Field service organizations are diving deep into their operations to attract the right people and transform services. Creating a better experience for both employees and customers alike continues to be a common focus.
With new challenges coming to the market, here's a look at the key themes discussed at this years’ Field Service Europe conference.
Recruiting and retaining a field service workforce is TOUGH
The current field service workforce is made up of mature millennials (35 and over). The quick-to-learn, tech-savvy Gen-Z population are less interested in careers in the field. Louise Murton, Head of Operations at Baxi lead a table discussion looking at current challenges in recruitment. Creating clear development pathways and lifestyle support is imperative for the next generation.
Murton suggested that it is vital to keep updating your offerings to keep yourself attractive to Gen-Z then you should:
- Place managers with higher EQ and relationship building capabilities
- Provide development opportunities
- Recognize achievements more frequently
- Establish working teams with diversity in mind
- Modify your dress code policy
- Provide a gym membership, flexible working and educational sponsorship
Can the industry make a career Field Service appealing to the next generation?
Uber has set the bar for a transparent customer experience. Real-time tracking and two-way communication are now a consumer expectation.
Using ‘gig’ economy technicians is an industry-wide consideration to meet increasing customer demands. Paul Joesbury, Commercial Operations Director of Homeserve talked through their new app for on-demand field service engineers. Crowd-sourced from the technician eco-system, they engage with available technicians in the right area with the right skillset. In theory the ‘gig’ pool can become a company’s front line for today’s on-demand consumer.
Considering Micheal Kuebels of Salesforce stated that 42% of Field Service companies still have paper based processes, there are some fast decisions to be made for businesses to keep up.
The Augmented Future
Experienced technicians are in short supply. Serviceable assets continue to become more complex and customized. Downtime has never been more unacceptable to your customers. Service leaders are trialling and rolling out Augmented Reality Solutions.
From the cumbersome Goggles of the past, we are now seeing really funky wearable tech options. This can actually make augmented support a reality for field service.
Field workers in remote locations can now receive support assistance from thousands of miles away. Instead of needing to train and base specialized mechanics at worldwide field service locations, or deal with the costs that a delayed project incurs, companies can instead use augmented reality to keep projects running smoothly.
There are challenges and opportunities in transformations that will put field service organizations ahead of the game. Andy Barker of PTC talked enthusiastically at the event and here are his thoughts:
“When it comes to taking big steps in AR Innovation, leaders in Field Services are concerned about the 'death of the FS Engineer', not hitting ROI and/or facing pilot purgatory without improved customer services.
All they have to do is work out the benefits they want, engage stakeholders, empower the workforce, combine technology and real-time information with people, and the ROI takes care of itself.”
It is not a death; it is the 'birth of "smartAR" FS Engineers', improved First Time Fixes and increased end client satisfaction.
Two words to sum it up? #HumanEmpowARment".
Customer service experience expectations continue to rise
Thanks to ubiquitous connectivity and so many different channels to reach out for service, today's customers expect a dramatically different experience. They want instant response to queries, repairs done correctly the first time, and replacements booked immediately. The age of ‘Uberization’ is upon us.
Simply put, customers want awesome service. The pressure to get the experience right has never been higher. This warrants an organizational transformation that includes the use of the latest technology.
Make every experience awesome for your customers.