A Year in Review: Field Service in 2018

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the technologies and trends that shaped field service in 2018. Most field service organizations focused on digitization, whether it was arming technicians with mobile apps or looking for ways to increase the speed and volume of data coming back from the field. Some started to explore automation as a way to drive productivity and support the back office.

With that in mind, here’s what happened in the world of field service in 2018:

1. New tools to support a changing workforce

Field service organizations often complement their own pool of field technicians with external vendors. In fact, Gartner predicts that contractors will be responsible for 40% of all field service work by 2020. Keeping track of these vendors – and ensuring they have the knowledge to successfully complete tasks – is top of mind for field service leaders today.

At the same time, the industry is facing a growing shortage of experienced technicians. According to a survey by WBR Insights and Field Service News, more than 50% of field service organizations are concerned about having to replace an aging workforce.

In response, companies have started investing in knowledge management systems to help them onboard new technicians without spending big on training. By surfacing historical data, field notes, guided workflows, and video tutorials in one easy-to-access place, technicians are able to work smarter and faster. The net result? Increased first-time fix rates, greater technician satisfaction, and better customer experiences.

By 2020, Gartner predicts that more than 75% of field service organizations will use mobile apps that go beyond simple data collection and add capabilities that help technicians succeed.

2. Push to meet rising customer expectations

Customer expectations around the speed and quality of service continue to rise. Fixing an issue on the second or third try is no longer good enough. Neither is showing up to a site without the right parts or experience. Modern customers expect rapid responses, quick resolutions, and personalized interactions based on previous visits.

In 2018, companies looked to field service management solutions as a way to deliver better customer experiences. Whether it was using intelligent scheduling to improve first-time fix rates or putting detailed service histories in the hands of technicians, field service organizations used technology to drive customer satisfaction. That trend is expected to continue, with Gartner predicting that 70% of companies will cite customer satisfaction as a primary benefit of implementing a field service solution by 2020.

3. Doing more with less

If there was one phrase echoed by service leaders everywhere in 2018, it was the need to do more with less. Between increased competition, shrinking margins, and rising customer expectations around the speed and quality of service, field service organizations looked for ways to work smarter and faster. That sometimes started with automation, as companies used intelligent scheduling and asset management to drive productivity and customer satisfaction.

In order to power this new wave of automation, field service organizations focused on collecting more (and better) data, relying on mobile apps to increase the speed, quality, and quantity of data coming back from the field.

Fueling Productivity in 2019

When we talked to customers last year and evaluated the field service market, we saw these trends and invested heavily in building an intelligent automation platform that would leapfrog the technologies of today.

Zinier is purpose-built to drive efficiency across your organization. Our field service automation platform uses the latest in AI and automation to help you work smarter and faster. Whether you need to monitor a growing network of connected devices, schedule technicians based on skills and proximity, or use AI to deliver predictive maintenance, we supercharge your ability to do more with less.