Field service technicians are regularly influencing customers, for good and for ill. Expert technicians often strengthen the customer’s brand loyalty and lay the groundwork for future sales. Inexperienced ones do the opposite.
Unfortunately, keeping skilled technicians in-house is expensive. Many companies outsource as a result. Gartner predicts that by 2020, over 40% of field service work will be performed by contractors, not employees.[i] If this proves true, then we can expect knowledge and experience gaps inside mobile workforces to widen.
Thankfully, mobile technologies within the Salesforce ecosystem can help solve this quagmire. The success of Field Service Lightning in streamlining work order routing, for example, shows us the power of a mobile app in overcoming field service challenges. But when it comes to addressing the pitfalls technicians face while they’re on the job, a “guided service” solution is needed.
Business leaders pursuing guided service solutions for their organization in 2018 should focus on two must-have capabilities:
1. A solution(s) that vastly simplifies Salesforce data capture in the field, including the ability to collect data on a mobile device and offline
2. A solution(s) that guides the technician through core processes during a field visit, prompting the right questions at the right time
1. Make It Painless to Capture Data in the Field
Field technicians often have to do inspections, fill out checklists, or record data in some fashion. If the mode for capturing information is flawed, then it hurts the technician’s performance. What’s more, it creates errors in the data, thus robbing the host organization of critical business intelligence.
Picture a contractor inspecting an offshore oil rig – far from the comfort of Wi-Fi – with only a pen and paper in hand. They’re standing there, getting lashed by coastal wind, thumbing through pages of paper checklists, understandably confused about which details to record. The odds of them making a mistake are high.
What this person needs, first and foremost, is a way to collect data on a mobile device while offline. To further augment their performance, the host company could arm the technician with a digital form that pre-populates with customer and case information, allows them to take and save photos, and infuses branching logic that shows relevant questions and hides irrelevant ones.
Making data capture painless will reduce the time technicians spend on each case, cut down on mishaps, and enrich the company’s database with clean, substantive data.
2. Guide Technicians through Service Appointments from End to End
Imagine a contractor who has been hired by a manufacturer to fix a dryer. Let’s assume it’s their first day on the job. If they arrive at the customer’s house with nothing more than basic information about the appointment, then they’ll likely hit a snag during the repair.
A robust guided service solution would not only help the technician avoid roadblocks but would also heighten their performance. As the mobile app leads the contractor through the repair process, it would prompt all the right questions to ask and boxes to check. Moreover, it would share step-by-step instructions on how to repair that specific dryer. It could even inform the technician of up-sell opportunities.
Adding Salesforce Einstein AI to the mix would further enhance the guided service experience. Einstein Vision, a set of APIs that enable image classification, could analyze photos taken by the technician in real time.
If the contractor snaps a photo of the dryer, for example, Einstein could spot a defect in the appliance. If the defect poses a fire risk, the technician could pre-emptively resolve the issue. Apart from Einstein, the contractor may have overlooked the problem, and the outcome would’ve been costly on many fronts.
Guided service technologies that are enhanced with Einstein make it easy for contractors to follow the host company’s business processes even though they don’t work for the company. Not only that, they help organizations avoid catastrophes and deliver flawless service in the field.
Maintaining a skilled mobile workforce costs a lot of money. As a by-product, many organizations hire low-cost professionals and contractors. What companies might gain in cost-savings, they lose in performance. Guided service technologies provide an affordable way to offset these performance gaps. A solution that reduces time spent on data capture while guiding technicians through core processes in the field will dramatically improve the customer experience. And it’ll lift revenues to boot.
About Synaptic AP
Synaptic AP is one of the top 100 largest Salesforce implementation partners. They are Salesforce-certified architects, developers, project managers, and product innovators. YourekaTM – powered by Synaptic AP – is a Salesforce-native smart application for forms, assessments, and surveys optimized for mobile workforces. Youreka guides sales and service teams through customer engagements, suggests next best actions, and leverages EinsteinTMfor real-time insights.
[i] Robinson, Jim, Maoz, Michael, and Wong, Jason. Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. Gartner, 27 September 2017. Accessed November 20, 2017. https://www.gartner.com/doc/3808464/magic-quadrant-field-service-management