by Brant Carter on May 17, 2016
- Connected Operations – how to drive efficiency through the entire organization
- Connected Workforce – how mobility is changing service delivery
- Connected Customers -how to balance the cost of delivery with customer service
- Connected Intelligence – how to gain insights into business operations
Over the next few weeks, in a series of blog posts, we will be diving deeper into these topics to highlight areas where technology can be applied to streamline the flow of information through the chain. We will also cover trends in the market that can disrupt existing workflows and provide opportunities for improving both operational efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. Although it can sometimes seem that these are counter acting, successful service teams are able to achieve a balance of these – which ultimately leads to greater profitability. We like to call this balance connecting people, places and things.
Customer Service Expectations
As part of our research for the Insight report, we performed a survey with field service organizations and found that customer expectations are growing. 63% of customers now expect issues to be fixed the first time, 51% indicate a late arrival as their biggest frustration and 53% want tighter service windows. Clearly service organizations face a lot of challenges in meeting these expectations. Balancing these requests while at the same time keeping an eye on operational costs can be difficult.
Service Delivery Challenges
If we look at some of the issues that service delivery teams face it can be difficult to know where to start. When we talk to customers and ask them about what they see as their desired future state, the following trends are quickly identified:
- Streamlining business operations
- Optimizing assignment of resources
- Having instant access (and sharing) of information
- Connecting work, workers & assets
Field Service Workflow
The field service workflow has many links in its chain and at each point there is a risk that data silos can develop or that information can get lost. It is only by looking at the entire workflow – from end to end – that you start to see how technology can play an important component of eliminating these and other issues.
The connections between the workflow steps show where information is handed off and the flow of information from the customer raising the issue with the service rep to the schedule and dispatch team, the field technician, into finance and finally with the management and team supervisors. There are many dynamics at play here, for example the dispatch team not only has to work with direct resources but also sub-contractors; and keeping track of which skills they have can be difficult. Similarly understanding which parts are in inventory and ensuring that you are not both over or under stocked.
In order to make improvements in the service supply chain it needs to be looked at from end-to-end. It is only when a complete view is taken can improvements be made; or you run the risk of transferring a problem to another spot – either up or down the chain.
For more information on how to connect your field service operation, you can download the insight report free of charge or watch our recent webinar, which addresses some of the most current challenges and latest thinking in the field service industry.