3 Ways Unused Data is Harming Your CX

Customer expectations have shifted rapidly due to the pandemic. Combine this with the ongoing talent shortage, the wave of retiring baby boomers and the growing complexity of equipment, and customer satisfaction ratings can feel like a constantly moving target.

In a recent survey from the Service Council, service leaders reported that Customer Experience (CX) initiatives are the number one focus for their organization in 2021. Unfortunately, Forrester Research found that although the overwhelming majority of companies want to be Customer Experience (CX) leaders, only one in five actually deliver good or great CX.

The Solution Lies in Siloed Data

Many organizations are turning to digital solutions to improve the relationship between themselves and their customers. Too often, these solutions are costly investments that require long implementation times. While they certainly still have their place in the digital transformation strategy, organizations should also be looking closer to home.

Most companies are already sitting on a wealth of unused parts and technical data that can be easily repurposed to help alleviate industry challenges. Here are 3 ways that unused data negatively impacts an organization’s CX:

1.     Hindered Efficiency

Aberdeen Group reports that 61% of service executives say a technician failing to resolve an issue on the first visit is the top customer complaint. This highlights that, above all else, your customer wants an efficient fix. By leaving unused parts and servicing data locked up in silos and inaccessible to service technicians in the field, organizations are missing an enormous opportunity to improve fix rates.

In a recent study, Aberdeen Group found that nearly 20% of first-visit repairs are missed because the technician did not have access to the correct technical information. By making parts and technical information available to field service technicians on their mobile device, organizations can dramatically decrease time on site, increase first time fixes, improving the service experience for their customers.

2.     Less Effective Training

The increasing talent shortage is one of the most pressing issues facing field service companies today. According to Service Council research, almost 57% of field service organizations report challenges finding enough talented technicians. And once those organizations find the talent, they are then struggling to keep them. 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.

It isn’t just new hires that require better training. In a 2021 survey by The Service Council, more than 90% of field service technicians say they require more knowledge than ever before to service products. The need for upskilling among all technicians has never been greater. Meeting this need will create more confident and capable technicians, positively impacting a customer’s experience.

Being able to reference critical information like parts catalogs, diagrams, and service manuals from their mobile device give less experienced technicians the support they need out in the field. Additionally, CAD data can be repurposed into interactive 3D instructions to create a powerful training tool that increases comprehension through near hands-on experience and applied learning.

3.     Unempowered Customers

Self-service is quickly becoming hardwired into customer behavior: 81% of customers across all industries attempt to take care of things themselves before reaching out to a company. Any organization wishing to improve CX must increase focus on providing more opportunities for customer self-service. According to Field Technologies, companies that offered some form of self-service had a whopping 71% increase in customer satisfaction rates.

Customers want to feel empowered, and knowledge is power. Transforming CAD data and servicing and installation information into a curated knowledge base or 3D instructions will help customers find the answers they need to common problems and simple fixes, freeing up technicians to work on the more complex issues.

A Simple Fix Leads to CX Gains

It’s clear that lack of access to knowledge can thwart a company’s CX goals. The good news is that organizations already have everything they need to empower technicians and customers quickly and effectively. By first focusing on breaking down information silos and repurposing their unused CAD, parts and technical data, companies can rapidly deliver efficiency gains, bridge the skills gap and create more opportunities for self-service. 

Want to learn more? AnswersAnywhere helps organizations repurpose existing data to deliver mobile, online/offline information solutions, including 3D instructions, parts catalogs and curated knowledge bases.

 

Is Your Organization Ready for the Next Customer Experience Megatrend?

Author and corporate consultant Kerry Bodine said, “Exceptional customer experiences are the only sustainable platform for competitive differentiation.” This statement has never been truer in field service, where customer experience has overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator for most organizations.

In a new survey from the Service Council, service leaders reported that Customer Experience (CX) initiatives is the number one focus for their organization in 2021. At the same time, Forrester Research found that although the overwhelming majority of companies want to be customer experience (CX) leaders, only one in five actually deliver good or great CX.

Self-Service is critical to CX success

While service leaders are ready and willing to embrace CX as a priority, the question arises: what does that look like and how can it be deployed to deliver the most improvement to customer satisfaction? More than ever, customers are demanding convenience, control and efficiency when interacting with service organizations. This trend has only been bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhancing the customer experience means an increasing focus on providing more opportunities for customer self-service. According to Field Technologies, companies that offered some form of self-service enjoyed a whopping 71% greater improvement on customer satisfaction rates compared to those that do not.

3 tips for turning customers into fixers

Self-service is not only the next megatrend in field service – it’s the way forward for any company that wants to remain competitive and profitable. Here are three suggestions for ensuring your self-service program is providing the most empowerment for your customers.

1. Don’t forget to visualize

According to Aberdeen Group, the most common form of self-service companies currently offer is Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). While these certainly have their place in any self-service offering, FAQs are usually text-based and offer little, if any, visual guidance. If the customer is trying fix a problem and avoid a call to the support center, reading through a bunch of text just won’t suffice.

Customers will be much more empowered if they have access to visual knowledge like how-to videos and tutorials. These are a much more effective way to walk customers through the steps of installing or troubleshooting a piece of equipment. It will also go further to ensuring customer satisfaction and self-service adoptions in the future. Remember that old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? When it comes to self-service, this is very true!

2. Keep the knowledge updated

You wouldn’t send your service technicians into the field with outdated, inaccurate information. The same applies for your customers. Nothing will sink a self-service program faster than giving them unhelpful information.

No matter what form it comes in, self-service offerings will never be a “set it and forget it” solution. Customers must be able to access helpful and relevant content and not material for an outdated product. Because of this, your self-service offering will never truly be a “finished” project. It needs to be updated and constantly improved upon.

3. When in doubt, let the professionals handle it

Which brings us to our final point – most companies don’t have the technology, manpower or know-how to design, build, deploy and continuously maintain a solid self-service offering. This is why so many programs fail to ever get off the ground.

Fortunately, outsourcing offers the perfect ingredients of people, process and technology to ensure your self-service initiative is a success for both you and your customers. As with any knowledge offering, it’s important that you work with a professional service provider, and not just a solution provider. As mentioned above, a good self-service program will never be finished. Finding a professional that will work with you to ensure information and technology is always up-to-date and optimized will guarantee your customers are as empowered as possible and your IT department isn’t overly burdened.

Helping customers help themselves

Customer experience is the key to any organization that wishes to remain afloat. More than ever, customer expectations are soaring, and patience is thinning. Customers want the opportunity to fix it themselves and organizations are going to have to deliver. However, it is critical that organizations don’t sacrifice either the customer experience or the efficiency of their internal staff by doing so.

To avoid this, provide your customers with visual knowledge, make sure that knowledge is up-to-date and optimized, and work with a professional service provider. When self-service support is done right, it is guaranteed to deliver results.

Interested in empowering your customers and field service technicians with AnswersAnywhere’s new 3DAnswers instructional videos?

What is the Missing Piece in the Salesforce Field Service Puzzle?

Managing field service operations in today’s world is challenging. Talent shortages and increasing equipment complexity are placing new pressures on organizations, while customer expectations grow more demanding.

Many companies have turned to Salesforce Field Service to help manage operations, increase productivity and improve customer experience. While there is no doubt that Salesforce Field Service is a capable solution for the job, it is not equipped for delivering the relevant servicing documentation, parts information or visual support technology that technicians need when they are working in a mobile environment. This can be problematic considering onsite is often when they are in most need of this information.

As a manager and Salesforce Field Service user recently lamented to me, “There are so many different places within my organization to find information. It can be challenging because of the number of sources the field service techs have to go look at or be familiar with to find the information they need to do their jobs.”

This is a common sentiment that many field service managers and technicians have echoed recently. A 2021 survey from the Service Council, over 90% of field service technicians said that more knowledge than ever is required to do their jobs. This is why it is so important that service technicians and customer support staff have the right tools at their disposal.

Field Service Show and Tell

If field service companies wish to thrive in the face of today’s challenges, they must not only increase information accessibility, but deliver it in a way that empowers technicians of all the skill levels and learning styles to perform effectively and efficiently. This is a term I like to refer to as “Show and Tell”.

The answer lies in integrating Salesforce Field Service with a solution that provides technicians with powerful visual 3D instructions while also delivering relevant parts and technical documentation, all from directly within the Salesforce Field Service work order.

3D Technology is Necessary to Tackle Increasing Product Complexity

The way your field service technicians learn, work and communicate is changing drastically. A recent study from Techsmith found that 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s visually communicated, while 58% say they remember visually communicated information longer than written information. This means that not providing your under 40 technicians with visual information in the field is hampering their productivity, efficiency and confidence.

Many organizations are addressing this need by repurposing existing CAD data to create interactive 3D instructions. Technicians can interact with and manipulate digital twins on their mobile device, while being guided through step-by-step installation, service and repair instructions.

These powerful visual renderings are designed to increase comprehension, so even the greenest of technicians has the necessary information to perform at the level of the most experienced one. 3D instructions relay information in a way your NextGen engineers are most receptive to, demonstrating processes in a clear, easy-to-understand way, so companies can upskill new hires faster and lessen the burden of training on more experienced staff.

Turning Corporate Silos into Corporate Treasure Chests

Providing field service technicians with access to technical and parts documentation is an important ingredient for efficiency field service. While most organizations recognize this on some level, many still struggle to provide this information in a way that sets their field service techs up for success, because so much valuable information remains locked up in corporate silos.

TSIA’s State of Knowledge Management report found that, on average, technicians visit 13 separate sources of information to solve a single customer issue. While Salesforce Knowledge does an excellent job when it comes to knowledge articles, it falls short in two areas.

First, it isn’t built to handle field service information. Specifically, the installation manuals, servicing documentation, parts lists, exploded diagrams, fault finding charts, how-to videos, and all the other critical information that technicians depend on to do their job. Second, technicians still need to leave the work order in Salesforce Field Service and search through multiple sources of information to find the answer they need.

Technicians not only need access to all the relevant technical and parts information directly from their work order, but this information should be transformed from unwieldy PDFs into smart, searchable documents and intelligent parts catalogs that can be made available online or offline.

Additionally, the responsibility to populate and keep Salesforce Knowledge updated still falls on the organization to do, a task that can quickly go from time-consuming to overwhelming. Therefore, working with a provider who will provide this service for your organization is critical to keep pressures off internal resources and make sure your knowledge base is updated and accurate.

Completing the Salesforce Field Service Puzzle

Salesforce Field Service is one of the most powerful tools available for organizations to effectively manage their field service operations. However, it does not provide a complete picture.

If service leaders truly wish to bridge knowledge gaps within their organization, ensure technicians are “field-ready” and meet customer demands, they must invest in an integrated solution that will provide technicians with the visual and documentational knowledge required for a fast and accurate fix.

Ready to supercharge Salesforce Field Service? Learn more here.

Does Your Field Service Organization Show and Tell?

The way your field service technicians learn, work and communicate is changing. A recent study from Techsmith found that millennials are more visually minded than previous generations:

  • 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually.
  • 58% say they remember information for longer if it has been communicated visually.
  • 54% say they remember more from visual content than from text alone.

This is a huge shift from previous generations, who generally prefer information that is communicated through traditional methods, like written instructions, or a combination of text and images.

Bottom line: not providing your under 40 technicians with visual information in the field is hampering their productivity, efficiency and confidence.

However, it isn’t just your Millennial technicians who are asking for better knowledge to do their job. A 2021 survey from the Service Council, over 90% of field service technicians said that more knowledge is required to service increasingly complex products.

It’s all about Field Service Show and Tell

How can an organization ensure their technicians have the knowledge they require to maintain an increasingly complex install-base while meeting generational needs?

The answer is “Show and Tell”.

If you want to arm your technicians with the right weapon to do battle with complex equipment and growing customer demands, you need to provide access to relevant parts and technical documentation while also delivering powerful visual instructions.

By delivering a robust knowledge solution that provides visual and documentational support, you can enable all the skill levels and learning styles of technicians to perform effectively and efficiently.

Of course, this doesn’t mean giving your techs a shared folder filled with PDFs and a handful of how-to videos. “Show and Tell” doesn’t work if the technician has to scroll through a 200-page installation guide on their phone or sit through an outdated Youtube video to find the answer they need.

Documentation Must be Intelligent and Mobile

Delivering technical documentation and accurate parts lists sounds like Field Service 101. However, too often this data is delivered in ways that are unreasonable and inefficient.

Today’s field service technicians rely heavily on their phones in all aspects of life, including in the field. Therefore, they need to be able to access critical knowledge on their phones as well. This means that technical and parts information not only needs to be optimized for a mobile device, but it must be available offline in case they’re working in an area with poor or no connectivity.

Additionally, the knowledge needs to connect the dots. TSIA’s State of Knowledge Management report found that, on average, technicians access 13 separate sources of information to solve customer issues. It isn’t enough to just provide access to the parts and technical documents. The documents need to include smart searching and intelligence that links relevant information. By doing so, companies can dramatically cut down on the time techs spend searching for answers.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the information techs are looking at is accurate and up to date. Working from an outdated parts list will do no favors to a company’s first time fix rates and will cause technicians to lose confidence in the knowledge base quickly. 

3D is the Key to Powerful Visuals

Of course, documentation is only half the puzzle. Companies must also make sure the visual support they are providing is equally valuable. While how-to videos have their place, they just don’t cut it in today’s digitally transformed world.

Innovations in 3D technology now enable manufacturers and field service organizations to repurpose existing CAD data to create digital twins of equipment. These 3D animations allow technicians to interact with and manipulate exact replicas on their mobile device, while being guided through step-by-step installation, service and repair instructions.

3D instructions have the power to increase comprehension of complex equipment and complicated tasks that 2D videos can’t deliver. Often, these solutions can also be created in a fraction of the time and overcome language barriers much easier than traditional videos.

It’s Not as Difficult – or Expensive – as You Think

A robust “Show and Tell” solution probably sounds like it requires a lot of time, resources and room in the budget. However, most companies already have everything they need to create a solution like this. The secret lies in an organization’s siloed CAD data, parts, and technical information.

Most organizations have a wealth of this data ready to be put to use. Working with a provider that has the expertise and experience to repurpose this information and deliver it via multiple channels will help organizations accelerate their digital transformation while keeping internal resources free.

In the Age Of 3D, Why are Companies Still Relying on PDFs?

The Digital Transformation has marked a radical rethinking of how field service organization use technology to do business. Simply “getting by” with outdated technology is not a viable option for any company that wants to stay competitive and profitable.

Despite this rapid digital acceleration, one holdover from the Jurassic period still remains: the PDF.

The PDF is Not Fit for Human Consumption

PDFs were created in 1993 and it shows.

In this digital era, PDFs are unfit for human consumption. PDFs are linear and limiting, outdated and clunky. This is even more true for the millennial user who has grown up viewing information on web browsers and mobile devices.

PDFs take a painfully long time to load, particularly if they’re large files (I’m looking at you, service manuals). It’s also impossible to update them after they’ve been published, and once distributed, it’s impossible to recall them. This make it near impossible for an organization to ensure their technicians are all working with the most updated information.

Additionally, PDFs are difficult to navigate because users have no quick way of getting to the information they need. Search functions are limited, there’s no way to return to previous sections and even clickable table of contents require users to scroll all the way back up to the top if they want to navigate somewhere else in the document. Consider how tedious this would be with a 200-page service manual.

Finally, PDF are fixed layout documents. This means that they always render the same regardless of device or screen size. In other words, they require a lot of pinching, zooming, and squinting to find the exact information they need. Another tedious, time-wasting task for a harried technician.

Field Service Technicians Need More Than “Good Enough”

All of this adds up to one thing: your field service technicians hate the PDF. It makes your workers less efficient, less accurate and more stressed out, leading to failed KPIs, customer dissatisfaction and higher churn rates among your workers.

For far too long, organizations have taken the “good enough” approach to knowledge management. Expecting your field service technicians to scroll through hundreds of pages of PDFs to locate important – even critical – information wasn’t ideal, but it was “good enough”.

However, times are changing. Field service is in a labor crunch. Baby boomers are retiring, companies are struggling to fill skilled trade positions, and 3rd party technicians are more prevalent than ever. All of this is exacerbating the field service knowledge gap.

Whether or not organizations continue to take the “good enough” approach will be the different between sinking and swimming.

Using 3D Technology Can Slash the Skills Gap

Fortunately, organizations seem to be recognizing this. One technology is gaining traction in the field service world at rapid speed: 3D instructions.

Field service technicians need access to hundreds of pieces of information to install, service, and maintain today’s complex equipment. Not only can 3D instructions deliver this information more effectively and coherently than flat, limiting PDFs, but they also outperform other visual aids like 2D diagrams or videos.

3D instructions can deliver what other instructions can’t: the ability to interact with a digital replica of a piece of equipment. Users can follow a series of animated steps that bring the product to life, viewing it from all angles as they are visually instructed on the installation or repair procedure.

3D Instructions Deliver the Ultimate Digital Acceleration

3D instructions also have a big advantage over their visual relatives like VR and AR (although these certainly have their own place in digital transformation strategies) – both creation and deployment are often much faster and easier.

Since 3D instructions are created by repurposing manufacturers’ existing CAD data, companies aren’t tasked with creating a solution from the ground up. They don’t require any in-depth training or expensive, complicated hardware to use. Technicians can access the instructions straight from their laptop or mobile device. 

Moreover, it is the perfect outsourcing opportunity for companies that wish to avoid investing time, money or resources into the creation and maintenance of 3D instructions. Using an experienced, knowledgeable provider who has access to the technology and expertise allows companies to focus on internal responsibilities, lessens the burden on IT staff and frees up resources for other digital transformation projects.

Smarter Field Service Requires Smarter Knowledge

Equipment is getting smarter and field service technicians can’t be expected to rely on “Jurassic-era” technology like the PDF to do their job effectively and efficiently. The labor crunch and subsequent skills gap in field service means that organizations must get better in how they use technology to train, upskill and support their service technicians in the field.

With 3D instructions, organizations can modernize knowledge delivery by creating interactive training environments, facilitating tribal knowledge transfer and providing powerful visual support in the field.

Ready to learn more about leveraging 3D instructions to transform service for your field service organization?

Field Technologies Q&A: Transforming the way work gets done

Transform the Way Work Gets Done

Bo Wandell, President of AnswersAnywhere sat down with Field Technologies to discuss their Smart3D solution and how 3D Interactive Instructions can improve efficiency, make 3rd party technicians more effective and change the way organizations are addressing the skills gap across field operations. 

Click on the button below to go to Field Technologies Online and read the interview. 

3D Instructions – The Bridge Over the Field Service Knowledge Gap

The field service knowledge gap is rearing its ugly head in just about every field service organization. According to the Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Q3 2021 survey, a whopping 69% of companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring – a 15-year high. Market dynamics are causing the knowledge gap to widen to the point where customer satisfaction is suffering, labor costs are increasing, and margins are under pressure.

The knowledge gap is aggravated by three irreversible employment trends that have combined into a “perfect storm” of challenges for field service executives. First, we are facing an unprecedented Silver Tsunami with baby boomer service technicians retiring in droves. Second, industrialized countries are experiencing tight labor markets where companies face more difficulty than ever attracting and retaining skilled workers. Third, products are getting more complex. Ten years ago, few would have predicted that coffee-making equipment or commercial washing machines would carry onboard CPUs, have software interfaces, and be connected to the Internet.

Technicians Need Better Knowledge

The difficulty hiring service staff and the growing complexity of equipment presents new challenges for field service managers. In the Service Council’s 2021 survey of 900 field service technicians, over 90% said they needed more knowledge to meet their job responsibilities. If younger field service technicians are expected to service increasingly complex products, they must have easier access to technical information unintentionally locked up in corporate silos or trapped in the heads of their baby boomer teammates.

The challenge facing field service executives is capturing and making available valuable installation and servicing knowledge. One innovative and cost-effective solution is repurposing CAD data produced by product design teams to develop 3D instructions that are delivered to the field service staff’s mobile devices.

It’s no secret that a field service organization’s success is dependent on the speed and quality of the service provided by its technicians. Long gone are the days when field service technicians could quickly flip through a service manual to find the information needed to install or repair a product.

Even the best examples of 2D installation and servicing instructions can still leave less-experienced field service technicians confused and frustrated as they struggle to interpret the steps to a successful installation or repair.

Today’s sophisticated equipment requires hundreds of pieces of information to install, service, and maintain – information that is not easily digestible from PDF manual. It’s no wonder technicians are frustrated by the lack of quality knowledge available while on-site with a customer.

3D Makes the Complex More Digestible

3D instructions deliver information more efficiently by providing the visual elements lacking in traditional 2D PDF-based installation and service documentation.

New software technologies have been introduced that allow CAD data to be repurposed to generate a digital twin of a product including realistic images and animations.

With 3D instructions, field service technicians can interact with a digital twin of the product being installed or serviced including looking at the product from all angles. The technical information in a well-designed 3D instruction is the same as a 2D PDF; however, the technician follows a series of animated steps that bring the product to life and visually instruct the technician on the installation or repair procedures. In most 3D instructions, only limited text is used which minimizes the need for language localization.

Imagine being asked to replace the ink toner cartridge on an industrial printer that you rarely service. Your only information resource is a 300-page service manual in PDF format downloaded to your mobile phone. Translating what you read in the tiny text into a series of steps to replace the toner cartridge is a frustrating scenario that will increase the technician’s time on site and decrease first-time fix averages. Most likely, the technician will telephone a teammate to find help tying up two staff members.

Now, imagine how confident and knowledgeable you would feel replacing the toner cartridge if step-by-step instructions using a digital twin of the printer were accessible on your mobile phone.

3D instructions deliver the information that “green” field service technicians need without utilizing the valuable time of a more experienced coworker. With the use of links, technicians are not confined to just linear, 2D instructions. They can jump back and forth to different steps or even to a completely different set of instructions or web page.

The Future is 3D

The source of 3D installation and servicing instructions are repurposed CAD files that your product team created when designing the original product. It won’t be long before 3D instructions are essential to every field service organization’s digital transformation roadmap. Reducing technicians’ time on site, the number of telephone calls to teammates, and the number of times those calls turn into repeat service calls is a huge competitive advantage that will result in happier customers and less harried, more effective technicians.

Ready to learn more about leveraging 3D instructions to transform service for your field service organization?

Right to Repair and Shifting Customer Expectations: Are You Ready?

Field service is undergoing a major transformation. Equipment is getting more complex, the skills gap is growing and the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation like nothing before. Additionally, the “right to repair” movement is making waves across the US and EMEA, presenting another challenge for an already fluctuating industry.

What is Right to Repair?

Simply put, Right to Repair is aimed at allowing people to fix their own products or take them to whoever they choose to repair. In many cases, manufacturers control both the supply of parts and the software needed to fix their equipment and consumers risk voiding out their warranty if they don’t have their equipment – whether it’s a cellphone or a tractor – fixed by manufacturer-approved service.

As equipment grows more complex, specialized technology like computer chips, encryption, and password-protected diagnostic tools are required for diagnostics or repair. Right to Repair aims to make all of this available to consumers and independent repair engineers.

Factors such as changing consumer demands and customers’ need to feel empowered, as well as concerns for overflowing landfills and greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturers have been driving towards Right to Repair for years now.

Currently, 14 states are either currently introducing or already debating “Right to Repair” legislation, and companies can be sure that more states will follow suit.

Additionally, last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to enforce laws around right to repair, ensuring that US consumers will be able to repair their own electronic and automotive devices.

There is no doubt that Right to Repair holds a lot of benefits for both the environment and consumers. However, some manufacturers oppose this notion, arguing that it will make products less secure and could expose consumers to safety risks.

What Does Right to Repair Mean for Field Service?

It’s a good question, and one that experts are still trying to figure out. What it may mean is that right to repair could increase competition with vendor and OEM service teams by accelerating demand for 3rd party service agents. Or it could be that vendors and OEMs try and expand their teams with 3rd party service agents, something many are already doing thanks to the skills gap and the pandemic.

Above all, right to repair underscores shifting customer expectations. Customers want to minimize downtime and cost from parts and labor as much as possible. They want to avoid unnecessary and inconvenient service appointments and engineer visits. And most of all, they want to be able to do basic repairs whenever possible.

This means that field service organizations must start placing customer experience at the forefront and start investing in the tools necessary to deliver on all of these demands.

How Can Organizations Prepare?

The pandemic has rapidly accelerated the digital transformation and research is showing that field service executives are committed to investing in solutions to that will bring their company up to speed. However, it’s important that they are investing their money in the right areas:

  • Self Service: Focusing on tools that will enable self-service, such as knowledge bases, FAQ’s and 3D animations will be crucial in helping organizations – and customers – adjust to right to repair with ease.
  • Efficiency: Organizations need to make sure they are supplying their field service teams, customer service representatives and 3rd party workers with the knowledge they need. Having quick access to accurate servicing and parts information will ensure fast fixes and minimize down time.
  • Cost Lowering: Return visits, unnecessary truck rolls and incorrect parts orders are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to excessive operational costs. The right mobile knowledge tools will dramatically decrease all three, increasing profit margins.

Industry experts are still trying to figure out how right to repair is going to impact the field service sector. However, there is no doubt that companies who are already dedicated to digitally-driven service and enhanced customer experiences will fare better than the laggards. By investing now in the tools needed to future-proof your organization, you will be able to minimize any negative impacts and rise above the shifting tides.

Is Your Field Service Organization Future-Proof?

Preparing the Workforce of the Future

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that no one can predict what the future will hold. The resiliency of field service has never been more in the spotlight. This last year, companies learned just how flexible their operations were. Unfortunately, some where left scrambling to adapt to “new norms”.

Now it seems like things are slowly getting back to normal and you might think that organizations are breathing a little easier. However, a recent study found that 95% of CXOs expect to be hit by another crisis in the near future. This might seem all “doom and gloom” but consider this – we’ve already experienced 3 global disasters in the last 20 years.   

Whether or not a company begins to prepare now for the next crisis will be the deciding factor between which companies successfully weather the next storm and which do not. However, between technological transformation and the changing workforce landscape, trying to think ahead can feel overwhelming. So, what is a company to do?

Here are the three areas you need to focus on now to help you prepare the workforce of the future. And they all have one thing in common: outsourcing.

Future-Proofed Technology

More than ever, the technology your organization invests in must be flexible enough to adapt to a changing environment. Organizations need to implement modern field service solutions that can be deployed quickly and cost efficiently. However, the increasing complexity and speed of change of technology makes this difficult. With technology expected to evolve exponentially and become more disruptive in the coming years, investing in the latest technology may not be an option for most companies.

Outsourcing provides access to the latest available technology, allow companies to remain competitive and relevant. Organizations can mitigate risk by avoiding investment in technology and resources that could become redundant quickly, while giving them flexibility and scalability they need to be future proof.

By finding a technology provider familiar with the latest trends and innovations, as well as the knowledge and experience to deploy it to your team, you will save your organization the cost of investing in-house. 

Future-Proofed Workforce

Before the pandemic, a report by the Service Council found that half of of field service organizations reported challenges finding enough talented technicians. COVID-19 has certainly driven this number higher.

By now, you have heard of the rising gig economy and the benefits it has for field service organizations. Some companies have already included on-demand workers as an integral part of their current operations. No doubt, these companies were able to remain flexible and adapt quickly to the uncertainties 2020 brought their way.

If they haven’t already, companies should be seriously investigating how a 3rd party workforce can fit into their future-proof roadmap. Contracted workers give businesses the operational scalability needed during uncertain times, as well as access to workers with more specialized skill sets.

Future-Proofed Knowledge   

The importance knowledge plays in a field service organization’s ability to be successful during a crisis has been proven ten-fold during the pandemic. Unfortunately, many organizations found themselves relying on it more than ever and companies soon realized that their “good enough” knowledge management procedures were no longer sufficient.

The need for knowledge isn’t going away soon. According to the Service Council, 70% of service organizations indicated that they would be burdened by the knowledge loss of a retiring workforce in the next 5 to 10 years.

Implementing knowledge management can be an overwhelming task. Creating, delivering and maintaining an effective knowledge solution takes a combination of people, process and technology in order to be successful, and most companies lack the inside talent, software and time to do it. In fact, we’ve heard from many companies using in-house systems realized just how insufficient their current way of doing things was last year.

Working with a knowledge management provider that not only has the know-how, but access to the latest tech, qualified experts is the best way to ensure you get an effective, and accelerated, strategy in place.

Outsourcing is the Future

It’s not a matter of “if” the next crisis will hit. It’s a matter of “when”. Fortunately, outsourcing provides the necessary ingredients for companies to remain resilient and adaptable when faced with the unexpected.

Outsourcing gives businesses the ability to create opportunities for digital growth that they wouldn’t otherwise have, while letting employees focus on their main roles. Organizations can build teams of skilled professionals for both core and non-core functions without adding the expense of full-time employees, as well as shift areas of operations globally during a crisis.