By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
Much of the conversation around technology investment for field service centers around two critical objectives: optimizing the customer experience and maximizing efficiency. There’s an important third aspect at play, though — how leveraging today’s technologies can help field service organizations mitigate risk.
In an increasingly competitive landscape, the need to minimize risk and vulnerability is imperative. Here are three ways in which today’s technologies can assist field service organizations in protecting their businesses.
1: Knowledge Capture & Transfer
If you rely on a incredibly experienced, highly knowledgeable and skilled team of field technicians or dispatchers to keep your operations running smoothly and to ensure your customers’ needs are met, you are putting your company’s long-term success at risk. As field workers and dispatchers age out and retire, letting those employees take immensely valuable tribal knowledge with them will cause measurable pain that is easily avoidable.
Today’s leading service organizations are putting tools in place to capture and transfer tribal knowledge, to take control of the information that is historically housed only in employees’ heads. This can take the shape of an optimized scheduling and dispatch solution, which replaces the dependence on highly knowledgeable manual dispatchers and instead builds the knowledge base within the technology so that the organization itself retains control. We also see the introduction of more sophisticated knowledge management solutions, which ensure that insights gleaned over the years of experience your most tenured technicians have are captured and can be more easily (if not easily) passed on to younger, less experienced workers.
2: Documentation & Proof of Service
In a world of endless information, documentation of work performed is becoming essential. Most customers today demand a detailed report of what took place during a service visit they are paying for, and you better be able to provide it. Even if they don’t demand this sort of insight automatically, they will inevitably have questions that they expect answers to. Having a proper service management system in place that allows your technicians to effectively document the service visit and work performed not only gives your organization greater visibility, but it provides what’s becoming customary information for your customers.
Where this ties in with mitigating risk is when an issue arises. Solid documentation and proof of service data can save your behind in a situation where your customer is questioning or debating the work performed. Being able to easily provide a detailed overview of what work was conducted, when, how, and why will help your organization to avoid such issues, often enabling you to recoup billable hours and defend paid services.
Last but certainly not least, today’s technologies help you to keep your dispersed workforce safe. From mobile devices to fleet tracking solutions, the ability to protect mobile workers is greater than ever before. Workers that at one point would have been checking in daily, even weekly, are now connected all the time, in real time. This helps companies to monitor safety and quickly respond to any risks, which is particularly important for organizations with workers operating in dangerous conditions (like oil and gas or mining) or performing service on heavy machinery (such as elevators or other large equipment).