Digital field service: improve service communication
Become your customers’ go-to partner with real-time information
Anyone who provides on-site field service has to coordinate a host of factors to provide a perfect experience. The keys, though, are tight scheduling and a solid organisational structure. If you can also be flexible and respond swiftly, you will fast become your customers’ go-to partner. Mobile apps can help make this happen.
Field service is a key service interface. It determines whether a good product will produce a satisfied customer. Field service managers have to juggle a variety of tasks:
- Scheduling employees
- Assembling and optimising service trips
- Monitoring and managing on-board inventories of service vehicles
- Accepting and scheduling rush orders
- Receiving and analysing field service reports
It isn’t easy to reconcile all these tasks. Those who succeed are true service champions. Mobile apps help schedulers coordinate these activities effectively.
Going the extra mile in field service
Stress levels always spike in certain scenarios: when an important system breaks down, a heating system fails in winter, electrical appliances break, or the power supply stops working. In these cases, the most important question is, “When can a service technician get here?” It takes digital tools to give a precise answer. If you manage your service team digitally and receive regular progress updates through software, you can keep your customers perfectly informed. Then, when your customers call asking for updates, they hear a reassuring response like this one: “Your technician just left and should be there in 20 minutes.” Or they can see it for themselves in a web portal. All this is possible thanks to mobile apps that centrally assign service tasks, document each completed task step and transmit all this information in real time. They may automatically show, for example, that it will take several hours to disassemble a production line in order to be able to install a spare part. And they also allow dispatchers to prioritise urgent orders with the push of a button or assign them to another team member.
Keeping a close eye on spare parts stocks
Field service works best when service technicians always carry all the important spare parts that they might need at the next customer site based on the description of the problem. Field service managers can easily monitor this valuable information in a software solution that interfaces with an app. Dispatchers are immediately notified whenever a spare part is used so they can initiate the replenishment process right away. This offers various opportunities to use time windows creatively. For example, while one customer’s machinery is being repaired, spare parts can be supplied for the next order. Or technicians can receive a new order that they can handle with the inventory they still have on board. Meanwhile, service managers can track the field service technicians’ locations on a live map for last-minute rerouting or for supplying spare parts to customer sites.
Documentation and billing
Preparing field service reports effortlessly
Mobile apps benefit technicians and dispatchers alike when handling service orders. The apps log service calls as part of the regular process: service times, material use, travel distances – all the information that is needed for billing is automatically captured digitally. The job is closed as soon as the customer signs off on it electronically. Technicians no longer need to fill out field service reports, office staff are spared the headache of entering the documents digitally – and the bill can be issued right away. In addition to saving a lot of time, this process accelerates payments and thus makes field service activities more profitable.
The best field service is digital
There are huge advantages to organising services digitally: painless coordination, current information, excellent responsiveness and immediate documentation. Satisfied customers, less work for service technicians and better business results are all strong arguments for transforming field service management. The mobile apps and new approach offer a real win-win solution for everyone.