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    The Secrets to Providing Top Field Service

    2018-10-12

     

    In order to win in an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses will need to rely on field service agents to deliver more than just a quality product or service.

     

    In the past, all it took to make a sale was having the right product at the right price, an ethical and compliant appearance, and being favoured. However, as customers become more empowered to research about products online and test them out for themselves, these tactics are becoming table stakes. Instead, customers reward businesses that deliver simple and effortless experiences, where their problems are solved at the click of a button.

     

    Enter field service agents. Today, consumers expect them to be highly responsive, efficient and equipped to get the job done the first time. To successfully create the ultimate customer experience, field service agents will need to be better connected, have access to customer and product information in real-time, and engage in seamless interactions with other teams.

     

    The changing role of field service

     

    As more of the customer education process takes place online, businesses are increasingly getting just a precious few opportunities to engage with customers face-to-face. Often, the only time customers engage with a business is when something needs to be installed, fixed, or upgraded, making the interaction with field service agents more important than ever.

     

    As the faces of a company, field service agents will need to become advocates, and build customer relationships and deliver on personalised and seamless experiences. By getting to know a business’ clients, these agents will become trusted advisors and help create customer loyalty.

     

    Field service in the fourth industrial revolution

     

    While the fourth industrial revolution is rapidly transforming the way we do business, its effects are only just beginning to reach field service operations:

     

    1. Data access and collaboration

     

    Currently, field service agents are working in siloed teams with limited data flow between them, sales, and customer service teams. Then, there are other issues such as a lack of mobile support or integration with CRM.

     

    For field service to be most effective and to provide a personalised and seamless experience, businesses need to integrate these teams and move all customer and product information into one CRM platform that is easily accessible for all parties. This will help ensure field-service agents always have the tools and information they need to fix a product on the first instance.

     

    2. Visibility and resource allocation

     

    As field service agents are largely delocalised, another challenge is the difficulty in determining where anyone is at any given time – particularly if they’re working from spreadsheets and make intermittent phone calls to the office. Using an app with GPS tracking and instant messaging capabilities can help improve efficiency by giving managers and other agents visibility over each other’s location and availability, allowing better resource allocation and more responsive ETAs.

     

    Furthermore, integrated apps and automation software can help businesses move talent from lower-level tasks such as keying in data to more productive roles that are better suited to their abilities and career goals.

     

    As these platforms collect information, machine learning and analytics software have the potential to help businesses optimise their services by automatically allocating jobs to field service agents or higher-level engineers when needed, and finding the minimum number of truckloads required to move products. This is especially important as clients increasingly work to reduce field service costs by 10 to 15% each year.

     

    Keys to success

     

    As technology becomes more modular and less specialised, businesses will be less dependent on expert technicians to perform field service tasks. Instead, they will be able to focus on the personability and training of individuals so that they can create excellent customer experiences. Today, transparency, efficiency, flexibility, and ease of use are all prerequisites to delivering on value.

     

    Agents need access to training videos and have all necessary information at their fingertips. This way, businesses increase their efficiency, as jobs can be allocated to any available agent in close proximity, rather than having to wait for a specific engineer to finish a task and sending them over longer distances.

     

    Success in the digital age is also dependant on understanding a client’s value using technology. As a result, automation is critical in ensuring better customer experiences where technologies are used to make more informed decisions, as well as enhancing services.