Published- FieldConnect 2023
Trends and Modernization in the Field Service Industry
The Covid-19 pandemic reaffirmed the need for field service industry trends that were already gaining traction in recent years. As more people began to work remotely and storefronts were shuttered, the demand for field service software grew almost exponentially. This is what allowed successful businesses to weather the storm by continuing to provide their products and services without interruption, separating them from those that were not equipped to keep up with the need for these transitions.
Advances in AI technology and improvements in Bi dashboards, customer portals, and asset management have allowed some businesses to boost their return on investment, customer satisfaction, repeat business, and overall efficiency. Here are the current field service industry trends that are expected to shape the future.
An Increased Need for Virtual Services
While there was growing demand for virtual services prior to the pandemic, Covid-19 reshaped public opinion on working remotely and seeking services that are offered virtually. Examples include online learning, virtual doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions, and having meetings with service providers over video conference. Not all field service work can be performed virtually, but there is an increasing need to transition more service functions to a virtual platform rather than going the traditional route of scheduling onsite appointments.
BI Reporting and Dashboards
Business intelligence reports are critical to businesses looking to streamline marketing campaigns and remain ahead of the curve during shifting trends. BI dashboards are allowing companies to interpret data and statistics much more efficiently. While business intelligence reports are static and require detailed analysis in order to come to conclusions, dashboards are now allowing businesses to review data in an interactive interface, to review data in real time, and collaborate with team members more efficiently.
One of the newest field service industry trends is to use both BI reporting and dashboard in tandem to better predict consumer behavior and needs. The information can be presented to team members who don’t always have the technical knowledge needed to decipher a report in a way that is much easier to understand and react to. In a world where staying ahead can make or break a business, having the insights needed to make decisive choices is a necessity.
Updating to Advanced Field Service Software
There was already a transition occurring in the field service industry to digital software technologies, but this transition was sped along in late 2020 and early 2021. Advanced field service software is allowing companies to provide more accurate quotes and estimates, make managing their contracts easier, stay within budget, and manage their work forces more efficiently. This is one of the current field service industry trends that is expected to continue over the next decade.
More people want ease of access to request work and monitor its progress. Customer portals are allowing businesses to keep their customers informed and to make it easier for clients to handle scheduling appointments, payment, and customer service requests. Businesses won’t need to employ as many people to perform many of the tasks that these customer portals are able to complete.
Information gleaned from a customer portal can improve efficiency. Whenever a customer provides details during a service request, it allows businesses to schedule appointments along a technician’s route who will be close by. This can save on fuel costs, reduce downtime, and ensure that workers are properly equipped before leaving the shop for their shifts. Customers often provide valuable feedback through the portal that can be used to improve company policies and strategies.
One of the field service industry trends that is allowing some businesses to jump out ahead of their competitors is the development and use of mobile apps . These apps can be used to manage team members, to get updates on work progress, and to communicate these updates with customers. The companies that are using digital apps are creating a competitive advantage and forcing those who have not yet implemented the use of an app to consider it.
Mobile apps are often integrated with customer portals to make it easier for employees and customers to track work progress, provide updates, and communicate needs. It allows customers to access the same information on their phone that they can on their computers at home. Added convenience is a strong selling point for those who are always on the go.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence
People have mixed feelings about AI technology, but it’s inevitable that artificial intelligence will become a part of everyday life. Where it is useful in the field service industry right now is that it can save employees a lot of time by assessing what materials and parts are needed for a project, predict how long a project will take to complete, and schedule onsite visits in a manner that increases the team’s efficiency. It does this by determining ahead of time when certain parts are going to be available and when a technician is most likely to be in the area a service is required.
Artificial Intelligence is an effective means of analyzing consumer behavior and trends. It can help businesses determine when there will be an increase in demand for certain services, when to order materials, and how to load out a field technician’s truck with all the needed parts and equipment for the appointments that technician will be sent to each day.
Increased Demand for Self-Service
Fewer people want to talk to someone over the phone and one of the latest field service industry trends is that of self-service. The way that self-service is being handled is through a combination of customer portals and digital apps that allow customers to request service, monitor the progress, process payments, and settle any customer service concerns all from behind a screen. This is providing faster service, increasing customer satisfaction, and driving down costs for businesses and their customers.
Another use for artificial intelligence is to predict the imminent failure of equipment so that technicians can be prepared with everything they need ahead of a service request. This saves customers money by allowing field service technicians to perform maintenance before an equipment failure and mitigate the damage that would result from that failure. It also allows for the creation of a virtual environment for workers to use to troubleshoot potential fixes to common problems.
Using Virtual Reality to Train New Technicians
While most people associate virtual reality with gaming and entertainment, it’s allowing new field service technicians to be put into different situations they may encounter in the real world. Trainees can encounter more variables when attempting a repair in virtual reality and review their successes and failures following an exercise. This type of training is becoming more popular and it’s estimated that virtual reality or augmented reality will become incorporated in 50% of field service deployments and training programs.
Asset Management Systems
One of the most important field service industry trends is the implementation of asset management systems to track incoming and outgoing assets. An asset management system allows a company to track its physical and digital inventory so that companies know when they need to order more parts, update software systems, or purchase new computers and technology. It’s also useful for tracking documents such as invoices, payment receipts, and business licenses so that companies are able to make more informed decisions concerning asset management.
The result is better knowledge of the most opportune times to increase inventory, how to best maintain equipment, what assets are likely to cost, and the value of current assets that have depreciated. Whenever a business sells an asset that is no longer of use, the asset management system can help determine the profit or loss on its sale. Asset management systems can significantly reduce overhead by helping a company manage its expenses to eliminate unnecessary purchasing and to know when the best time to acquire new assets will be.
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