Field service specialists are often the first point of contact. By leveraging their roles, your FSM is in a prime position to exceed client expectations and build lasting relationships.
Regardless of how digitally savvy your enterprise operations are in today’s competitive market, one key ingredient has the power to make or break your business: customer service. According to one 2022 Salesforce survey, close to 90% of customers say the experience they have with a company is as important as the products in influencing repeat business decisions. Since your field service specialists are often the first point of contact, they are in a prime position to exceed client expectations and build lasting relationships.
Many field service technicians see their main responsibility as technical problem resolution. However, their customer service skills must reach the same level of professional execution. In times of change, business operations should always prioritize customers' needs; keeping customers at the center builds trust and inspires loyalty. In this way, field service technicians have significant potential as revenue generators—especially in today's tense economic landscape.
Field service specialists are professionals who provide on-site technical and mechanical end-user support. These team members spend most of their time traveling to customer locations to perform specialized hands-on services. They largely work in telecom, electrical, utility, or engineering scenarios.
Field service technicians generally interact directly with customers, so it is key that they possess excellent communication skills. They additionally must be well organized and analytical, and possess excellent problem-solving skills.
Field service specialists perform installations, programming, repairs, and equipment maintenance. They may also be required to demonstrate to clients how to use installed equipment. Additionally, they perform quality checks to ensure the technical stability of components and materials.
On-site specialists are also responsible for:
Some jobs might require the additional skills and services of outsourced vendors. For example, before large installations can occur, the site may require environmental and risk assessments, land or building preparation and renovation, or compliance checks and licensing. In these cases, the field service specialist is also responsible for coordinating and overseeing contractors, task sequencing, record keeping, and negotiating contracts. They ensure that vendor services are provided on time and within budget.
Modern technology has transformed field service management, streamlining operations, improving safety, and enabling smarter business decisions based on service analytics. The following field service technologies help facilitate access to technical information, work order management, monitoring of equipment performance, and team collaboration.
A connected field service management solution offers easy access to job information. Agents, dispatchers, and mobile workers can access customer information, asset history, and view inventory. This ensures they have the right equipment for every job.
A connected solution also facilitates proactive service. A technician might be on site to fix a broken machine part. When they check the customer information on the field service app, they’ll see if the machine is due for routine maintenance. If time allows, they can perform maintenance simultaneously to eliminate another visit.
Scheduling automation minimizes errors and unintentional bias and reduces administrative time. Dispatchers can easily create schedules based on technician skills, availability, and location; the entire team can then access schedules from their mobile devices anytime, from anywhere. Besides improving organization and streamlining workflows, this facilitates inventory management and invoicing.
Proper route management solutions enable workers to take the most suitable route to the work site via on-demand, live updates. This reduces unnecessary mileage, traffic delays, and travel expenses.
An important aspect of customer experience includes providing regular updates on ETA and job details. You can automate updates to your customers with a time of arrival, a pre-arrival checklist, and the technician's name and photo. This type of transparency and visibility builds trust and drives loyalty.
With increasingly smart and connected equipment, technicians have access to more data than ever. A comprehensive field service analytics tool is key to interpret and formulate this data into actionable insights for technicians.
For example, Encepta’s field service analytics solution uses extensive site data for preassessment planning and on-the-job course correcting. This eliminates slow and error-prone manual tracking and significantly speeds up job progress while improving accuracy.
The service offers a self-serve portal with pre-configured dashboards. This means you have continuous visibility into the state of your project progress.
When measuring whether field service operations are successful, most companies focus on customer satisfaction and the business’ financial status. When defining metrics to measure the performance of your field service specialists, it’s key to understand your business objectives and how your field team contributes to reaching these goals. The following points all contribute significantly to job success rates and customer satisfaction—both vital to the financial long-term success of your enterprise.
Poor first-time fix rates (FTFR) lead to unsatisfied customers, who will inevitably turn to your competition for future jobs. In addition, you spend more on repeat visits.
While some repairs do require more than one visit, the first-time fix rate is often reflective of both a technician’s expertise (or lack thereof) and a company’s level of organization. Pre-visit preparation to ensure the right parts and equipment are available is essential to achieve faster fixes.
The longer you take to respond to a customer, the more likely they are to find a competitor to do the job instead. You can determine response time by measuring the time between the initial customer call and when a technician arrives on site. Poor response times are indicative of operational and service management inefficiency.
When technicians constantly reschedule tasks or need to perform repeat visits, it might be due to a sort of different reasons such as scope changes, misunderstanding of the material and lack of knowledge or the required skill sets. It’s important to find out what the issues are before making assumptions. Offering employees clear communication, training and a chance to progress is a great way not only to improve success rates (and customer satisfaction), but also to enhance employee retention.
Knowing how long team members take to complete certain tasks and repairs can help set realistic schedules, labor budgets, and improve efficient task planning. It’s also easier to spot areas that need attention if service times run longer than they should. High productivity rates mean you get to service more clients (and thus increase revenue).
Progressive technologies, connected equipment, and cloud-based platforms are driving field service operations that are more adaptable and user-friendly than ever before. With a highly tech-driven future ahead, field service operators need to stay on the pulse of new technology to remain competitive. Not only is this key to customer satisfaction, retention, efficiency, and cost savings, but it’s also key to drawing top talent in an already tight labor market.
The following trends are disrupting the industry and setting new service standards.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) provide field technician specialists with on-point insights into repair and maintenance issues and timelines. The smart, interconnected technology automatically triggers alerts when assets are overdue for routine maintenance or exhibit abnormal behavior. Predictive analytics can indicate when there is a high risk of equipment failure, moving the technician’s role to a ‘prevention rather than cure’ strategy.
Smartphones, smartwatches, and VR/AR devices are becoming popular among field service organizations, enabling mobile workers to access directions, message colleagues, and troubleshoot machines remotely. This has revolutionized how field service is conducted, saving time and money.
Automating time-consuming, repetitive, and error-prone tasks reduces overheads, improves efficiency, and frees up staff to see to more pressing issues. Some field service operators already rely on automation for inventory management, invoicing, dispatching, location tracking, data synching, scheduling, and order intake.
Field service leaders who utilize analytics can monitor changing market conditions, better equip workers for success, and provide more value-added service. Analytics can identify task completion times and performance gaps to aid in workforce planning. An automated data analysis solution simplifies the process, offering real-time status reports for stakeholders and managers in easy-to-understand formats. This facilitates effective reporting and timely decision making.
Without efficient and skilled field service specialists, you simply do not have a field service operation. These team members form the core of your business. Equipping them to perform at their best is key to becoming and remaining an industry leader. With the right tools, you can empower your field service specialists to go beyond the ordinary and wow every customer with efficient service, fast fix rates, and attention to detail through predictive analytics.
Encepta’s field service software solutions leverage analytical and AI-powered models to generate operational insights and KPI-driven dashboards. Our software solutions help you implement actionable initiatives to counter losses and improve operations. You don’t only transform workforce productivity and efficiency, but also establish a strategic foundation for streamlining and simplifying future operations.
With decreased labor hours, fewer mistakes, improved task completion, and better customer service, everyone wins—including your bottom line. These improvements can lead to higher employee retention and satisfaction, as they can feel more supported and empowered in their work. Contact our experts today and equip your field service specialists to take the competition by storm.
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