Field Service: the 5 major trends for 2022
2021 was influenced, like the previous year, by the consequences of the health situation related to the COVID-19 epidemic. Field Service players were particularly affected as some trips were no longer possible and customers tried, as much as possible, to minimize contact. Despite this, the professionals in the sector have shown a great capacity to adapt, proposing innovative solutions and processes to continue to offer efficient services to their clients. 2022 will continue to be shaped by the acceleration of the digital transformation of Field Service, but also by societal trends that will play a role in this sector. We propose to explore these trends and see how you can take action to improve the quality of your services and your productivity.
2021: a year of transformation and innovation
Field Servicesare one of the major challenges for many players, in the retail, industrial services, utilities and facilities management sectors.
Field Service, refers to the coordination of technicians’ field operations. Depending on the sector of activity, technicians may be required to work on any type of machine or device (household appliances, industrial machines, utilities, telecoms, construction, real estate, etc.). Due to the health crisis related to the COVID-19 epidemic, this sector has been hit hard again in 2021 because of travel restrictions and reduced client interactions, even if the regulations have been made more flexible than the previous year.
In 2021, field service companies have been creative and inventive in deploying collaborative solutions that allow them to continue operations while protecting their technicians and customers. As a result, these players have mobilized specialized resources remotely, some of them around the world, to respond in real time to their customers’ problems.
These new practices have reshaped the field service profession and customer expectations. They have also accelerated the digitalization of services over the long term. According to a study conducted in late 2021 by Field Service and WBR Insights among 100 leading players in the Field Service in various industries, 56% of them have adopted digital transformation strategies to deploy new technologies in their departments.
Field Service Trends for 2022
1/ Accelerated adoption of cloud technologies
Many companies have already integrated cloud technologies into their business. By 2022, this trend will continue to intensify to the point where cloud-based Field Service Management (FSM) solutions, for example, are expected to overtake the On-Premise market. The preference for SaaS platforms for service management is driven by the need to respond faster and better to customer requests, collaborate more easily, and simplify IT department processes.
Cloud solutions also enable access to service tools from anywhere and on any device, making it easier for all stakeholders involved, whether they are technicians, outside contractors or customers, to share information in real time.
2/ The generalization of hybrid and remote work
Remote and hybrid working are increasingly being adopted, to the point that they will become the norm in many industries.
In the field service industry, this generalization was far from obvious since the very essence of the business is to travel to the customer’s site to perform troubleshooting or maintenance operations. However, over the past two years,many field service providers have implemented remote collaboration tools such as video assistance, to ensure continuity of service when travel is not possible. Remote collaboration will never completely replace the need to go on site, but many of these actors agree that, in a context of spreading hybrid and remote work, it will be necessary to adopt solutions and tools that allow them to adapt to these new ways of working.
Especially since the ability to diagnose and troubleshoot problems remotely has considerable advantages. This allows faster resolution of customer issues and cuts costs by reducing unnecessary visits.
3/ A new level of customer expectation
In this era of Uber, Amazon, and on-demand services, customer expectations will reach new levels in terms of speed, efficiency, and transparency. According to a Salesforce study,for 85% of business customers, the customer experience is as important as the services or product they purchased.
To remain competitive, companies need to improve their response times and deliver a personalized and efficient customer experience throughout the customer journey. Field Service will have a role to play in this context since the way in which interventions are carried out when a customers meet a problem is a key factor in their satisfaction.
In order to fulfill customer expectations and ensure their satisfaction, the services industry will have to be able to provide customer-centric tools to reduce their efforts and respond quickly to their requests.
4/ Integration of predictive maintenance into Field Service processes
One of the most important expectations of customers in Field Service is the ability to have the right resource at the right time. For this reason, predictive maintenance will become an increasingly important tool in the toolbox of field service companies. They will be able to rely on the combination of different technologies such as IoT, video for visual inspections or AI, to prevent problems before they occur.
The use of predictive maintenance will allow earlier intervention to minimize or eliminate unscheduled downtime. This will result in higher customer satisfaction, better retention rates and improved profitability.
5/ An evolving workforce
In 2022, field service companies will need to spend time training their workforce on the new technologies adopted in recent years. At the same time, they will have to put a lot of effort into recruitment. In 2022, many Baby Boomers will retire and companies will need to replace these departures to continue to meet the demands of their customers. Several studies have revealed that there will be a shortage of people in the field service industry, particularly in mature markets such as the United States and Europe. They will have to deal with the lack of experience and expertise on these new profiles. This shortfall could result in a heavier burden on experts, increased costs and customer dissatisfaction.
To address this issue, many companies are turning to technologies that enable the transfer of knowledge and the rapid increase in skills of new recruits, such as knowledge management platforms or remote assistance solutions.
Giving new digital-savvy members of your team access to tools to, for example to be trained faster or assisted remotely, will contribute to their skills development while offering experienced engineers the opportunity to take on less demanding remote support roles.
In order to provide more efficient services that are adapted to customer expectations, but also to respond to new forms of work and the shortage of technicians, Field Service companies will have to continue to accelerate their digital transformation in 2022. Many technologies, such as visual-assistance, can help you to meet these challenges. At Apizee, we can help you integrate visual collaboration into your services. Feel free to contact our experts to learn more.