Field service management is the management of company resources assigned to tasks located away from the office/company premises. This includes companies engaged in distribution, telecommunications, healthcare, heavy engineering etc. The challenges of field service are getting the right people with the right skills, at the right place, at the right time and with the right equipment.
Customer satisfaction and productivity are directly affected by how well a company performs in the afore-mentioned challenges. One consideration should be made here – achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction often results in lower productivity. In fact, researchers like Anderson, Fornell and Rust suggest that it is difficult to pursue both simultaneously.
Having said that, with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) for Field Service enabling digital transformation, field service organisations can now do both – improve customer satisfaction and improve resource productivity.
Field service workflow and the importance of D365
A field service workflow is presented in the below diagram. At first glance, what is interesting to note from the diagram is the importance of the seamless integration between the different apps of D365.
In fact, customer cases and concern calls that originate from any channel, including phone, email, or even social media mentions, can be converted into work orders when onsite work is required. Moreover, the latest release of Field Service Management accepts concern calls from devices. After a work order is created, the next step is to schedule a person to carry out the work.
D365 for Field Service Management provides complete flexibility in how organisations choose to schedule their resources. Scheduling can be done manually, assisted, automated and now even optimized. The latter is about scheduling appointments by matching business requirements, such, for example, reducing driving time. This increases productivity and it does not reduce customer satisfaction because it also considers the client’s needs. Inventory management capabilities are leveraged in the dispatch process and this ensures that, for example, the right parts are on the truck .
To ensure customer satisfaction, it is important to keep clients informed at all times. Automated text and email reminders can be sent and customers can login to an online portal to keep themselves informed.
With a mobile application, technicians can update their status (driving, in-progress or completed work) and this information allows schedulers to get a real-time view of what is happening, enabling them to take informed decisions. Moreover, the mobile app helps technicians by providing them with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the task at hand. The technician can take photos of the completed work, get customer sign-off, and even collect payment. If an organisation leverages D365 for Sales (another Microsoft D365 app), technicians can identify new opportunities or collect competitive intel about accounts, and this can be recorded through the mobile app as well.
Finally, back at the office, managers review work orders and close them out.
73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do (Forrester Research’s Trends 2016: The Future of Customer Service). Moreover, 65% of incoming service requests require field visits, and of those service visits, 26% require secondary or follow-up visits (Field Service Automation Trends: Best-in-Class – Aberdeen Group, Dec, 2015). D365 for Field Service allows field service management companies to achieve the above, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction without compromising productivity.
Although an effort was made to cover as many topics as possible around field service management and how D365 can help, this blog is not exhaustive. For further information about how D365 for field management can work for your company, we invite you to contact us directly for a free demo presentation of the product.