Improving Field Service Training with Knowledge Management

There’s no denying field service organizations pour a large amount of time and resources into training new talent. In fact, it’s estimated corporations spent around $19.7 million last year on training expenditures alone.

Effective training increases employee retention – this is a no-brainer! According to a survey by Society for Human Resource Management, one third of newly hired staff quit their jobs after the first six months, with the majority citing lack of skills one of the major reasons they leave. Considering the fact that the Millennial worker is twice as likely to leave a job after two years than their predecessors, it’s no wonder field service organizations are putting more emphasis on training than ever before.

What is Effective Training?

So now the question is, what does effective training look like? Companies have long known that the typical “one and done” onboarding process doesn’t work, and this is especially true for field service. Training needs to be an ongoing process and companies need to figure out how to provide new workers with continuous support in the field, in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

Some companies rely on new staff calling support centers for questions and guidance. But let’s be honest, call center staff are already busy, they don’t need the additional burden of providing support training as well!

A Crucial Component in Field Service

Enter Knowledge Management – organizations are starting to realize what a crucial role this plays in the training process, both initially and throughout the employee’s tenure.

A good knowledge management application will provide the digital training new hires need to learn the solution. It allows for scenario-based learning, which in turn makes lessons more impactful, especially when combined with the ability to refer back as needed. Additionally, some knowledge management platforms will allow trainers to monitor everyone’s progress by providing analytics to see who is accessing what information and work individually with those who need extra guidance.

Also consider that millennials are native tech users and expect access to information at all times. By embracing knowledge management, you’re being the kind of forward-thinking organization that millennials want to work for.

Making Knowledge Management a core component to your training process also makes new hires feel empowered. By giving them access to knowledge in the field, they will feel more confident to handle any task that may come their way. All of this leads to increased retention rates in the company.

Increase Adoption to Drive Efficiency

A common complaint we hear from executives who have implemented new software in the field is that workers “don’t use it”, either out of inertia, lack of training (or confidence in that training), or simply because they prefer the “old way of doing things”.

However, by making knowledge management an essential part of new hire onboarding, not only will it provide additional support in the training process, but it will drive adoption of that technology. We already know knowledge management is crucial in the field, reducing repair times by more than 50% and increasing SLA compliance by more than 26%. Ingraining the use of these tools early on will help companies drive efficiency like never before.

Ready to learn more about how knowledge management can make training more effective and empower your field service engineers?

AnswersAnywhere Announces Integration with ServiceMax Go and Host of New Features

Seattle, WA – October 18, 2019 –
AnswersAnywhere, the leading global provider of knowledge management solutions for field service organizations, today announced integration with ServiceMax Go and the availability of innovative usage analytics and control over the delivery of proprietary technical knowledge.

AnswersAnywhere’s integration with ServiceMax Go, ServiceMax’s new mobile app for service execution management, further supports AnswersAnywhere’s mission of delivering parts and service knowledge to field service engineers when they need it most – on site with a customer. Bo Wandell, Vice President of AnswersAnywhere said, “From inside ServiceMax Go, a field service engineer can call hundreds or thousands of pages of relevant parts and service knowledge simply by pushing the integrated AnswersAnywhere button.” Wandell said that a part selected from an AnswersAnywhere parts list or exploded product diagram can be added automatically to a work order in ServiceMax Go.

According to a Technology Services Industry Association’s (TSIA) research report 2019 Field Services Technology Stack, deploying a knowledge management solution reduced mean time to repair by more than 50% and lowered annual employee attrition rates by over 3 points. “Knowledge management has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a strategic necessity for field service organizations seeking ways enhance efficiency, increase service profits and improve engagement with their mobile device focused workforce,” Wandell said.

Unlike traditional knowledge management software solutions, AnswersAnywhere is a complete outsourced knowledge management service that includes the people, process and technology required to transform disparate parts and technical information into a mobilized knowledge base purpose-built to address the needs of field service engineers. Wandell said, “Developing and deploying a knowledge management strategy in a big corporation is not for the faint of heart, but it is a perfect outsourcing opportunity. Because AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service, we can deploy the first version of a customer’s field service knowledge base in 90 days after project launch.”

According to John Stetic, Senior Vice President of Innovation and ISV Partnerships at ServiceMax, AnswersAnywhere is a seamless complement to ServiceMax. Stetic said, “Our ServiceMax customers are large companies servicing complex assets supported by hundreds of field service engineers around the globe. Productivity and efficiency dramatically improve when field service technicians are provided with the right tools and information via ServiceMax and integrated parts and technical product knowledge from AnswersAnywhere – enabling successful service execution.”

AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax v3.0 also includes new analytics that track and report every interaction with a field service knowledge base. “Field service executives want to understand how parts catalogs and service knowledge are being leveraged in the field so they can draw correlations between usage and achievement of key performance indicators,” Wandell said. “If AnswersAnywhere Analytics uncovers that the top 20% best performing field service engineers also are the most frequent users of the field service knowledge base, that’s an important piece of the puzzle when trying to figure out how to make the remaining 80% more efficient.”

AnswersAnywhere also has released new security functionality called Knowledge Segmentation, aimed at companies that employ third party service providers. Knowledge Segmentation allows field service managers to control access to parts and service knowledge based on audience. Access can be limited to specific products or a much larger subset. Additionally, organizations can create an “expiration date” that allows individuals to access information for a certain length of time, even if the information has been downloaded to a mobile device.

About AnswersAnywhere:
AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service that combines people, process and technology to convert, deliver and continuously update parts and product knowledge for use by field service technicians and technical support representatives. The types of source information that AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts convert into usable, interactive knowledge bases includes FAQs, parts lists, installation and service manuals, schematic drawings, exploded diagrams, product descriptions and alerts, safety notices, database output, images, videos and MS Word and PDF documents.

AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts have created and manage technical product knowledge bases for over 200 companies. For more information, visit www.answersanywhere.com.

About ServiceMax:
ServiceMax is the global leader in Service Execution Management, offering cloud-based software that improves the productivity of complex, equipment-centric service execution. Enterprise companies across the globe have turned to ServiceMax to help them keep the world running. For more information, visit www.servicemax.com.

To watch a demo of AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax, click here!

TSIA Report Field Service

New Report Shows Knowledge Management Reduces Repair Time by 50%

TSIA (Technology Services Industry Association) has released an eye-opening report. The 2019 Field Service Technology Stack report focuses on the importance of technology to field service operations.

It showed that knowledge management had a huge impact on performance, with significant improvements in mean time to repair (>50% reduction) and annual employee attrition rates (down over 3 points).

According to TSIA, a leading firm that helps companies embrace technology, the report further cements knowledge management as a “need to have” among field service organizations. This important technology captures, maintains and reuses knowledge to enhance productivity.

Why such a huge fall in repair time?

Quite simply, when field service engineers have insight from a knowledge base, they can achieve faster repairs. In addition, a good knowledge management process increases engagement, resulting in lower staff turnover.

Why Knowledge Management Reduces Churn Rate

Knowledge management’s correlation to faster repairs isn’t exactly surprising. After all, it’s been well documented in numerous studies – we’ve even written about it many times on this very blog.

The evidence is unanimous that giving field service engineers access to the critical knowledge they need on site will transform fix rates (and if your knowledge management solution is AnswersAnywhere, it will eliminate your incorrect parts orders too).

However, the TSIA report managed to highlight an oft-overlooked benefit of knowledge management in field service organizations – reducing staff turnover (also known as “churn rate”).

High turnover is something that many field service organizations struggle with, and it’s only getting worse as companies lose experienced workers to retirement and millennials fill their shoes. After all, millennials are twice as likely to leave a job after two years and are only half as likely to be employed by the same company after 10 years.

For a while now, industry experts and thought leaders have been saying that one of the best ways to retain millennial employees is to engage and empower them with technology. Now, thanks to the Field Service Technology Stack report, we have evidence that this is indeed the case!

Advice for Organizations that Want to Invest

As equipment becomes more complex, so does the knowledge management needed to complement it. Because of this, it’s difficult for companies to know where to start. The TSIA Report offers these recommendations for investing in knowledge management (and new technology in general):

First, benchmark your technology footprint against other members. If your organization’s technology is lacking, examine where those gaps are and revisit what technology will assist you in meeting your goals.

Also, be sure to include integrations in Phase 1 of the project. Integrating technologies like knowledge management can boost adoption and improve performance. According to TSIA, critical integrations are often pushed to later stages and then end up never getting off the ground.

Read the full TSIA 2019 Field Service Technology Stack Report here.