Your field technicians have a tremendous impact on your customers and maintaining your organization’s relationships with them. Delivering value through service resolution can improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue through more repeat business and sales of new service contracts. Because service technicians are the “face” of your company and interact regularly with your customers (often more than any other employees), you should equip them with tools to complete their work efficiently and effectively. This is particularly important because customer expectations for service are increasing, and the service market has become more competitive.
That’s the message in a new Aberdeen Group report, “Field Service 2016: Strengthen the Team and Bond with Your Customers,” which outlines best-in-class strategies for turning service interactions into opportunities to expand and improve customer relationships. In its’ most recent Field Service Workforce Management study, cited in the report, Aberdeen described best-in-class service performers as achieving 92 percent customer satisfaction rates, 90 percent performance in first-time fix rates, and 7 percent annual improvement in mean time to repair. Companies achieving those industry-leading results made service a priority by investing in the right technology. The majority of those top performers invested in mobile tools so technicians have access to critical information in the field. Those companies also focused on improving forecasting and planning for future service demands; invested in knowledge management to better diagnose issues and resolve them faster; captured service history information and made it available across the enterprise; increased technician training frequency; and were more likely to rely on part-time or outsourced workforce to provide more flexibility.
There’s a reason mobility topped that list of initiatives. Putting mobile technology in the hands of field technicians helps enable nearly all of the other key service initiatives underway at best-in-class providers. Mobile devices and field service automation solutions help companies capture critical service information from the field, aggregate it, and then share it with far-flung technicians. A knowledge management initiative can’t succeed without an easy, intuitive way for technicians to share and access repair techniques and customer information.
Real-time information gathered from the field also improves demand forecasting by providing accurate data on failure rates and maintenance requirements much faster than is possible using paper documents, which may not be processed until the end of the month. Mobility also makes it easier for the service team to provide information about customer interactions to sales, marketing, and other divisions. Technicians may spot competitive replacement or other new sales opportunities during their maintenance visits that can be rapidly transformed into active leads. In some organizations, the technician may even be able to provide a quote or close a sale themselves using the same mobile technology they rely on to track work orders. Mobile solutions also make it easier to work with third-party or outsourced technicians. Delivering a consistent service experience using a field team of contract employees can be challenging. Providing access to a common mobile application helps ensure all technicians (in-house and outsourced) meet your expectations and provide the same level of quality to each customer. Mobility also gathers valuable data to measure technician performance against key performance indicators (KPIs), which can be used to objectively gauge the performance of third-party service providers.
According to Aberdeen: “Success in field service depends on delivering value to customers. The real challenge comes with ensuring the service team can evolve and adapt at the speed of changing customer expectations. Technology needs to support the field team, and leadership must demand quality from the entire organization while a culture of service excellence is being built.” Mobile technology can help service teams provide excellence by helping technicians improve first-time fix rates, access customer and equipment histories at the point of service, and share information with the rest of the organization.
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