The Field Services Talent Gap and How to Mitigate It
As the field services industry continues to emerge from the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pool of service workers has shrunk. The main “gap-filler” and fix for mitigating the impact of the so-called “great resignation” is technology.
Your field service operation must embrace new technology to get the most from existing employees and narrow the talent gap. Your field service technicians can be confident that, as their knowledge and experience increases, they can rely on peers and the years of experience of supervisors with the technology of real-time two-way communication.
In these days of rising customer expectations and shifting loyalties, it is no longer acceptable to tell your customer that your technician will arrive “sometime after noon.” They want to know that the service is on the way and when to expect the technician on scene.
Then there are the added benefits that technology brings to the field service industry. Instant communication features on hand-held devices connect in a perfect storm of customer service to enable the best field services for your customers, support for your technicians, and growth for your business.
Tips to Deliver Best in Class Field Services for Your Customers
Your field service operation can leverage technology with the following benefits for your customers:
1. Provide a live map for accurate and secure location sharing so that managers and customers can have real-time visibility.
Customers appreciate transparency. If you are not keeping your customer informed of the technician’s ETA, it is time to start. The last thing a customer wants is to download another app. You need a platform that will generate text messages or emails to keep the customer advised.
Allow customers and technicians to easily get in contact with each other via text, phone call, email, etc.
The arrival of a technician at a customer’s home or place of business is a disruptive event. Pets must be secured, or work schedules have to be adjusted. Customers appreciate timely notice that a technician is on the way, and ETA communication is the first important step in meeting customer expectations.
2. Provide real-time on-scene support for field service technicians
We have already mentioned how technology can help fill the talent gap. The same technology can be leveraged when customers can share service information with your technicians—by talking with each other directly.
The foregoing applies to technicians who need assistance or guidance on the job. You can extend the work life of your senior technicians, who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Make those senior experts available for instant advice and troubleshooting and you’ll have fewer second visits and happier customers. Those senior technicians can work from home or at your service desk.
3. Employ two-way smart messaging
Your technology should be able to send and receive messages between customers, the field technician, and your senior expert in real time. Everyone can be on the same page with proactive messaging based on specific triggers or events you designate and control.
Your smart messaging needs to take advantage of webhooks—lightweight APIs to power one-way data sharing—or third-party endpoints for seamless integration and organization of communications on the web.
4. After a field service is completed, allow your customers to provide feedback while the experience is still fresh, instead of waiting a day or two for follow-up.
Your technology should support the 5-star or NPS models of customer satisfaction. Or, if your preference is to customize the feedback you need, look for a free-form option. Ideally, you’ll want the feedback integrated with other customer analytics platforms you employ.
5. Offer day-of-service promotions
Customers who log into your journey tracking typically stay six to eight minutes. Those customers can be targeted with special offers or can be shown third-party ads for your other services or today’s special deal.
6. Pay attention to the field service metrics you should be tracking.
Cami Zimmer, the Chief Business Officer for Glympse, in her blog Four Key Field Service Metrics You Should Be tracking, provides the following focus on important key metrics for delivering best-in-class field services to your customers:
Key Metric #1: Track customer call volume.
Keep track of the number of customer assistance calls before, during, and after the field tech is on the scene. If those calls are increasing, your customer service may be slipping.
It could be time, according to Cami, “to implement an AI-powered solution”—a chatbot, or interactive voice response tool to take the strain off your existing staff.
Key Metric #2: Track your field technician’s time on site.
One indicator of the performance of your field technicians is how much time they spend at your customer sites. You can track individual technicians and compare their times against the average of all your technicians. If the average time on site for every service call is about an hour, you can calculate travel time and schedule your work accordingly.
If your plan doesn’t survive its contact with reality, it is important that customers are alerted quickly and that you can automatically respond with notifications to customers with upcoming appointments.
Key Metric #3: Track upselling by field service technicians
If your field service technicians do well convincing customers to upgrade your services or replace equipment about to fail, you can track who does that best and provide awards and incentives.
Alternatively, the day-of-service offers discussed above—in-app ads, special offers—etc., can open the door to upselling and more revenue.
Key Metric #4: Track customer satisfaction scores
You followed the above advice on allowing your customers to provide feedback. You notice that customer satisfaction is declining. Your troubleshooting options are:
- track and improve your service process
- track routes, travel time, and time on-site
- improve job scheduling to match customer preferences and expectations
The Glympse Platform Can Help You Deliver the Best Field Services.
The Glympse real-time geolocation solution is the foundation for tracking key field service metrics. A safe and secure platform, Glympse integrates easily into your current data storage environment.
Contact us and learn how Glympse can work for your business.