The importance of digitalization for field service management
First, let me say just how extremely excited I am to have the opportunity to join the Next Technik team as the new ANZ Territory Manager during its period of global expansion and hyper growth (we’ve more than doubled our employees in the last year!).
As the number 1 ranked ‘on platform’ field service solution for NetSuite, we work with clients every day who are trying to gain more value and insights from their field service operations.
I have always believed it’s the people who make a company great, and we now boast a global team of industry experts and dedicated professionals who truly want the best for our clients.
Having worked within the software and IT industry for more than 10 years, I have seen many great, and not so great, adoptions of technology to enable clients to get more out of their business. From cloud (no we don’t put your computer into the sky), to ERP, digitalization, and industry 4.0.
These technology trends can provide a clear advantage over the competition by providing companies the ability to react quicker and get the information they need to make the right decisions.
Coming from a background in ERP solutions, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that can mean the death of a businesses: lack of visibility, double handling of data, slow response to clients, or slow reaction to issues, additional head count just to handle all the paperwork, and time-consuming reporting methods (if they get them at all!).
Data transparency is critical to field service success
Businesses that are already operating in the cloud with NetSuite are already experiencing the difference a powerful ERP can bring to their business, and how easily they can get (almost) full visibility of business operations from the comfort of their home.
But for many of our clients, this has highlighted something that has been overlooked – what about field services?
- What are my technicians doing out in the field?
- Do I know how my revenue is tracking without having to wait till months end?
- What is my utilization rate?
If anything, the recent COVID-19 challenges have highlighted the importance of moving away from disjointed and paper-based systems to a more purely digital “single source of truth” for the business.
With companies needing ways of managing a remote workforce and an increase of reliance on people still working in the field, business leaders still need to know what’s happening day to day:
- Who’s working on what?
- How did we do last month?
- Where did we make (and lose) our profits?
They need this information despite not having the luxury of being in the same office as those at the coalface.
Which leaves them with two choices – they can either spend their time sending emails on emails, and calling around chasing an update, or they can click refresh on their browser and get all that information from their systems.
In-the-field digitalization improves customer engagement
Customer engagement is the real value driver here. I recently caught up with an existing client of ours, who shared that the time it takes for their technicians to produce quotes while in the field was significantly reduced, and with less errors, by using our solution to digitalize their field service arm.
This improved the experience of their customers, while also allowing technicians to complete tasks faster, and get onto the next job quicker (more jobs = more revenue!)
Anyone with a field service arm should understand the importance of that service and engagement piece in keeping their customers happy and loyal. Often, it’s that loyal customer base that gets a business through the tough times.
With an increased demand for domestic business predicted due to COVID-19, customer service and customer engagement will be the differentiator in securing those long-term relationships and forging new ones. Customer service is mostly about providing customers the information they need in a consistent and timely manner.
By providing staff out in the field with the right tools and technology, empowering them to be better, stakeholders across the business can now see the complete picture of current jobs and plan their schedules more precisely.
Those out in the field know which new jobs are coming up, and everyone can see the job status of a particular project.
If a customer has an enquiry, you’ll have the answer (or can at least get one without having to shift through a stream of paper). Customer experience, after all, is built on trust and history.
If your customers know you’ll get back to them in a timely manner, and they’re getting the best solution for their business, why would they go anywhere else?
The right technology is key to 2021 success
Now is the time to ask yourself: How do I want to go into 2021? The same as I left 2020? Or do I empower my staff with the right tools to plan for success and to be stronger than ever?
While I’ve zeroed in my focus towards field service, my mission remains the same: How can I help my clients get more value from their business, and provide them with the tools they need to make the important decisions?
After all, when you’re successful, we’re successful.
If you have challenges with your field service, give us a call. Next Technik and I are here to help.
Christopher has been working in the software and IT industries for over 10 years and comes from a strong background in ERP sales. He has helped companies all over ANZ on their digital transformation journey, with a focus on ensuring clients are tapping into the true potential of their business through automation and efficiency.