You’ve probably felt changes in the field service industry throughout the last year. It’s not your imagination. The industry is changing rapidly. In fact, the field service management market is expected to grow to $6.68 billion by 2023. It was valued at just $2.86 billion two years ago.
In 2019, we’ve seen both technology and unique trends driving this growth, and there are new changes on the horizon. Wondering what to expect as the industry marches into 2020?
Read on. Here’s a look at the patterns of the past year and what we expect to see in 2020:
Top Field Service Industry Trends from 2019
Internet of Things
You’ve probably heard something about the Internet of Things (IoT) in recent years. What is all the IoT hype about? Basically, IoT is a network of connected devices that are able to send signals and communicate with one another. For instance, in smart homes, it’s the technology that lets you control your thermostat or lights by simply speaking.
This year, the technology became a force in the field service industry. As of 2018, 42 percent of field service organizations had already deployed IoT into their business, and 31 percent had made plans to deploy it throughout the next two years.
In the field service industry, this technology is making it easier to connect teams and understand how devices are working at all times. For example, in the past, when a unit broke down, an office worker set an appointment, a tech was called onto the scene, and the tech diagnosed the problem on the job. However, what if sensors within the unit were to alert field service workers the moment a problem springs up?
This is becoming increasingly possible with IoT technology. That means business owners can be more proactive and create plans in advance rather than having to react to malfunctions on the fly.
Today, technology is letting workers stay connected and informed regardless of their location. Mobile technology led the way in 2019. In fact, more than 62 percent of field service leaders now use a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy.
In many cases, workers are taking rugged mobile devices with them to jobs. If you’re a tech, that means you can look up problems, log job histories, and pull up quotes on the spot.
For office workers, it makes it possible to check on inventory before sending a truck out to a job. It means they can see where techs are at any given moment, and that means easier scheduling, better communication, and a smoother workday.
With this interconnected technology, we’re also seeing new possibilities in predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance relies on IoT sensors and analytics to tip pros off when a unit is due for repairs or likely to break down.
That means we’re seeing more prompt fixes and adjustments that stop major disasters and boost customer satisfaction. Predictive maintenance is cutting out timely diagnostic steps and letting techs arrive on the scene ready to make fixes.
What We Learned from 2019
If advancements within field service management from 2019 could be boiled down into a word, it very well might be “connectivity.” IoT devices, mobility, and predictive maintenance are all creating more connected technology and teams.
As the field service industry gets more of a taste of these advancements, businesses can take the reins and become even more proactive. For instance, an office worker with new technology no longer needs to worry about searching for techs. Now, office workers can see where techs are in real time. At the same time, if you’re a tech waiting on a part, you can check in on the status of shipments and inventory. Then you can relay that to the customer.
All in all, technology has continued to bring teams together in 2019, and that’s improving outcomes for workers and customers.
Looking to 2020
As we move into 2020, expect these technological advancements to improve, open up new opportunities, and sprout new needs. Here are some things to look out for in 2020:
Soft Skills Grow in Importance
As businesses move to more proactive systems, customer service will be that much more important. It’s already a high priority. Today, 50 percent of organizations rank technicians’ soft skills training as their top or second priority.
As customers see more immediate solutions and on-the-spot answers become the norm, their expectations will grow. That means the demand for techs and office workers with solid customer service skills will grow as well.
Data Becomes Key
As technology drives better outcomes, it will rely on data to fuel it. Think of the shopping experience of just 15 years ago versus that of today. Once upon a time, you had to write out a shopping list, drive to the store, and compare items by hand.
Today, your shopping suggestions are served up to you online based on what you’ve bought in the past. Data is at the center of this new experience, and it’s poised to spill into field service technology even more in 2020.
That means it will be increasingly valuable to pull in the details of every job, outcome, and customer experience. The more info workers can gather on problems, past issues, and preferences, the more easily businesses will be able to deliver stellar outcomes in the future.
Upcoming Industry Shifts
Looking forward, there’s more driving industry changes than just technology advancements. There are interesting trends in a shifting workforce on the horizon. As tech advances, baby boomers are leaving at rapid rates. That’s expected to bring in new owners, new laborers, and new processes.
For the industry, there’s a good chance that these converging paths will lead to more and more technology driving the job.
According to Gartner, by 2020, more than 75 percent of field service organizations with more than 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond just data collection. That means ongoing advancements designed to help technicians and office workers succeed.
As a whole, the field service industry is expected to continue to change at a groundbreaking pace—becoming more proactive, more connected, and more efficient.
Adjusting to Future Trends
As technology and workforce trends continue to shape the field service industry, new opportunities will pop up that let companies improve work for employees and customers. More efficient systems mean more revenue, better lives for workers, and more satisfying work.
Ready to start integrating technology into your business? We’re here to walk you through the process. Schedule a free demo with us today.