5 steps to get a better grip on your field service process
It’s a no-brainer that a flawless service process contributes to higher customer satisfaction and increased service revenues.
But how do you ensure fast and accurate invoicing, service technicians who are always well equipped to solve the problem at hand, and that the right resources are in the right place at the right time?
This blog outlines 5 steps to an optimised service process with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service.
1. Optimised field service scheduling
When a visit by a technical field service engineer doesn’t go as planned for one reason or another, money is lost. The five most common reasons why a service is not completed on the first visit are:
- The right part is not available
- The customer or the equipment is not ready for the service
- The diagnosis already made appears incorrect on site
- The field service engineer does not have the right skills
- The solution was temporary
The above problems cost the service company money, the field service engineer time and the customer’s patience and satisfaction. Microsoft Dynamics for Field Service offers you Resource Scheduling Optimisation functionality that allows Field Service engineers to be scheduled according to the location, time, customer SLA, personal preferences of the customer and the right skills for the job.
The schedule can be viewed via a mobile device and includes optimised routes that the engineers should take. When a change is made to the schedule, because, for example, there is an unexpected job that requires someone with specific skills, the Field Service engineer receives a notification with a new route. This means that the right person is always at the right place. When the job is completed, a new job is automatically set up. As a result, the time of the Field Service engineer is optimally utilised and no time is lost.
Projects can also be planned via the schedule board. When, for example, 50 boilers need to be replaced, it is useful to have a good overview of all available Field Service engineers, based on which the schedule is created as efficiently as possible, taking into account the individual’s workload. In this way, an optimised schedule is automatically drawn up, which dynamically responds to the customer, the Field Service engineer and the company.
2. Authorise & mobilise Field Service engineers
Field Service employees often feel alone on the job or do not have access to the right information to solve a customer problem. They want to take control and have insight into the job. When you let your Field Service engineers go ‘mobile’, the company benefits from:
- On-time appointments through the optimised schedules and routes.
- Case history & instructions: all information about the customer is at hand and when necessary insight into all the steps to complete the task.
- Work order completion: the Field Service engineer can take photos of the finished job, collect a customer signature and even handle the payment.
The process surrounding the purchase of new parts with Field Service has also been optimised. If for example, a certain part is required for the job, the Field Service engineer can order the correct part directly. The purchase page can be chosen to ‘send to ERP’, as a result of which the order will immediately appear in the ERP system of the company. When a certain purchase amount has been preapproved, approval for the purchase can be given immediately, so that the part is immediately ordered. This makes the process more efficient and eliminates unnecessary waiting times.
Mobility is a game changer within Field Service and allows for greater flexibility in the field. The possibility of a complete overview of the customer and real-time guidance is necessary for the independent appointment of the Field Service engineer and the optimisation of the customer relationship.
3. Using Machine Learning and the IoT in Field Service
If your car breaks down, it would be handy if your car could indicate what exactly is wrong. This would save a lot of valuable time. This is possible with machine learning – keep track of which customers or machines often have problems, what the problems are, what solutions have been put forward and which ones were effective. If, for example, it becomes clear that the same solution is always effective for a specific customer, then in the future, the problem can be solved in advance by the Field Service engineer with the right skills or even by providing the right directions remotely. With Field Service you can make optimum use of the opportunities offered by Internet of Things devices. Through optimal application, problems are predicted before downtime occurs and before the customer is affected by the problem. With Field Service you can:
- Detect and resolve problems before the customer knows about it and only deploy a Field Service engineer when needed.
- Use predictive maintenance effortlessly: repair, clean or replace parts when necessary instead of using a fixed maintenance schedule.
- Automatically adjust work orders and assign these to the correct Field Service engineer, when self-healing steps do not solve the problem.
4. Optimal use of the cloud with the Azure IoT Suite
What exactly is the Azure IoT Suite? Let’s take a step back and start with the problem for which it was designed. We are currently experiencing tremendous growth in IoT solutions, but why now? The answer to this question is simple: the advantages of IoT solutions start to outweigh the costs that are incurred to implement it. The complex layout of IoT is pricey since you have to have sensors that safely send all data, the data has to be stored, processed and analysed and finally presented to the end user in a clear way.Today, the hardware is already much more affordable and the connectivity is cheaper. The Azure IoT Suite is a set of different technologies brought together in one tool in the cloud. What’s in this tool?
- Data storage
- Data analytics
- Stream processing
- Predictive analytics
- Workflow automation
Everything you need for optimal use of the cloud.
5. Customer relationship optimisation
In 2016, 62% of consumers worldwide indicated they would no longer do business with a brand due to a single bad experience that has taken place with customer service. This highlights the importance of excellent customer service. With Customer Communications, Field Service helps you to retain your customers by providing optimal service, insight and by involving them in the processes:
- Companies must gain insight and control the entire customer journey across all touchpoints.
- Maintaining the customer relationship should no longer be a statistical, ‘one-size fits all model’, but should be personalised for each customer.
- Companies have to meet the customer on their preferred channel (e-mail, chat, social media, web, telephone, shop, etc.).
And perhaps most importantly: the customer service doesn’t end with a single transaction, it is important to build a long-term relationship. In addition, real-time up-to-date stock management is a must. Poor stock management is, in addition to being a drain on the profitability of a company, an irritation point for the customer. With Customer Communications you always ensure an optimally personalised, proactive and predictive approach to the customer. That is what the customer wants from you nowadays and what companies have to offer.