‘Lightning’ Up Field Services – Agility and Efficiency for Better Customer Experience
Read time: 7 Minutes
Large organizations are invigorating their field services solutions with the adoption of smart technologies. As companies focus on customer retention and customer satisfaction strategies to enhance the overall customer experience, field services assume greater importance than ever before. Field services management (FSM) encompasses tracking a company’s field resources that are performed outside the organization’s premises. FSM includes scheduling work orders, dispatching workers, tracking work hours, tracking parts and supplies, and invoicing the job. Typically, it also includes the installation, repair or service of systems or equipment. With the wide-ranging use of technology in these services, field services management also includes software and cloud-based platforms that enable field service management. Growing steadily at an estimated CAGR of 11%, the field services management market is expected to exceed $5 billion by 2025.
Challenges in Managing Field Services
For most organizations, the task of managing the field service workforce is one of the major challenges in addressing customer needs. This involves variables like logging of issues, monitoring and allocating resources, inventory management, planning and managing preventive maintenance, capturing evidence that the issue is resolved and conforming to the company’s regulations. When these activities are performed manually it involves significant service time and lacks precision and predictability. Often this leads to poor inventory management, poor maintenance, longer service turnaround time, high cost, inefficient utilization of resources, and customer churn.
In addition, the lack of centralized and connected systems and poor visibility leads to inefficiency in operations. High human interventions and lack of sufficient information further drive up the cost significantly. Centralized systems help in streamlining field service operations through work orders and service appointments, allocating and scheduling workforce, monitoring, tracking time and movement, maintaining knowledge repository, compliance to regulatory requirements, and managing inventory. Poor allocation and collaborations between key players can cause a lot of unwanted conflicts and result in customer dissatisfaction. The absence of smart technologies in FSM results in imperfect allocations, a high turnaround time of assignments, and tracking deficits. Information drought is another major handicap for seamless operational services. Real-time information like GPS tracking, route optimization, employee logs, inventory view, invoicing, and job status can considerably improve the work allocation and effective use of resources. With the industry being traditionally human-intensive, high manual interventions are a major cause of driving down the value.
Importance of Mobile Applications in FSM
A mobile application for field resources can be a boon, to manage service appointments, real-time vehicle/resource tracking, and route optimization using GPS. At the same time, a self-service portal for the customers can help track the service appointments, view and manage cases, and access knowledge articles. Chatbots on self-service portal can help resolve routine queries, improve first-time resolution rate and reduce the workload of service agents. A mobile application for field services enables the technicians to view their schedule in a calendar and recommended route for the day. An application features historical data as well as work in progress details along with the guidance for execution.
Application of an Integrated Work Management Solution
A centralized system with an understandable user interface which can be accessed by all stakeholders will help to address major areas of concerns. Zensar Technologies provides an integrated work management solution that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend the “next best action” for service appointments, warranty and preventive maintenance schedules, and additional product requirements. Such a system makes provision for bulk upload of work orders and scheduling jobs. Milestone tracking and employee logs can help improve adherence to service level agreement.
The Zensar solution also offers a scalable inventory management module that would offer a real-time inventory view and allow the field resources to order spares and track them. A guidance module for the field operators which involves all process components can help them make the right decisions and deliver optimal service. In addition, an easily accessible knowledge repository with relevant artifacts can work as ready reckoners for the field operators. This would result in improved resource utilization, improved customer satisfaction (CSAT), reduced manual interventions, and better inventory management.
Preventive Maintenance to Reduce Operational Stress
A system to view, track and manage preventive maintenance would allow the service provider to take the lead in service tracking and maintenance. An advanced user interface-based system would help in viewing preventive maintenance plans across asset class and service contracts. This would enable tracking of maintenance activities and improved inventory management. Inventory control can improve end-end visibility of spare availability and order pipeline, thus reducing lead time. A 360-degree view of equipment available for maintenance can improve the utilization of resources and make the service appointment resolution predictable. This system would also help in automating approvals of paid spare parts to avoid conflicts with customers.
Zensar offers a system that can improve preventive maintenance tracking, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and mean time to repair (MTTR). Thus, improving the CSAT, reducing operational cost, reporting better, and improving efficiency.
In today’s competitive environment, a customer focused strategy to elevate the customer experience is critical. Organizations need to maximize their resource efficiency, improve customer service, have access to information on the go, and reduce operational costs. It is essential to harness the power of cutting-end technologies to leverage optimal field service management. Zensar Technologies have developed custom features such as bulk upload, preventive maintenance and inventory management to drive value to clients and improve their experience. We bring forward over 10 years of successful Salesforce delivery experience, help service providers to maximize client value by employing best-in-class IT solutions, provide end-to-end partnership and spectrum of subject matter expertise.