As we round the corner into the new year, its time for predictions about what the new year will bring. Luckily for me, I have a community of service leaders who offer insights into their plans for 2015. As per 180 of these leaders participating in our recent field service research survey, here are the top five focus areas for the new year.
Source: The Service Council Data 2014
All of these highlight a focus on internal improvement for the field service ranks. Lets dig a little deeper.
- Process Control and Review – Earlier this year, we published research that documented how 65% of organizations were consistently reviewing field service processes. However, most reviews were done with a focus on productivity enhancement and cost control. We see more and more process reviews being done with an eye on revenue improvement and customer satisfaction enhancement. More so, we see organizations looking at their key processes at vital nodes of the field service delivery system (appointment booking, dispatch, field visit, follow up) as well as the impact of process flows on other areas of the field service organization (e.g. how call and appointment management impacts field service delivery) . Therefore organizations are looking for a more linked field service organization.
- Talent – Surprisingly 66% of organizations mentioned that they are able to meet their workload needs with their current resource levels. That said, 55% indicate that the volume of field service work has risen, and there is the looming retirement crisis in the coming years. The biggest areas of focus in the space of talent management will be tied to training and knowledge management. Over the longer term, we see an increased focus in hiring as organizations look to support a changing profile of field service agents.
- Field Service Execution – Our definition of field service execution is tied to the delivery of work once its in the hands of the field agent. In improving a day in the life for these agents, organizations are looking to:
- Remove administrative paperwork and move to mobile applications
- Building a formalized plan to capture and share service knowledge
- Provide increased customer history information in the field
- Develop/acquire new training tools and learning platforms
- IT Infrastructure for Field Service – While the buzz around IT in field service is around wearables, we anticipate that most organizations will focus on the tools necessary to enhance field service execution (bullet 3). Therefore there will be a focus on linking field service functions via automation, mobilizing field workers with information, and providing enhanced means to train field service agents. We also anticipate a greater push towards better business intelligence and into predictive analytics in order for organizations to reduce the reactive component of their field service businesses. Within the wearable sphere, we do see a strong interest in video to support field service resolutions organizations leading to organizations evaluating the tools (wearables or otherwise) that would allow for the seamless flow of video between the field and the service back office.
- Call Management, Dispatch, and Scheduling – In confirmation of bullet 1, organizations are much more aware of the impact of poor call management and dispatch on field service performance. Typical call effectiveness metrics (time on call, ease of appointment setting, appointment window etc.) are incomplete if the subsequent field service visit is invalid due to the wrong technician being scheduled or for the absence of the right part. Everything is connected and organizations are realizing this more and more. In fact, in improving their perfect field service visit rate, organizations cite the following as two of the top four strategies:
- More intelligent schedule and dispatch
- Increased triage at call and appointment management
What does your priority list look like? Let us know.