Service delivery has gone through countless evolutions as technology becomes more advanced and people’s expectations of what these solutions mean for their operational environments change.
Today, the focus is on leveraging an integrated strategy that breaks down business siloes to deliver support offerings in increasingly agile ways.
However, scheduling and delivering services and allocating parts have grown in complexity thanks to more powerful computing capabilities and faster connectivity. This puts renewed pressure on organisations to build better field service management solutions that reflect modern demands.
The growth of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation, and the Internet of Things mean companies can more accurately predict job duration, the potential for asset failure, and even scheduling conditions. Data-driven insights bring a shift from the traditional repair models to more outcomes-based projects that guarantee uptime and meet the high operational output demanded by clients.
The glue that binds all this is service management software. Using advanced solutions to optimise, track, and automate services in increasingly strategic ways deliver a competitive advantage. Additionally, it provides the means to proactively address potential service delivery problems before clients are even aware of them.
Beyond ticking boxes
As with any technology, there is always a temptation to focus on the system’s capabilities and how it can overcome problems. This is not wrong, but it must be enhanced by the depth of execution of the features provided. Simply ticking a box to say that a service management solution can fulfil a specific function can only bring an organisation so far.
Instead, it is balancing the depth of execution and the capabilities available. For this to be done, organisations need to consider service delivery, operations, and customer experience. By doing so, they can better identify the killer features that are essential for success. This can also be significantly different from business to business.
When it comes to service delivery capabilities, a solution must be able to deliver the basics required. Everything from contract and appointment management to service level agreements must be available.
Typically, these are the digital equivalents to the paper-based processes they have been designed to replace. These can be enhanced through knowledge management, training development, and even augmented reality that can upskill technicians.
On an operational level, the focus turns to how the solution can improve the movement of people, tools, and parts through the field service management environment. The secret that helps create product differentiation is how best the system can optimise this traffic. So, allowing appointments to be scheduled through multiple channels or leveraging AI to manage job delivery automatically and scheduling to meet demand become significant enablers.
The third component is customer experience capabilities. And here, there is a distinction between the relationship between the customer and management and how effectively technicians work on projects using zero-touch service, chatbots, and actual delivery.
Thinking differently about implementation
Every service implementation is unique. This becomes even more apparent when a business looks to upgrade its service platform or deploy a service for the first time.
When it comes to first-time implementations, companies need to understand every element of what technicians, back-office staff, and factory employees are doing before turning to a solution. This assessment helps ensure that the selected software is fit-for-purpose and addresses the most pressing organisational concerns.
And when it comes to implementing a full-featured service tool, attention must be paid to how well it can integrate into existing systems or whether it simply makes them redundant.
This will require a careful review of whether the business wants to use both solutions or if it will migrate the data and processes in the legacy environment into the new one to help drive efficiencies.
If there is no employee buy-in to the field service management solution, then the company cannot hope for any implementation to succeed. Getting internal champions to drive awareness of not only the need for change but also how best to use the new environment can become a key component for the company to evolve its service provisioning.
Furthermore, the organisation must also consider how customers will respond to the new way of doing things. In my experience, the customer only cares when service delivery fails. However, a company can significantly enhance customer engagement if the new platform gives them access to outcomes-based service.
By repositioning it as the means to deliver uptime and output, as opposed to the old school problem-fixing, customers will more readily embrace the new way of doing things.
And given the level of competition in today’s market, any way an organisation can create differentiation through its service delivery is crucial.