We hear it more and more. Field service empowerment is about improving a day in the life of the field service agent. Granted, we hear this more from field service leadership than from field service agents, but I imagine that field service agents would like their lives to be easier.
So what does it mean? Interestingly, we asked both groups interested in improving field service agents’ lives: field service leadership and field service agents themselves.
The leadership perspective looks like this. These are initial results from our recent field service empowerment survey where we asked leaders what they would like to do to improve a day in the life of their field service agents in the near-term. (Note: These are preliminary results from 90 respondents. Also: Offering them more money wasn’t an option).
Figure: The Improvement Plan
A lot of it ties in with our mobile maturity framework around empowering technicians with devices (level 1 – reduce paperwork) to empowering them with information (level 3 – aid in resolution and revenue). We also see an increased focus on knowledge management and training, areas where organizations in field service are looking to develop strategic plans.
Surprisingly, the leaders aren’t too far off from what their front-line agents want. We were recently engaged in a short interview with front-line agents from two of our community members, BioTek and Vivint. You can access a recording of that conversation here (registration required). On the question of improving a day in the life, the central area of agreement was around the provision of more time to get things done. This tied back primarily to the reduction of paperwork and elimination of administrative tasks. Interestingly, our panel of agents also wanted greater opportunities to interact with their peers from a social and collaborative perspective. While this isn’t captured in the chart above, there is an emphasis from service organizations to offer greater opportunities for collaboration between field groups. The one caution is that this collaboration shouldn’t be limited to the medium of mobile devices, but should be enabled via in-person meetings and workshops.
The one area where there continues to be misalignment between leadership and front-line views is in the complexity of automation provided to field service agents. While the front-line agents generally viewed automation as a good thing, they were weary of being given too many applications to work with. Essentially, they didn’t want to spend most of the day having to navigate through various applications (replacing paperwork with device work), and wanted to spend more time doing actual work. This was asked to the leadership group in our survey, and only 11% pointed out that reducing the number of applications, or consolidating applications, was a strategy being prioritized to make lives easier.
If you are in either one of the groups, let us know how you can improve a day in the life of a field service agent. There is time to participate in our field service survey here.