This is a guest post provided by a contributor from TechnologyAdvice.
The field service management company of today has already disrupted the way field service management (FSM) had traditionally been done. However, the rate at which most industries are changing is making business owners nervous when it comes to whether or not their companies will be future-proof.
Between technological transformation and the changing workforce, trying to keep up can feel overwhelming. Will your customers move on to other providers? Are your employees frustrated by changes, or by their new colleagues’ ideas? Rest assured that there are clear steps you can take toward future-proofing your own field service company. Let’s look at five of them.
1. Empower Millennials
Generation Y, commonly referred to as the millennial generation, has an (often-undeserved) reputation for being self-serving, narcissistic, and lazy. While we could analyze how each generation has carried this label until the next comes of age, it’s important to consider what Generation Y has to offer today.
Not only are millennials about to make up the majority of the labor market, they’re the most entrepreneurial and educated generation so far, bringing valuable knowledge and perspective to the workforce. While they may buck trends like the traditional performance review and a formal dress code, they crave feedback and constantly look for ways to be more innovative. All of which can transform field service companies looking to streamline their processes, and continue to delight customers.
2. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
Don’t leave it to the millennials to come up with new ideas and strategies. Innovation should be everyone’s priority. As the saying goes, doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always gotten.
In order to stay at the forefront of your industry, look for ways to keep adapting to meet the growing and changing needs of your customers. Ask for feedback from clients and employees and look for ways to make positive changes. Advances in customer relationship management solutions make it easier than ever to track the entire history of a customer from acquisition through maturity. Capturing this institutional knowledge can be critical in your ability to fend off competition based on pricing. That other company may come to the table with a better price. But your ability to counter with price AND experience can be the key to keeping today’s accounts well into the future.
Finally, look outside the field for new strategies in anticipating and serving customer needs. What can other industries—think ride-sharing services or meal kit home-delivery—teach you about areas within field service management that are ripe for disruption?
3. Welcome New Technology
It can be tempting to stick with legacy systems for a couple of reasons: you’ve invested a lot in it, or your employees dread going through another system change. On the flip side, it’s tough to future-proof your company when you don’t welcome advanced technology. Too, familiarity can be expensive if you’re constantly spending to keep existing systems up and running.
Field service management software solutions now integrate GPS tracking, live mapping, and even text-message dispatching. Consider moving to a cloud-based system that provides these types of services and more without enormous infrastructure spending. Tech upgrades may well make it simpler for your teams to be mobile and easily communicate both with one another and your clients, while getting their work done in a fraction of the time, and with higher accuracy.
4. Embrace Change
Embracing change can be one of the hardest things for your employees to do, especially those who have significant seniority in the industry, or with your company. Learning new things, especially technology, can seem daunting and frustrating. They also may be beginning to worry about how artificial intelligence (AI) might make their jobs obsolete.
Be patient, and take the time to demonstrate how implementing new systems like automated dispatch and scheduling actually make them more efficient, and can significantly improve communication. Also, explain how these changes will help the organization overall, not just from the standpoint of efficiency, but also in an improved bottom line.
5. Focus on the Customer
At the end of the day, future-proofing your workforce still means focusing on the customer, as you’ve always done. Responding quickly to calls. Resolving issues quickly and completely the first time. The importance of strong customer relationships. The fundamentals of good field service management still apply.
Look to technology to enhance your abilities to deliver on fundamentals like resolve customer issues with the first service call. Explore how cloud-based parts inventory management can be used make sure your techs can always get at the parts they need to complete the job.
As you think about future-proofing your field service management company, there’s no reason to worry that you’ll be left in the past. Rather than being overwhelmed by AI and an aging workforce, consider how technology and innovation can ensure that your company and its hard-earned experience stay in demand.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
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Last modified: November 5, 2018