There can be no doubt that the resolution of technical incidents is one of the critical tasks facing any organisation providing field services.
When planning the tasks for a specific working day, the intention is to always adjust the human and technical resources to the needs forecast for that day in such a way as to optimise time management to the maximum. And it is often necessary to readjust preventive and predictive maintenance tasks in order to create a gap and combine them with their reactive/corrective counterparts.
It is not merely a question of meeting customer needs to the letter. Where the SLAs (service level agreements) of certain accounts are concerned, we find ourselves having to prioritise and urgently readjust that day’s schedule so as to be able to rigorously fulfil the contractual demands regarding resolution timescales.
Automating in order to manage the full life cycle of an incident
For the field services industry, automation is by far the most important factor when it comes to increasing earnings over the next few years. At least this is the conclusion of a study carried out by WBR Digital that included the question: What will be the driving force behind growth in five years’ time?, to which 81% of respondents replied, ‘smart connections’. This is far and above the 58% who thought it would be the full implementation of the IoT, the 35% who said wearables, the 33% in the augmented reality camp, the 20% who suggested 3D printing and the modest 2% who went for driverless vehicles.
Following-up the resolution of technical incidents is a task that is closely linked with field services. And there are four reasons why automation is the best way to improve how they are managed:
1) Matter of scale. Up until now the notification of a new incident was a task always performed by a person. One of the customer’s spokespeople. And having a call centre could be all that was needed to field the calls. However, with the new IoT technologies it is now the machines themselves that are fitted with mechanisms for setting a new service request in motion. Failing to automate means not being able to grow at the pace demanded by the market.
2) Complexity. Following on from the previous aspect, the new technologies are going to enable us to make a prior diagnosis of the problem in what is, ostensibly, a pre-notification phase carried out before the technician even arrives to resolve the incident. Automated communication will prevent unnecessary callouts. And by cutting back on visits, our employees will have more time for concentrating on their personal relationship with the customers.
3) The way technicians are prepared is changing. In the USA, for example, 65% of training is outdated by being based, as it is, on methods that are too traditional and outmoded content. If new employees had access to tools that automatically provided them with answers to their problems or enabled them to assess incidents quickly and efficiently, their performance would improve.
4) The business model is moving towards “pay-as-you-go”. Or in other words, pay for what you have consumed. This situation makes effective time management more important than ever. And not only due to the changes in the service model, but also because the latest trend is to look for new providers for each situation due to the lack of medium- to long-term contracts that tie customers down. The creation of loyalty as a way of retaining one’s customers is becoming fundamental.
Automation does not only include new tasks
Self-service is a functionality valued by many customers when it comes to interacting with their providers. That capacity to access a website to announce a need (to set the resolution of technical incidents in motion, in our case) improves the customer’s experience given that we shall be able to meet their requirements at any time day or night.
And once the customer has been suitably identified via this online service, we shall be able to automatically update their file, thereby ensuring we always have all the information we need to hand. Next comes the process of managing routes and tasks. And if this could also be automated?
Smart mapping of tasks and routes
This is exactly the proposal that we at Intelligence Partner are presenting with our Task4work solution. We are doing so bearing in mind the location, availability and/or experience of the service technicians combined with an exceedingly high degree of customisation so as to adjust it to the needs of each organisation. Furthermore, the optimum routes between one task and another are displayed at all times, with this being possible thanks to the integration with the services provide by the Google Maps Platform.
Would you like to receive more information about the automation of your management processes of see a free demo of Task4Work? Share your needs with us and we shall be sure to find a solution for improving your efficiency and boosting your growth.