5 Trends That Will Shape the Future of Field Service Management
With the advent of modern technology, the business ecosystem has changed a lot in the past few years. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the transformation at an unprecedented pace. It changed how people, and in turn, industries approach business in this changed scenario. As the pandemic transformed the customer expectations, traditional practices in the domain of Field service management have also evolved accordingly.
In general, the field service industry is a rather dynamic area. It reacts to every little change that takes place within the business ecosystem. Keeping up with the changing times, it is further reshaping market practices, giving rise to new trends that will eventually shape the future of the industry. This includes a wide array of factors, among which emerging technology plays an integral role. Besides, contactless service, self-service, digital marketing, and advanced digital tools are also marking significant changes in the domain.
When the industry responds to changing customer demands and needs, customer service outcomes improve radically. Here are some of the significant trends that will likely drive the industry in its coming days.
Image Courtesy: Comarch.com
Contactless Customer Service and Support
Unlike many industries, field service relies on one-to-one interaction between the customer and the technician. You cannot get your window cleaned or your leaking faucet repaired until someone visits your property and get the job done. However, the COVID-19 changed the usual scenario. Whether you like it or not, limitations on field interaction became necessary. On the other hand, people got used to contactless delivery in several other sectors, for example, e-commerce and food delivery. Even after the restrictions were relaxed once the threat was over, many customers are visibly reluctant to go back to the usual mode of service delivery as it was before the pandemic, including field service. Many organizations, keeping up with the changing market practices, also implemented additional safety protocols, such as contactless capabilities, to keep both the customers and the field technicians safe during the raging pandemic.
In simpler words, contactless service delivery has become one of the major customer demands in this post-covid situation. While this might be impossible in terms of delivering hands-on field service, including repairing, installation, maintenance, etc., field service businesses are leaning towards providing contactless support to their customers. Simply put, for assignments like inspection, consultation, and most importantly responding to customers’ queries, remote communication has become the preferred mode. And the more you can expand your contactless support and service capabilities, the more likely your customers will be coming to you for service.
Along with contactless customer support, the popularity of self-service has also increased manifold following the changing customer demands. Instead of visiting an office or calling to ask for services, people now prefer to contact the service providers via digital media. Self-service is the initial point of contact between a customer and a business. Through this channel. Field service teams gather information about the client and the job details, including what to expect at the site and where to resolve the issue.
Now, if your organization has its own website where people can raise their issues, the chances of getting more customers are rather high for your company. Else, you might use a field service management software where they can directly ask for estimates, request service, and so on.
With the rapid growth of innovative technology, the market size of predictive maintenance is expected to increase at an annual compound rate of 25.4% by 2030. This will help field service companies reduce maintenance downtime and cut operational costs as well, which is one of the deciding factors of the growth. The advent of IoT, augmented reality and virtual reality, machine learning, wearable devices, and the likes are regarded as the major forces behind the change. In the coming days, they are expected to play integral roles in increasing team productivity and enhancing operational success, leading to significant business growth for companies of all sizes.
Increase in Cashless Payment
Digital payment rose remarkably in popularity amidst the pandemic. Fewer people used cash due to health concerns, and in some cases, simply because they did not have enough cash in hand due to the restrictions. Use of currency notably decreased between B2B transactions as well. However, people saw the benefit of cashless transactions during this period. They realized that mobile payment is more convenient and safer compared to carrying cash or using physical cards. Therefore, they are showing more interest in organizations that offer a wide variety of transaction methods, including digital payment. Following the trend, field service businesses too are investing in online payment portals and contactless card readers. If you cannot afford that, you can always take help from third-party payment gateways such as PayPal, or you can switch to an online field team management software that supports digital payment.
The global pandemic has boosted a novel trend in almost every sector worldwide—that of remote working. Instead of gathering in a centralized office, employees are collaborating through digital media to get their day-to-day job done. The field service industry is not beyond its scope either. Rather, it has created some novel opportunities to increase employee productivity and decrease operational costs for companies at the same time. While working without visiting the actual job site is practically impossible for field workers, the need of visiting an office or report to the managers regularly has become redundant with the introduction of emerging technologies.
The most significant innovation in this regard has been the Mobile app for field service technicians. This clever piece of technology has made remote working for field workers easier than ever. Now, they don’t need to visit the office to clock in or clock out. Neither do they have to receive information for the job by physically meeting the manager or dispatcher. With the dedicated mobile app, they can receive notifications, get job details, share job status, create and send invoices directly to the customer, collect digital signatures, and even accept payment in the field. More importantly, with the GPS integrated with the app, managers or business owners can monitor their locations in real-time and plan accordingly. However, the most interesting feature of these mobile apps is that they can be accessed from almost any device so that technicians can use them from their own smartphones.
Technology is moving at an unprecedented rate. What was once a ‘nice-to-have’ feature for your company will soon become a must-have tool. The current business ecosystem has made digital transformation a necessity. Therefore, it is only wise to keep up with the changing trends to keep ahead in the race. Because these disruptions, as a matter of fact, lead the way to business growth. Those who fail to adopt and adapt will eventually be wiped out as a result of losing major competitive advantages.
Therefore, next time when you plan your business strategy for the days ahead, make sure you take the changing trends into account. And the major trend in the service delivery industry necessitates embracing digital transformation. So, invest in automation. Get an efficient field service software, introduce CRM, shift your bookkeeping processes to a software system, create your own website and optimize it with the best SEO tools. In short, do whatever it takes to keep up with the changing times. And to do that, you must be aware of the trends of your industry at all costs.