Does a smile come to your face every time a field service technician arrives at your home on time and with all the tools necessary to do the job? It does on mine.
As a consumer I don’t think about all of the logistics that enabled them to get there, or the P&L of the companies they represent and how pleasing me, and doing so quickly, can make a huge difference. All I care about is that the right person with the right skills is there to help me when, where, how and why I needed them.
Image via Shutterstock
However, as an industry observer of the use of technology for improving the delivery of field services what goes on behind the scenes is of intense interest. It is for this reason that the release of a publication done for Trimble by independent research firm Proteus, “‘The Road Ahead – The Future of Field Service Delivery,’ caught my attention.
Finding out what is top of mind with field service executives
Intuitively it makes sense that the number one priority/challenge for field service executives would be fuel prices and other budget concerns. What the new report found — based on interviews with 100 managers and directors of businesses based in the U.S. with field service departments across a variety of industries including communications (phone, cable and satellite), utilities, trade (HVAC, plumbing and electrical) and waste management — was that customer satisfaction now tops the list. Thank goodness.
Highlights of the report include the findings that an emphasis on customer service is now more important than cutting costs. Only 42 percent of respondents said that reducing expenses is a goal, compared to 76 percent who cited customer satisfaction as the number one concern.
Though customer service is the No. 1 issue for businesses with mobile workforces, the research also found that increasing workforce productivity was a high priority, which reflects the importance companies are placing on service and meeting customer expectations.
Investment in technology is critical. The survey found that:
- When it comes to technical solutions, 72 percent of respondents said they have upgraded their workforce technology in the last year
- 43 percent plan to upgrade in the future
Another key finding was that, “80 percent placed driver safety as a higher priority than it was five years ago. This could be attributed to changes in company policies, new legislation and rising insurance costs. About 60 percent of the respondents said they are using technology to help monitor and improve driver safety. “
The survey also revealed executive interest in investing in a variety of areas:
- Programs to achieve service excellence, such as customer feedback and safe driving initiatives.
- Green initiatives were seen as important for social awareness and public image.
- When discussing eco-friendly initiatives, monitoring fuel usage was the favored way to reduce CO2 emissions and control costs.
“The report confirms that enterprises are becoming increasingly customer-centric in the field services industry,” said Mark Forrest, general manager of Trimble Field Service Management. “In spite of concerns about fuel prices and operational costs, businesses realize the need to deliver the best service possible to stay ahead. There is no question that organizations must adapt to meet customers’ changing service expectations and understand the impact that this can have on the business, both from a financial and operational perspective. In addition, it is encouraging to see more companies embracing worker safety as an integral part of service excellence.”
The goal here makes sense. Happy customers are loyal ones, and improving responsiveness as well as worker productivity and safety are part of the equation. In other words, the goal is to keep us satisfied and that is a formula for a lot of smiles.