A Tech Stack Checklist For Field Service Business Leaders

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Anand Subbaraj, CEO of Zuper.

In an era of instant gratification, customers are desperate to be in the know, 24/7. As a result, field service organizations are feeling a shift categorized by growing customer expectations and pressure to update their tech stacks.

Customers have become accustomed to religiously checking their Amazon apps to stave off porch pirates and tracking the kitchen-to-counter delivery of their takeout with Uber Eats. This access-driven digital transformation, fueled by consumer demands for immediacy and transparency, is compelling field service providers to reimagine their interactions with customers.

Mirroring transparency in sectors such as e-commerce and logistics, the field service industry is adopting digital platforms and tools that provide live updates, seamless communication and unparalleled visibility. This marks a departure from opaque service models with large service windows and little to no communication between customer and technician toward a paradigm of collaborative and transparent customer service.

The Real Value Of Keeping Customers Informed

Industrywide, it’s generally understood that it is far more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. KPMG reports that 46% of loyal customers are likely to keep supporting a brand even after a bad experience. Loyalty fosters resilience, so cultivating loyalty using data helps secure long-term customer relationships and recurring revenue.

With a strong and proven business case for keeping customers in the loop with real-time, transparent information, here are several areas to invest within the tech stack to fully modernize operations and provide the best UX while keeping customers informed and in the know.

Mobile Strategy

Just like with Uber or Amazon, mobile apps in the field service industry empower customers to track service requests, communicate directly with technicians and offer instant feedback on the service technician or engineer who completed their job. On the business side, mobile capabilities provide field service teams access to a suite of back-office and technical resources on the go, which can positively impact employee efficiency and accuracy.

Further, an exhaustive mobile application gives technicians access to customer account information and engagement history. It allows them to order parts and schedule follow-up service on-site without having to return to the office—which can improve customer experience and maximize efficiency.

It’s important to note that a mobile strategy goes beyond just developing an app. Field service businesses need to adopt a mobile-first approach to their entire business, including optimizing the website for mobile devices for anyone who may not be using your app.

Software (Mobile And Web-Based)

Once you’ve established your mobile strategy, it’s time to invest in software solutions that enable you to keep customers in the loop on important account information and provide them with access to info and updates in real time, 24/7. This is especially true for organizations that provide services around the clock and aren’t bound by a normal 9-to-5 schedule (think emergency facilities management, plumbing and electrical services that may happen at any time). Some software that’s important to this strategy includes:

AI-Powered Chatbots

As a solution, many organizations have opted to supplement traditional customer service emails and call centers with AI-powered chatbots for 24/7 customer query management. These AI-powered assistants can address frequently asked questions and direct customers toward the appropriate resources to navigate their own roadblocks.

Relatively easy-to-implement chatbots offer a cost-effective approach to delivering unwavering customer service.

Software For Smart Scheduling And Dispatching

Harnessing AI and machine learning, companies are fine-tuning technician schedules and routes, substantially enhancing service efficiency and customer satisfaction—a win-win for field service teams and their customers. This enables customers to get access to the booking of the closest, most qualified technician or engineer and be able to schedule and track their arrival in real time.

Hardware

Hardware is another important part of the tech stack for field services businesses to invest in that enables them to keep customers up to date and share data/information seamlessly and transparently. Sure, hardware such as mobile devices/smartphones may seem like something that doesn’t make a difference in what you choose, but the reality is that as you scale, you can’t just depend on all of your field service team members to use their personal smartphones.

Mobile Devices Optimal For FSM

Many durable smartphones are optimal for field service teams, including ones with built-in DMR (digital mobile radio) walkie-talkies. Likewise, there are tablets optimal for FSM that help streamline data collection, job documentation and customer communication.

Extend Device Lifetime With Internet-Of-Things-Enabled Hardware

IoT integrations are paving the way for predictive maintenance strategies. With IoT-equipped devices, customers and service providers can receive service alerts, preemptively addressing maintenance issues to prevent interruptions and fortify customer trust. The benefit to the service provider is the recurring revenue from regular maintenance.

Empowering Technicians Through Training And Development

As service businesses integrate more sophisticated technologies, employees’ training and development becomes crucial. Along with investing in building the tech stack, it’s important to create comprehensive training programs to ensure that all team members can effectively utilize new technologies and maximize their potential for excellence in service delivery and customer satisfaction.

Training ensures that technicians are proficient in using new software and hardware tools, which can significantly reduce the on-the-job learning curve and minimize errors in the field. For example, proper training on smart scheduling tools enables technicians to manage jobs more efficiently, leading to faster response times and increased customer satisfaction. For new tools, consider bringing in an expert to train your teams on the platform’s best practices. This ensures that you are getting full value out of the platform.

Training also ensures that technicians and engineers are part of the conversation. By staying updated on the latest technology, technicians can suggest practical improvements that further streamline operations and improve the customer experience. To boost morale and drive the company’s competitive edge, focus on proactive involvement from the whole team.

Future Directions

Field service’s digital transformation journey is a testament to the broader shift toward adapting consumer behavior in the digital age. Embracing technological innovation and prioritizing customer-centric service models is helping the industry set new benchmarks for engagement and satisfaction.

The future of field service is not merely about problem resolution, but about crafting seamless, interactive and rewarding experiences that align with the evolving expectations of today’s consumers.


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