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doesn’t work if the technician has to scroll through a 200-page installation guide on their phone or sit through an outdated Youtube video to find the answer they need.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.