduce operating costs

Proactive field service takes your business to the next level. It’s time to ditch the reactive break-fix mentality and embrace a proactive service approach with the right field service management tool. Be the field service expert that your customers want you to be. 

With the power of proactive field service, you can save money and help your workforce become more productive and efficient — helping you make the most of your investments. 

Are you hitting your potential?

Get proactive with your field service team. See how improving your technology can help power your frontline workforce. 

Yung Chen
Yung Chen Director of Product Management, Salesforce Field Service

Yung is a seasoned product leader with a track record of building new products and delivering results that dramatically improve business outcomes. She leads the Salesforce Field Service Asset area. Prior to Salesforce, she delivered solutions to optimize the field service and asset management for leading solar and global industrial equipment manufacturers.

More by Yung

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