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The field service industry has had to roll with the punches for the last couple of years. 2022 will be no different. The trends that began in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic are still driving the industry and how it will evolve in the future. Of course, that applies to virtually all industries on the planet, but the field service industry has been particularly affected.
In addition to specific changes brought about by the pandemic, there’s also an immense amount of growth fueling changes in the industry. In 2016, the field service market hit $1.78 billion. When 2022 closes out, the industry is expected to have hit $4.45 billion. That’s a whopping 16.5% growth over just a few years.
Within this blog, we will explore critical changes that affect the field service industry, ranging from advancements in field workforce management to the use of a CRM for field service needs. Understanding the emerging trends will help ensure that your field service brand can adapt and grow, rather than sink.
Some of the trends that we’ll explore here include the rise of cashless and mobile payments, remote work, self-service portals for customers, automation, predictive maintenance, and changes to conventional inventory management practices.
You can find the full list of field service capabilities here [Field Service Automation Guide].
Mobile, Cashless Payments in the Field Service Industry
We’ll start our discussion with the rise of mobile payment capabilities and the emerging cashless economy affecting field service organizations. COVID-19 has made it challenging to process debit and credit cards traditionally, but contactless technology offers better safety, as well as improved security through enhanced encryption. It also saves wear and tear on the cards themselves. Field service organizations should also consider P2P payment systems, like Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay.
The Rise of Remote Work for Field Service Providers
In addition to contactless payments, contact-free/remote service is quickly becoming the norm. Initially part of the suite of COVID-19 safety protocols, remote work has quickly become an essential part of the modern field service industry for many different reasons. First, it helps keep both customers and technicians healthy and safe, but those ramifications go beyond preventing the spread of COVID-19. It reduces sick time overall, while also saving on fuel costs and repair/maintenance costs for field service vehicles. Combined with IoT and AI, remote work offers customers faster resolutions while costing the company less to deliver.
One of the most interesting field service trends to monitor is the rise of self-service portals that let customers take many things into their own hands. While these portals don’t allow customers to handle their own installation or maintenance, they do empower them with a wide range of capabilities, including:
- The ability to track technician routes
- The ability to set appointments when it works best for them
- The ability to access support 24/7
- The ability to conduct at least some troubleshooting through FAQs and knowledgebases
- The ability to create service requests and share essential information digitally
- The ability to see past service calls
- The ability to see which technician performed previous services
Automation Is Transforming the Field Service Industry
Automation is everywhere you look today, and the field service industry is no exception. You’ll find automation at the core of many of today’s most important advancements, including the use of AI, IoT devices, and even field service software, like Dynamics 365. Automation streamlines processes, simplifies things for technicians, saves organizations time and money, and helps improve customer satisfaction.
The Importance of Predictive Maintenance for Field Service Management Companies
Traditionally, device/system maintenance was largely reactive. When something went wrong, a technician was dispatched to rectify the issue. However, what if you could eliminate the downtime associated with problems occurring in the first place? Predictive maintenance, powered by AI and machine learning, offers the ability to identify problems before they occur, allowing you to prevent them completely, saving your customers time, money, and hassle, and improving their overall experience dramatically.
The Need for Better Inventory Management Practices
If there is one thing that the ongoing supply chain meltdown has shown us, it’s that our world is deeply interconnected. A lockdown on the other side of the planet can have profound implications for production and service delivery in the US. Inventory management is more important today than ever before to prevent delays due to materials, device, and system shortages related to supply chain problems. Dynamics 365 for field service applications allow you to provide advanced inventory management practices to help track assets in real-time, compare prices and availability from multiple suppliers, and more.
The field service industry continues to evolve, and management companies need to stay on the cusp of these developments. Understanding field service trends will help ensure that you’re able to deliver the experience that your customers expect and deserve while reducing your overall costs and building a thriving business.
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