8 Types of Field Service Management Technology You Need

The pandemic forced field service organizations to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and prioritize technology that can help them quickly adapt to change. In fact, 77% of field service professionals say that the pandemic has changed their technology needs, according to the fourth edition of the Salesforce State of Service report.

77% of field service professionals say the pandemic has changed their technology needs.

From virtual options to automated dispatching and real-time scheduling, let’s look at how you can optimize your field service management investments to streamline operations, make smarter business decisions, and help keep everyone safe.

1. Connected field service management

Seventy-nine percent of field service professionals say that it’s impossible to provide great customer service without full context.

A connected field service management solution provides agents, dispatchers, and mobile workers with the same data, including customer information, job details, asset history, and warranties. They can view inventory to ensure the right equipment is on the truck and collaborate in real time with colleagues on the same platform to achieve first-visit resolutions.

A connected solution also enables proactive service. For example, if a mobile worker is at a hospital site to fix a broken part on an MRI machine, they may notice that the machine is due for routine maintenance when they review customer information in their field service app. They may choose to perform maintenance at the same time to eliminate the need for another visit.

Go further by connecting field service with your core customer service organization. Many field service teams have already taken this crucial step: 73% of field service professionals say their field operations are connected to core service and support operations.

73% of field service professionals say their field operations are connected to core service and support operations.

2. Automated dispatch software and real-time scheduling

High-performing teams (those that rate their customer satisfaction as excellent) are more than 4 times more likely than underperforming teams (those that rate their customer satisfaction as fair or poor) to say their organization excels at dispatching. With automation, dispatchers create schedules based on mobile worker availability, skill set, and location (if an in-person visit is needed). This eliminates manual effort, scheduling errors, and any unintentional bias.

The Top Priorities for High-Performing Field Service Teams

  • Timely customer/case information
  • Improved route management/navigation
  • Automated scheduling
  • Inventory and asset management

Optimized invoicing

3. Route management

High performers are 3.7 times more likely than underperformers to say they have excellent route management and navigation. Reduce time-to-site with automation and live traffic data to plot the best route for mobile workers to get to a job site quickly. It automatically responds to schedule changes, whether that’s a late arrival or a new job request.

Consider Appointment Assistant, which offers temporary live tracking of a mobile worker when they are en route to a job site. Appointment Assistant can be configured to automatically update customers on their preferred digital channel with an estimated time of arrival, pre-arrival checklist, and the mobile worker’s name and photo. This visibility helps to build a connected customer experience in real time.

4. Digital work order management

When field service teams have the most updated information, there is no wasted time. Digital work order management helps to instantly track updates about an assigned job, assess current inventory volumes, and review warranties, which ensures proactive service. In fact, high-performers are 2.6 times more likely than underperformers to excel at providing the most up-to-date information to the team.

5. Integrated digital ecosystem

Ninety percent of mobile workers in high-performing organizations say they always have a full understanding of the customer’s relationship with the organization, compared to 68% of underperformers. This is in line with a broader trend in customer service: 79% of service professionals overall say that it’s impossible to provide great service without a complete view of customer interactions.

To get a 360-degree view of the customer, connect field service and core service data across your broader organization — including sales and marketing. A single source of truth for data gives field service teams deeper insights into the customer relationship. Connected field service teams are better aligned with the organization and can collaborate cross-functionally to deliver the most relevant and personalized customer experiences.

6. Self-service options

Seventy-eight percent of field service professionals say that customers have increased their use of self-service channels, such as account portals and FAQ pages, during the pandemic. Give customers the information they need by updating your knowledge base, help center, and chatbots with relevant content that customers regularly search for.

78% of field service professionals say customers have increased their use of self-service channels during the pandemic.

7. Digital service channels

Field service teams need to go digital to meet customer needs. Eighty-five percent of field service professionals say that customers have increased their use of digital service channels, including social media and chat. Ensure that you have a presence where customers are most likely to reach out. Review customer feedback for insights about their communication preferences and pay close attention to emerging trends.

85% of field service professionals say that customers have increased their use of digital service channels during the pandemic.

Customers appreciate visibility and transparency. Take digital engagement further by providing regular updates on estimated arrival times and details about mobile workers by email, text, or messenger app.

“When we look at how our customers engage with us, we don’t differentiate between where service is provided — either on the phone, on our site, or on the road. Our goal is always to provide that best experience for our customers. We can only do that by aligning our service strategy across every single touchpoint.”

8. Remote collaboration tools

In the early days of the pandemic, field service teams learned how to work remotely with customers. Dispatchers and mobile workers used tools like Visual Remote Assistant to work together and help customers resolve their issues in the absence of in-person visits. Despite these tools, field service teams feel there is still room for improvement when it comes to collaboration: Only 33% of field service professionals consider their ability to collaborate with colleagues as excellent.

33% of field service professionals consider their ability to collaborate with colleagues as excellent, signaling room for improvement.

To improve collaboration with the broader team, use shared solutions like Quip to work together in real time. Keep your internal knowledge base up to date as well with the option for mobile workers to provide feedback and suggest changes.

Give mobile workers a connected mobile device so that they always have access to customer data, job details, and asset information. If the issue is complex, use Visual Remote Assistant to connect mobile workers at a job site with an experienced tech by video to collaborate on a resolution. For simple fixes, have mobile workers connect with customers remotely to walk them through troubleshooting on their own.

“When the pandemic struck, we shifted entirely to remote work within two days. We were able to pivot quickly because we were already tapping into a solution to deliver field service remotely through video and more. Now, we can service customers from anywhere, as well as connect experts to onsite technicians to remotely train and solve issues.”

Optimize your field service management

Has your field service organization accelerated its digital transformation initiatives yet? These eight technology investments will set field service teams up for success now and into the future as circumstances — and customer expectations — continue to change.

But technology is just part of the solution for change. Field service teams are also adopting new safety requirements and elevating their mobile workforce to play a strategic role in their organizations. Find out how 4,000 global field service professionals adapted to change — and what you can do to evolve your field service management strategy for the future.

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About TimeLinx
TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.