You are making a phone call with an important customer to get informed about whether the delivered products are operating well. Immediately, the CEO starts being angry with you. The agent that did the visit last week did not bring the right materials, even though your customer clearly had communicated the issue in advance. A few weeks before, another agent also brought a visit to the company for the same issue. Clearly, the agent was not inform well enough by your company, and now your customer has to wait again for the moment that the right materials are being delivered. Even more painful of course when you as lead of the field service management are not aware of these issues…
This situation shows what can happen when your field agents are not enabled with the most accurate, up-to-date information. Only when you know exactly what is going on with your customer, you can ensure a seamless customer experience. To convince you, I discuss six reasons in this blog about why you should optimize your Field Service Management.
Aligning different field services
Field Service Management is relevant for all organizations that are visiting customers at their own location with their products and services. So think of energy providers (gas, water, electricity) and telecom companies, but also contractors, mail order companies and home care facilities. The common denominator is that service is taking place on the spot of the customer and that data is required for this.
The thing that is making this complex, is that organizations often have different types of field services: for example, not only sales, but also maintenance and repair, and customer support in terms of personalized consulting. Because of this, you have a large amount of tasks, persons and (mobile) devices. It is a big challenge to align all these elements in the right way. A well functioning system for Field Service Management is a must: without a centralized platform to streamline all of these processes, it is hardly impossible to efficiently manage the entire field service and to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Increasing need to share essential information
The need to streamline your Field Service Management has only become bigger due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On the one hand, because visiting your customers has become more complex due to many restrictions. On the other hand, because many field service agents have been working from home as well. This makes them visit the office less often, the place where normally most essential information is easiest accessible and shareable. It is therefore more important than ever, that employees enabled in accessing the required information whenever and wherever they need it. The increasing physical distance is being covered with the decreasing digital distance.
In my opinion, there are plenty of reasons to make use of the right infrastructure to give your Field Service Management a boost:
Reason 1: It increases the safety and agility of your field service agents
Think about the situation that your field service agents have access to a large amount of data in a clear and safe manner through the cloud: e.g. customer information, data from your CRM-system, route planners and to-do lists. And also completely up-to-date, so they can quickly respond to the latest developments. Is there a problem arising somewhere? Then you can send one of your agents immediately to solve the issue.
Reason 2: It enables you to deliver the best possible service
Miscommunication and other unpleasant incidents are being replaced with positive customer experiences. Work processes have been streamlined and all your employees are aware of exactly what is going on with customers at that moment. This allows them to act proactively instead of just running behind. Moreover, it does not matter to the customer who they have contact with within your company, they receive the same treatment everywhere. This consistent customer experience makes the engagement with your customers even stronger, which will, in the end, lead to more sales.
Reason 3: Complex planning is organized in no time
Planning is also considerably smoother with a Field Service Management platform. Consider complex processes such as construction, where it is not only important to have the work schedules of your employees in order with a clear task description, but where the necessary materials also need to be delivered at the right place at the right time. Everything has to fit together seamlessly and that is a lot easier if it is largely automated. There is also much less chance of errors.
Reason 4: Other employees can easily support
Are your field agents all busy and is there an unexpected need for technical support? In this case, the employees of your customer service can serve as a remote backup. Through the system you can give them access to a complete database of instructions, so that they can guide customers via chat or even video in solving of an urgent problem.
Reason 5: You spend less time consuming paperwork
When your employees on location have finished their work, they can immediately update the data about the relevant customer on the spot. So don’t scribble something on a piece of paper first and enter it into the computer again later, in between the operations. That saves a lot of time.
Reason 6: Communication between your employees is running much smoother
Everyone in the company – sales, marketing, service, management – has access to the same data. We do not work in separate silos, but there is one “single source of truth” from which all the digital tools are making use of. This prevents misunderstandings and does not only improve the quality of the service, but also the working environment. Please also read my previous blog about the essence of data synergy.