Don’t worry—this isn’t another blog post about how COVID has changed the field service landscape forever. But I do want to talk about a challenge that was impacting field service before the pandemic and continues today.
According to Service Council’s 2021 Voice of the Field Service Engineer survey, 75% of field service technicians report that products have become more complex, while 91% said greater technical knowledge is needed to perform their jobs today, compared to when they started.
Moreover, as complexity rises, the labor force is rapidly declining, causing many organizations—field service included—to lose key employees and experienced resources at a time when they’re needed most. If companies can’t hire and train employees fast enough, they need to empower their field service workers with new capabilities. But how?
The solution: Seek innovative new technologies to help simplify and automate field service processes. For example, knowledge management tools, digital assistants, and Internet of Things (IoT) data can go a long way to help field service workers more quickly and efficiently resolve complex issues.
Identifying field service management (FSM) solution vendors with a track record of continual innovation is a good starting point for combatting complexity. Keep in mind that innovation comes in many forms.
Perhaps you need an FSM tool that works seamlessly as part of an end-to-end solution for managing the service lifecycle. Your goal is to find a solution flexible enough to support service personnel in the office, as well as those out in the field. Ask yourself: Is your solution vendor adding capabilities for capturing and syncing billing information at the customers’ site? What about features that enable field service technicians to locate and order parts in the field?
Or maybe your field service technicians could more quickly and accurately diagnose equipment issues with access to digital twin data or by collaborating with an expert over an augmented reality (AR)-enabled video call.
Challenge your potential vendors to share examples of their new features or enhancements that can empower your mobile workforce.
During a recent discussion with key field service leaders, one service provider explained how they’ve created a goal to “make it possible for technicians with one year of experience to be able to provide service with the same level of ability as someone who’s done it for 40 years.”
For them, training doesn’t equal competency. It’s essential that new service team members truly understand what good looks like before they can graduate from apprentice or junior technician status. This is an important concept because it goes beyond the traditional support flows of knowledge articles and training videos. There’s an innovation opportunity here, one that involves creating a standard workflow anyone can follow—whether they’re a 40-year veteran, a rookie on their first day, or a third-party contractor.
With a workflow manager, field service organizations can empower and guide any field service worker (with any level of expertise) through whatever service is needed. They can easily configure and manage standard workflows based on the specific service being performed and guide mobile workers through complex processes with a simplified flow that visually tracks progress and next steps—from any device, even when there’s no internet or cell service.
A workflow manager also enables field service managers or dispatchers to see exactly how far along a given service activity is, in near real time, without needing to call or disrupt the technician.
See Workflow Manager for Oracle Field Service in action with this brief demo.
Field service organizations that can master this concept will consistently deliver value for their customers and create an efficient mobile workforce that can manage any task, regardless of the complexity.
In general, the fact that field service is becoming more complex isn’t a bad thing. It stems from products and equipment that are becoming more powerful and capable of improving outcomes for businesses and consumers alike. The exciting and persistent challenge is how solution vendors and service teams can keep pace with product innovation—and meet it with innovation of their own.
Oracle Field Service offers intuitive, AI-powered tools for routing, scheduling, and managing field service technicians. Learn more about how this solution makes it possible to deliver efficient service experiences every time with this quick self-guided product tour.
For more information about field service and field service management software, please read:
John specializes in product strategy for Oracle Service with an industry focus on field service. He has worked in CX, service, and field service for more than 14 years and has over 8 years of experience and expertise with Oracle Field Service, an enterprise-class SaaS solution used in over 55 countries.