For as long as there has been equipment to install, fix, or replace, service technicians have been out in the field getting the job done. And for as long as they’ve been out in the field, the companies they work for have been looking for new ways to optimize their time so they can increase their revenue.
For the last couple of years, we’ve seen a variety of new tools and field service management technologies enter the field service management industry. Many of these tools are now maturing and gaining a wider acceptance within the industry. These evolving technologies are making it easier for businesses to work more effectively and efficiently.
And while it might be scary to adopt new business practices, the companies that do will be sure to get an edge over their competitors. The ones that don’t may unfortunately be left in the past.
Let’s take a look at some of these evolving field service management tools and discuss how you might use them to gain an advantage in your industry in 2024.
Evolving Tools and Technology for Field Service Management
Cloud-based technology has been around for quite some time now, but in recent years, we’ve seen it become perfected for field service management companies. More and more businesses are adopting cloud-based solutions and field service management software, and the results are irrefutable.
Cloud-based software solutions allow techs to access information anytime, anywhere, so nothing slows them down on the job. With just the mobile device in their hand, they can view prior work history and upcoming jobs, communicate with dispatchers, and even generate invoices. Keeping everything connected via the cloud ensures all data stays up-to-date across the organization.
Not only does cloud-based software help you be more efficient, but it also keeps you safe and secure. While offices and small data centers may be susceptible to break-ins, you don’t have to worry about that on a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure. With Azure, you have the backing of a professional firewall, staff, and security personnel to keep you protected from every angle. This added layer of support also makes maintenance much easier from an IT perspective.
Switching to a cloud-based software solution can help your business run more smoothly and safely from top to bottom.
Programs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have been revolutionizing the way the world works. The applications of AI are even starting to make their way into field service management as well. AI can be used for a variety of tasks, both in the field and in the back office. For instance:
1. Capture, analyze, and operationalize data.
Field service companies can use AI to gather historical data from both internal and external sources. Using that data, AI can provide valuable insights—like identifying unexpected patterns and opportunities for operational improvement.
2. Troubleshoot diagnostic issues.
Before sending a tech out on a costly field service call, generative AI can help customers diagnose problems on their own. For example, a bot might serve up a dynamic checklist that walks the customer through a series of steps and delivers possible outcomes and solutions based on the customer’s input.
3. Prioritize jobs.
One of the most time-consuming tasks for the back office is figuring out who to send out on what job and when. But as tedious as it is, prioritizing jobs is vital to eliminating drive time and maximizing revenue. Generative AI can help your back office prioritize jobs based on business objectives, technician skills, customer preferences, geolocation, and other key factors.
The fastest way for your field service teams to fix a problem is to not have to fix it at all. By equipping your customers with the tools they need to help themselves, you can save your business time and money on costly field service calls.
For example, many companies are increasingly relying on remote automated troubleshooting. Customers can solve basic problems themselves by watching tutorial videos or following instructions online. Another great self-service tool to provide customers with is an automatic pricing estimator. Rather than wasting time sending estimators to job sites, sophisticated software can approximate costs based on previous jobs.
Predictive analytics and modeling capabilities are quickly emerging as vital field service management tools. In fact, according to the IFS State of Service 2023 report, a survey reported that 40% of respondents already have plans to implement predictive modeling, and another 16% said it’s on their wish lists.
These tools can help businesses make intelligent decisions about how to monetize their offerings, such as flat-fee monthly subscriptions versus project-based pricing models.
Remote and Hybrid Support
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, field service management companies have had to get creative with remote and hybrid solutions. And now that the world is returning to normal, these solutions don’t seem to be going anywhere. More field service providers are embracing remote assist technologies to allow techs to help more customers in less time, avoiding the hassle and overhead costs of commuting, and bettering customer relationships.
Route and Schedule Optimization
Field service technicians spend a considerable part of their days driving from one job to the next. Whenever companies can cut down on windshield time, they can increase their overall revenue.
New software solutions can help scheduling and dispatch optimize technicians’ routes and schedules to reduce travel time and increase productivity. In addition, schedulers can manage logistics to ensure the right parts are available at the right time so there’s never a wasted visit.
Assistive technology is an umbrella term that is exactly what it sounds like—technology designed to assist your field techs. Although these technologies can vary in cost and complexity, they are all designed to improve your team's productivity and efficiency.
On the simple end of the spectrum, you might consider having techs use their smartphones and mobile apps to provide them with customer information, facilitate collaboration between colleagues, capture real-time documentation on the job site, or even process payments.
On the more complex side, you could explore cutting-edge assistive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) glasses that display helpful information about the equipment your technicians are servicing. The more tools you add to a technician’s toolbox, the more effective they can be.
Field Service Management with Davisware
There are lot of field service management solutions to be excited about in the industry in the coming year. These tools will surely influence how we operate and reshape the business as we know it. Make sure you keep checking back on our blog for more news on emerging technologies and tips for how you can take advantage of them.
If you’d like more information on how technology can help your business grow, give us a call at 847-426-6000 or schedule a software demo today.