The modern consumer experience — defined by smart devices and fast, personalized service — has raised the bar for what your customers and your employees expect from your business, including your field service organization. The question now is, how can you deliver exceptional field service experiences?
By using a proven framework for process improvement — digitize, automate, and measure — you can help your field service organization up its game and meet the rising expectations of customers and employees alike.
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Think of your field service experience like any other digital consumer experience. Is your app easy to access and use? Is it available everywhere? Does it provide an omnichannel experience? These are no longer best-in-class experiences, but rather the table-stakes expectations of what your field service app should offer.
The OutSystems low-code app dev platform helps facilitate these experiences by making it simple to build custom field service apps that can increase efficiency and improve the customer experience. With an improved field service app built on OutSystems, you can:
- Offer up more precise service windows
- More efficiently send automated updates to customers
- Provide employees with service information that helps improve first-time fix rates
- Inform customers about other needed products and services
- Give customers self-service options so they can answer their own questions faster
When transforming your field service operations to deliver a consumer-like experience, there are three crucial steps in the journey to incorporate into your applications: digitization, automation, and measurement. Let’s take a look at each to understand why they’re important and how your organization can get them right.
1. Digitize to Lay the Foundation for Improved Field Service
The first step toward a more user-friendly, consumer-like experience is to digitize every possible touchpoint. By removing paper-based processes and digitizing data entry and other essential tasks, you’re able to reduce errors, ensure essential data is collected from customers, and build standard workflows to guide technicians through next steps — including potential upsells.
Take care to ensure your field service applications are designed with intuitive interfaces that support adoption and use, and give technicians everything they need to do their work. Your applications should work on whatever devices your technicians use, be they smartphones or tablets across different operating systems and manufacturers.
2. Automate to Enhance Your Field Service
Automation improves the customer experience by offering consistency. And by allowing your apps to take care of repetitive tasks, your field service staff can focus on providing better service. Smarter automation now lets you automate tasks that have more uncertainty and variability, enabling machines to make decisions that used to require human intervention. Not only does automation save time for your current staff, but it makes it easier to scale in the future as your field service team expands, improving opportunities for business growth.
For example, you may have disconnected systems for scheduling, dispatch, inventory management, vehicle tracking, and customer history. By integrating these systems and making them accessible in your field service app, you can eliminate duplicative data entry or the typical manual copy/paste process that can result in errors or wasted time. Another example would be using smarter automation to ensure not only that a form was filled out completely, but that the phone number is a valid number instead of something like “(111)111-1111.”
3. Measure to Keep Making the Field Service Experience Even Better
Your field services applications produce a wealth of real-time data that you can leverage to continuously optimize your field service operations.
Because it can be difficult to glean insights from a spreadsheet, operational dashboards that visualize data over time make it easier to understand what the numbers are trying to tell you. In addition, they let you view real-time information instead of a static spreadsheet, so you can optimize processes faster.
Keep in mind that it's important to measure the metrics that map directly to the outcomes you’re looking to change; focusing on the wrong metrics can incentivize the wrong technician behavior or drive conclusions that won’t lead to improvements.
For example, while time to resolution may feel like an important metric, it can incentivize technicians to rush through their work, which might lead to mistakes or a poor customer experience. If your business grows largely on customer referrals, then customer satisfaction and retention are important, so your first-time fixed rate might be a more important metric for your specific goals.
4. Using Low-Code to Meet Rising Customer and Employee Field Service Expectations
As you can see, implementing new field service applications to improve your user experience isn’t just a matter of downloading an app and calling it a day. You need to think holistically about your entire field service operation to identify how you can digitize, standardize, automate, and optimize all your processes with best-in-class field service applications. Get it right, and it can help you unlock greater efficiency, more revenue, a stronger position against competitors, and the ability to better serve customers.
While you can get off-the-shelf field service management software, these solutions often lack the industry- or business-specific functionality you require. They may also lack the ability to easily integrate with your existing technology and data sources, making them an expensive option to implement, fine-tune, and manage.
Many field service organizations find more success building applications using a low-code development platform like OutSystems. With OutSystems, you can develop and publish apps fast with minimal coding and maintenance, integrate diverse data sources with a click, and create beautiful dashboards that deliver insight at a glance.
Explore OutSystems for field service, and try OutSystems for free with the field services work tracking tool. Use the tool to build a simple field service app within minutes, integrate directly with your company’s data and systems, and go on to build a production field services work tracking tool customized for your organization.