Technology has changed the nature of service: Amazon ushered in the era of on-demand service, while Uber redefined customer experience. Ready or not, these standards have permeated other industries-and field service is one of them.
Customers aren’t necessarily comparing you to your competitors, they’re comparing you to every service they’ve ever received. This makes keeping your clientele happy extremely challenging. According to a survey conducted by the Service Council, 68% of field service professionals say customer expectations are higher.
So what lessons can we learn from Uber and Amazon to improve customer experience? From these companies’ success we can elicit three keys to improving customer experience: Transparency, convenience, and efficiency.
There are many approaches to improving these areas of your business, but a sure way to modernize your business and tackle each of these areas at once is incorporating field service internet of things (IoT). Incorporating IoT into your field service business will increase the transparency, efficiency, and convenience of your service, resulting in a better customer experience.
The internet of things is an evolving concept. Essentially it refers to devices that can connect to each other wirelessly, but as technology improves, the applications expand.
Specifically, Gartner defines IoT as:
The network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. This excludes general-purpose devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.
IoT serves as the link between Field Service Management and customer engagement. It brings added visibility to your assets and collects large amounts of data that allow your business to offer a more convenient, transparent, and reliable service. In a Gartner survey, 49% of companies said they use IoT to improve customer experience.
Convenience is central to making customers feel like your service does not add unneeded complexity to their lives. IoT enables your business to move away from frequency-based maintenance so that customers don’t have to report issues with your equipment and don’t experience unnecessary downtime. Maintenance based on uptime, instead of frequency, can be accomplished with the following:
Proactive maintenance: Rather than rely on fixed maintenance schedules, internet-connected asset sensors can help monitor anomalies, and enable alerts. Technicians can then intervene to determine the urgency and necessary response taking into consideration the cost and risk of outage.
Predictive forecasting: Performance and asset condition data used in asset performance management applications or other AI driven models can predict outages so that service downtime is limited to the least time possible.
Any process that improves the efficiency of your operations will mean faster service for your customers. The following IoT-enabled capabilities can help do just that:
Remote service: IoT can help with real-time asset monitoring with embedded diagnostics to enable remote access and service. Remote service could also take on the form of self service, allowing customers to complete easy fixes.
Connected service parts management: Tracking the location, performance, and condition of internet-connected assets can facilitate inventory management. Inventory forecasting and demand forecasting can help your business keep the right level of inventory, reducing stock expenses and avoiding repair delays.