Guest Column | March 14, 2022

Remote Visual Assistance Technology – The Future Of Field Service

By Michael Blumberg is President of Blumberg Advisory Group

Business Meeting Future GettyImages-1307086301

Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are terms that are not entirely foreign to us anymore. This is because so much of the technology that we enjoy today involves either or both of these things. Not to mention the latest project that Zuckerberg rolled out: the Metaverse. A project where virtual and augmented reality are combined to create Extended Reality (XR). It seems that the future is finally here. We in the field service industry can utilize these technologies to improve the quality of our service via Remote Virtual Assistance or RVA.

Essentially, RVA is a type of remote support that provides a remote visual display of the issue to a service technician and allows them to see the problem directly and identify procedures to fix it. This model offers the best possible scenario for remote support and is the best reason to invest in RVA and AR tools.

The Drivers For Remote Support In Field Services

Adopting remote virtual assistance is driven by the following factors:

  • Pandemic-driven need for safety
  • Technological advances in field service
  • Cost-saving potential
  • Reduced customer effort

These factors ensure that the industry focuses on understanding, investing, and fully utilizing the capabilities within an RVA solution.

Pandemic-Driven Need For Safety

At the height of the pandemic, lockdowns were stricter and more heavily imposed. This situation meant that technicians had to limit on-site visits for the sake of safety. According to a survey conducted by TechSee back in October 2020, a little more than half of the field service customers reported that they avoided on-site visits by technicians unless necessary. Thus, service companies had to utilize another method of delivering their services without being physically present. And this is what RVA provided. In place of face-to-face visits, RVA allows the technician to see the problem and guide the customer to resolve it without being physically present. This technology was a good alternative that still prioritized the safety of both the technician and the customer.

Technological Advances In Field Service

Remote support has evolved from an assistive option over the phone or online chat into a fully integrated process where contact centers and technicians collaborate to deliver a faster, far more efficient, and seamless service.

And with RVA, cutting-edge technology such as AR and AI are the primary tools in delivering remote support. In addition, AI also can help automate remote support through its predictive capabilities to make both the customer and technician’s lives easier. Not only that, IoT helps with opening up several digital channels that serve as touchpoints for customers in asking and receiving almost instantaneous support -- be it through the web, video, social media, and other channels.

Need To Reduce Costs

Field Service Organizations (FSOs) expect to have high operational costs. Thus, cost optimization and reduction are always a priority for most organizations. Onsite dispatches are a significant drain on operation expenses considering the labor and transportation costs. But utilizing RVA proves to be beneficial to an organization’s bottom line since some fixes can be easily carried out even by an untrained hand, provided they have the proper guidance from a technical expert. In addition to lowered costs, RVA has improved first-time fix rates and increased customer satisfaction.

Reduced Customer Effort

In line with providing high customer satisfaction, RVA also helps reduce customer effort, driving more customer loyalty. FSOs should recognize that improving customer experience includes proactive service that exerts low customer effort. Especially today, amidst uncertain times that linger because of the pandemic, safety correlates closely with effort. As such, FSOs should take the opportunity to provide effortless and safe interactions with the help of RVA.

The Hybrid Service Model

AR, AI, and IoT have enabled the Field Service industry to make advancements in digitalization. However, the pandemic triggered it to adopt these innovations quicker than anticipated. It was challenging to stick to the traditional service delivery due to safety concerns. As a result, some field service organizations have ventured into adopting RVA.

This adoption has led to the emergence of the Hybrid Service model. This model is a proactive service that combines RVA, IoT, and AR to predict, pre-empt and resolve problems remotely. It’s ideal for unpredictable situations or complex and time-consuming issues that are difficult to handle remotely. For now, it’s only a quickly emerging best practice, but it will not take a while before it becomes the new normal in the field service industry.

A New Revenue Stream For Field Service Organizations

The hybrid service model redefining the service business model is a good thing, but it also challenges organizations that generate most of their revenue from on-site services. Yes, RVA will reduce the number of on-site visits and could diminish their revenue. But instead of viewing it that way, companies can see this as a new revenue stream.

Companies can tap this potential by turning RVA into a value-added service feature for a premium fee. Field service leaders can either offer it as an upsell or a cross-sell as another option for the customer at the point of service or while waiting for a technician visit. Another way is by leading with the RVA offering first as part of a service agreement with a guarantee for a better service experience that is worth the premium charge. And with this technology improving service times and quality, many customers are more willing to pay the premium if it means a faster response time and resolution than on-site service.

RVA provides unlimited opportunities for many field service companies to save costs and generate new sources of revenue. And in this industry, not getting with the modern technological times could result in stagnation. If you are interested in learning more about RVA and its monetizing potential, you can read more about it in my whitepaper. Download it here:

About The Author

Michael BlumbergMichael Blumberg is President of Blumberg Advisory Group, the leading research and consulting firm in the Field Service Industry. Mr. Blumberg is a growth catalyst helping technology service and software solutions providers establish market preeminence through a laser focus on thought leadership, operational excellence, and customer experience. He is a prolific author and frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. He is available via email at Michael’s blog is accessible at Follow him on Twitter via @blumberg1.