While each field service organisation has its own workflows and customer requirements, there are several well-documented best practices that can be widely adapted and applied. Technology use isn’t enough to propel organizations to best practice status; in fact, it has become a requirement to efficiently execute basic tasks just to remain competitive in many field service segments.
As mobile computing and communication technology has become more sophisticated, less expensive and more accessible, it has become harder for field service organizations to maintain a competitive advantage through these tools.
As a field service professional, you may well have been the first of your friends to carry a cell phone. Your organization may have been an early adopter of mobile and wireless technology. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a middle school child that isn’t carrying a cell phone – or a field service organization that isn’t making some use of smartphones or handheld computers, GPS, mobile printers and other technology to support its operations.
As technology has evolved and become more accessible, it has helped field service organization set new standards for productivity and customer responsiveness. It has also become harder for companies to gain a competitive advantage through technology, since mobile computing, real-time communication and extending work order, inventory, sales and CRM functionality to the field is a de facto requirement for many companies.
Nonetheless, some organizations continue to drive down their costs, improve efficiency and achieve revenue growth by enhancing their processes and technology. Extensive research conducted over years by Aberdeen Group1 has identified the top-performing field service organizations, the benchmarks they attain, and the practices and technologies they use to get there. Today’s best-in-class field service providers (defined as the top 20%) successfully blend process and technology to attain the following benefits, according to Aberdeen:
• 21% year-on-year service revenue growth
• 2% decrease in service and support costs
• 18% improvement in workforce utilization, to 85%
• 92% customer retention
These companies share bonds beyond their excellent business results. They are also among the leaders in adapting technology to enhance field service processes. They are up to three times more likely than some of their competitors to leverage service performance management solutions.