Field Service Organizations (FSOs) offer services at a customer’s site where the company products are installed or fitted or to be installed and are crucial functions of many businesses. Historically companies have been using old systems and practices like manual paperwork, reporting & labor for years. Manual tasks are prone to human error and are costly to correct. Field services include activities like installation, maintenance, adoption services, and optimizing customer experience with the Internet of Things (IoT). Companies engaged in businesses like plumbing, HVAC, home cleaning, gardening, electrical services, roof cleaning, landscaping, and garbage disposal provide field-based services to their customers.

This industry has seen increasing growth and according to a published report, the global field management market was valued at USD 2.85 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 7.10 billion by 2026.

These firms have been facing pressure and challenges in effectively leading the teams and to ensure safety compliance due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Monitoring field staff: It is extremely difficult to monitor and manage the technicians and the subcontractors effectively in the field. The field or head office has to rely on staff updates which includes route planning, task completion time, number of work orders completed, etc.

The solution can be by using the GPS capabilities of smartphones, FSO apps can keep a track of teams and resources in real-time. This helps in efficient deployment and the need for monitoring is eliminated. The location and progress can be viewed at a glance using the Field Management Software (FSM). It also helps in providing access to the field agents by providing them with real-time updates, customer insights etc.

Centralization of data: Many businesses face the challenge of storing data in central repositories and access to centralized data like work orders, client and technicians' location data, inventory etc.

This can be achieved by digital transformation, by moving the data to the cloud. This leads to efficient use of data in the field with real-time updates and data sync. The data is always available and leads to better communication between the field and office teams. It leads to real-time reporting of events in the field and to-fro response from the main office.

Asset management and tracking: Managing assets and tracking their location on the field is often a very difficult task for field service companies. Manual record keeping and reporting are inefficient and prone to human error. It also leads to compliance and a less efficient workforce and asset utilization.

Digital transformation and the use of mobile apps in the field can assist the field and dispatcher teams to keep in touch with real-time updates. This leads to higher team efficiency, simplifying operations, and also increasing the overall accuracy of data resulting in better analytics. Field service management apps (FSM) can optimize workflows across the entire workforce. Access to real-time data and route optimization enables dispatchers to manage the field workforce to focus on delivering efficient high-quality services.

Customer service: Customer service and communication are extremely important aspects of any service industry. Not meeting customer expectations or miscommunication can lead to customers abandoning the service including getting bad reviews and ratings.

Digital transformation for FSOs and the use of mobile apps lead to better customer interaction and experience. Customers can also use apps to update appointments and these are immediately available to both the dispatch and field teams. Using apps customers get real-time information on the status of their requirements which leads to a better experience.

Maintenance: For the field service teams, maintenance is a responsibility as well as an opportunity. Maintenance can be of two types, reactive and predictive. Reactive maintenance may be useful in emergency cases, but not regularly. It’s not possible to anticipate the needs of a customer or personalize client interactions or reduce downtime.

Using advanced AI and machine learning technology, field service companies can predict faults, and take up maintenance or any other issues proactively. Customers can be alerted on or before time regarding any downtime or possible problems.

Compliance: Staff safety is a continuous effort and should be a part of the strategic priority for field service companies. Companies struggle with compliance issues as field staff usually work in remote environments, are subcontracted or reporting is inadequate. They can face challenges in health and safety that can be a threat to productivity and efficiency if not handled immediately and properly.

Investing in digital technology is the way forward in this sector. By using mobile technology and the help of mobile apps both the field and dispatcher teams can keep in touch with real-time updates. This leads to higher team efficiency, simplifying operations, and also increasing the overall accuracy of data resulting in better analytics.
Field service management apps (FSM) can optimize workflows across the workforce and compliance issues can be taken off.

Field service operations are integral to any field service organization and field service management mobile app development is a key component for any FSO to become proactive in field services, enabling them to provide quality services while remaining competitive and compliant. Using the right software and leveraging its capabilities along with mobile apps can help a field service organization overcome challenges and generate efficiency in its operations.

Author's Bio: 

This article is written by Kaushal Shah and talks about the top field service challenges and solutions