Field service companies empower technicians with edge technology for greater customer satisfaction and higher revenue
Effective field service technicians are great at unconventional problem solving.
Kind of like the MacGyver of the service industry, many field technicians have had to make do with just a list of their appointments, a stack of paper forms, a clipboard, and a pen. Then it’s up to the technician while out in the field to solve the customer’s issue, provide accurate labor and cost information, collect data about the equipment, and recommend next steps to the customer.
For seasoned field technicians, this do-it-yourself strategy has worked since even before MacGyver was on air in the 1980s. They can come up with ingenious solutions to their customers’ issues efficiently with only a few simple tools.
But with these more experienced technicians soon retiring, field service organizations are looking for ways to get new technicians and apprentices up to speed fast.
That’s why growing field service organizations want to upgrade their edge technology.
But what is the edge and why is it important for the field service industry?
Importance of edge technology for efficient field service delivery
For the field service industry, the edge consists of a company’s mobile field technicians and the equipment they service.
Technicians out in the field need to be self-sufficient. They require easy access to the information and tools they need to get the equipment up and running. But many technicians still depend on manual processes and disconnected systems to complete their work.
Some service companies may manage their service schedule in Outlook and dispatch technicians by sending them a text message. Though these processes and systems may work for a smaller company, field service companies that want to scale up their operations quickly need to empower their technicians with purpose-built tools.
Since technicians use mobile devices to communicate with customers and their office team, adding more power to that device is the most logical next step.
With edge technology, field technicians have access to more data and more capabilities to complete their tasks more efficiently. And that can have a massive impact on the field service company’s revenue, customer satisfaction, and more.
Benefits of edge technology for the field service industry
Edge technology empowers field technicians to do more of the work they love – fixing equipment and providing the best possible customer service experience. After all, technicians likely didn’t get into this industry to spend hours filling out paperwork, like inspection forms and timesheets.
Here are a few more ways edge technology supports technicians in the field.
Automated communication for a better on-site customer experience
With edge technology, communication between field technicians, customers, and the back office proves to be more efficient all around.
One example of communication with edge technology is automated appointment communications by email and text.
This technology enables the customer to receive either a text message or an email notification when the technician is en route and when they arrive on site. And then in that interim, customers are actually able to see the technician on a map, showing where they are.
Another example of technology-supported communication is instant reports of the work completed, thus improving the on-site experience.
With connected field service technology on the technician’s mobile device, the technician is able to send a report at the end of the service when the work is completed. Then the customer is able to receive it instantly in the moment via email, so they don’t have to wait hours to get a report of the work that was done.
This report can include costs, photos of the equipment, the customer signature, and more. With edge technology, technicians can wrap up that entire service experience while still on site.
Equipment data access and collection drives higher service revenue
When service organizations track against equipment, they’re able to monitor how frequently equipment is serviced, and whether the service is preventive maintenance or a break-fix repair.
And from there, field service companies can provide recommendations for proactive service actions. As an example, let’s say a technician goes out and services a piece of equipment five times in the past six months. With that information, the service company can make a recommendation to their customer that they might need to purchase a new piece of equipment to cut the cost of servicing.
However, if the technician shows a lot of data saying that something needs to be repaired, the customer may assume that’s just the technician’s opinion. But if the technician can provide an inspection report, that can help the customer understand the actual situation.
Inspection reports supported by edge technology can include detailed photos that the technician is able to annotate. This allows the technician to point out the dripping oil or the cracked piece of equipment.
With such detailed explanations of the issue, the customer will much more readily sign on for that additional service. Because of the extra data the technician can collect, service companies are likely to see a boost in their revenue.
Improved service delivery consistency and regulatory compliance
Field service organizations are looking to increase not only technician efficiency, but also consistency in service delivery. They need to understand what their star technician is doing so well and help other technicians achieve that.
That’s where edge technology can really help. By configuring a mobile application with standard inspections and defined roles and rights, field organizations can make sure all technicians are looking at the same data, have access to the same information, and are following the same processes.
Consistency is especially important as the organization scales. There’s a big difference between working with five technicians and working with 500 technicians. Using a mobile application can really help field service businesses ensure that consistency in service delivery.
And for field service in highly regulated industries, consistency is especially critical. This could include tracking refrigerants for HVAC service companies or disposing of medical waste for environmental service companies.
Businesses like these must know when the technician arrived on site, what processes they were following, and which forms they completed during that time. There are a lot of industries where that information has to be provided, often to government regulation. Beyond just efficiency and profitability, consistency from a regulatory perspective is also key for many field service sectors.
Conclusion: Investing in edge technology supports field service organizations’ scalability and revenue generation
Edge technology can be a game changer for growing field service organizations. Companies that adopt edge technology can service more customers in less time and with greater consistency.
To learn more about edge technology for field service, listen to the Field Focus podcast episode here. And subscribe to the Field Focus podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the latest insights and best practices to help improve the productivity of your field workforce.