2020 impacted the field service industry in unpredictable ways and will continue to impact 2021 as well. As advances in technology provide new opportunities, field service trends continue to change and evolve. 2020 taught us how to adapt, and now in 2021, what are some trends that could affect the field service industry?
The pandemic restructured the way that technicians interact and respond to service calls. To ensure that safety regulations are met, companies offer contactless services. Most already offer contactless payments, but in 2021, we will see more companies capitalize on this trend. It’s easier to see who’s paid with contactless payments and who hasn’t — meaning that companies can easily have more cash on hand.
The CDC defines close contact as “any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before the illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”
Health and safety have always been significant factors in the field services industry, but the pandemic has emphasized their importance. When there are workers on-site, it’s essential to know if they are healthy and fit enough to handle their tasks.
If one of your technicians is sick or gets sick while on the job, contact tracing will be able to quickly determine who they’ve been in contact with.
Many field service organizations realized the value of a remote workforce. Although many companies transitioned to a remote workforce in 2020, we can expect this trend to continue throughout 2021. With the uncertainty that the pandemic brings, a remote workforce ensures safety for everyone.
Remote work provides many benefits for service companies. For starters, remote work is less expensive and highly productive. Many service companies allow their technicians to work remotely, which results in reduced operating costs and a boost in productivity.
For a successful transition to a remote workforce, service companies must have proper measures in place, such as the right infrastructure and technology requirements. For example, work scheduling and automatic dispatching are essential for remote technicians. Also, service companies should have a reliable field service software with GPS functionality for digital scheduling.
Predictive maintenance refers to using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and analytics to monitor equipment’s performance and condition before failures or challenges happen. It allows you to take the appropriate measures to avoid unexpected failures and decrease maintenance costs.
Predictive maintenance allows technicians to use IoT (Internet of Things) enabled tools to monitor equipment health and take the necessary steps to mitigate potential damage. One component of predictive maintenance, predictive analytics, uses historical data to match current behavior and predict future behavior. As a result, predictive maintenance can prompt work order schedules, in which companies can either choose a remote service or send a technician.
Stricter Focus on Safety
This trend isn’t much of a surprise since, as mentioned before, field service has always focused on safety. However, 2020 taught us that safety should come first. In 2021, we can expect most companies to adopt a “safety-first” approach.
Now, field service technicians are more concerned about their health and well-being. When out in the field, they want to keep any risk of infection or sickness down. In the same way, customers want more assurance that the services they pay for are safe.
As we move into 2021, companies should enforce stricter safety protocols for their workforce and customers. Since safety is a top priority for customers, customers will only pay for services from companies that prioritize safety and health. Also, service techs want to feel safe when out in the field. Therefore, if technicians don’t feel safe, or if your company doesn’t have the proper safety measures in place, you could risk losing some of your technicians.
Field service companies are embracing newer and more efficient ways of doing things. A new technology that has proved beneficial is AR (augmented reality). How will it benefit field service companies in 2021?
- Reduced training time and cost: Implementing an augmented reality solution allows real-time association between a technician and an expert in providing instructions in complex situations. When a new technician visits a customer’s home, an experienced technician can guide him/her through the process. This AR remote assistance can provide quick and efficient training for new technicians while saving time for more experienced technicians. Also, an AR system incurs less cost since multiple technicians don’t have to be at the same site.
- Reduced equipment downtime: AR systems can provide visual and virtual instructions to customers. Therefore, it helps prevent travel delays, reduces turnaround time, and reduces equipment downtime.
Field service is no longer a reactive industry — it’s a proactive industry. Going into 2021, it’s essential to equip and empower your technicians, increase customer satisfaction, and transform your processes for the long-run. These field service trends will allow you to accomplish those tasks while staying ahead of the game.