The future of field service: 3 things for leaders to remember


What’s your customers’ biggest complaint about your field technicians?

For most field service organizations, the answer is the same but hardly surprising: That the problem was not fixed.

Sure, there are other complaints. Your customers get frustrated when it is difficult to schedule an appointment or report an issue with their service. And of course, they get annoyed when their technician doesn’t arrive on time. But not being able to quickly solve the problem reported, risks losing your customers to a competitor.

Customer satisfaction is the currency in field service, and organizations can’t afford to fall behind.

Customer satisfaction was the underlying theme of our recent webinar. In the webinar, we explored how integrated planning leads to optimized field service operations and increased customer satisfaction. I’ve outlined three essential takeaways for field service leaders:

1. Mobility is a game changer in field operations, but only if done right

Field service organizations that invest in mobile technology stand to gain higher productivity, increased customer satisfaction and reduced costs.

kpmg survey

However, a recent study by Aberdeen Group showed that less than 20% of field service organizations had integrated the technician’s mobile device to their dispatch and planning system. How does this impact field operations and customer satisfaction? With no access to real-time information, technicians are unable to make strategic decisions, recruit teammates, and complete jobs on time. This results in higher operational costs and lower customer satisfaction.

Mobility is key to improving field service operations as a whole, not just a few divisions. It’s important that mobility integrates ALL aspects of field operations including routing and navigation, fleet and telematics, and work order management.

2. You can’t plan for disruptions, but you can be prepared for them

In the world of field service, the only constant is change. Appointments get cancelled, employees fall ill, and sometimes you just don’t know what you need until your technician is hands-on with the situation. However, just hoping that smart people will accurately predict the future is probably not the best strategy. Your best bet is to build a robust plan that can weather daily disruptions, then empower your planners and dispatchers with the tools they need to manage disruptions with ease.

3. KPI-based planning is key to making better decisions – for the future

How good are your plans?

The most common answer I receive from field service organizations is, “I really don’t know.”

Take a look at this weekly shift schedule.

field service schedule

At one glance, this schedule looks good. All technicians scheduled have jobs assigned on most days. However, when you take a closer look, you’ll notice that you’re missing answers to important questions such as:

  • What’s the total travel time?
  • What’s the total overtime?
  • Do I really have the right technician working on the right job?

KPI-based planning enables field service leaders to answer these questions and also to make better decisions to achieve their business goals. How will signing a new customer and following the associated service level agreement affect overtime costs? Will a new vehicle increase efficiency, or just costs? These are questions that KPI-based planning can help answer by tying planning tasks to short-term and long-term business goals. Watch our recorded webinar for more insights.

Like it or not, change is upon us. It’s high time for leaders to drive transformation.

What should field service companies do differently this year to improve their operations? Share your perspective below. I look forward to hearing what you think.

This article was previously published on LinkedIn.