By Field Service Team at Microsoft
If you were to make a list of all the concepts involved in successful field service management, what do you think would be at the top?
Let’s run through some potential choices:
- Efficient scheduling
- Sufficient inventory
- Qualified technicians
- Customer support
- Data usage
- Positive customer experience
- Effective mobile technology
- The Internet of Things
- FSM software
- Cloud-based solutions
Each has a case for being the most important single feature in field service management.
Yet each represents a significant part of the overall field service picture. Scheduling is one aspect of field service. Inventory is another aspect. Data usage and incorporating the Internet of Things are separate aspects as well.
If you want your field service management operation to run smoothly, you need all of these elements to work together.
That brings us to our choice for the most important concept in field service management: integration.
Unless these various moving parts are working together, your customers won’t be satisfied. When they’re not happy, you lose referrals and repeat business.
The proper term for field service management integration is “end-to-end field service management,” which refers to a complete, holistic customer experience through every stage of the field service operation. This includes:
- Knowing equipment down-time
- Having the ability to track the status of an appointment
- The technician arriving with the right information and parts
- Seamless invoicing processes on-site via mobile devices
End-to-end field service management is absolutely crucial to a positive customer experience. Without end-to-end field source management pain points begin to arise. For example, let’s assume scheduling and dispatch aren’t integrated. This can lead to shoddy appointment planning, which means each customer is waiting longer than he or she has to. Or let’s say customer support and inventory aren’t integrated with the field techs. A tech will then show up on-site to address a customer need and lack the crucial parts to do it. That means a second trip back out to the customer. This hurts your bottom line, it annoys the customer, and it might cause your tech to eventually look for a new field service organization that communicates and integrates effectively.
In the modern business world, where mobile technology is dominant, the way to build an effective end-to-end field service management process is to focus on:
- Integration of all necessary components of customer experience
- Subsequent integration of those components with mobile technology
Besides focusing on mobile technology, you need to construct your end-to-end field service management process around your unique business model. For example, your focus might be self-service. Your focus might be workforce scheduling. Your focus might be app deployment. It will vary by business and the value proposition of that specific business.