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A recent report sponsored by IFS found that field service leaders are seeing notable KPI improvements thanks to their interactive technology investments.

Field service technicians are often required to work in challenging environments while also serving as brand ambassadors for the field service organization. In today’s field service environment, technicians often depend heavily upon the organization’s deployed technologies to interact with customers, gain assistance while in the field, and improve first-time fix rates.

Many field service leaders are still identifying how interactive tools like augmented reality (AR), enterprise management platforms, scheduling solutions, and routing tools can improve field service outcomes. They are also exploring the cost-effectiveness of specific solutions, measuring the results of implementation and adoption against KPIs like the cost of ownership and ROI.

A recent IFS-sponsored report, entitled “Leveraging Interactive Tools for Field Service Success,” revealed key insights into how field service organizations are succeeding with these technologies.

Field Service Leaders Identify Key Interactive Tools

An interactive tool can be any technology resource that enables the user to communicate seamlessly with other people or streamline field service processes. Common deployments of interactive tools include augmented reality (AR) and remote collaboration solutions, but the term can also refer to integrated solutions like dispatching tools, digital work order management solutions, and enterprise management platforms.

According to the study, most field service leaders are currently using remote collaboration and assistance technology (58%) and enterprise management platforms (53%) as part of their field service operations. A significant portion of the field service industry is also using digital work order management solutions (50%) and scheduling, routing, and dispatching tools (49%).

Remote assistance has become exceedingly important in field service settings, as it enables technicians to interact with other field service experts while working in the field. This technology has proven to be a benefit to novice field service technicians who may not have an expert at hand to guide them.

Remote assistance has also become critical for customer self-service. Through mobile apps and online dashboards, customers can engage with the field service organization to fix issues on their own, reducing the need for a visit from a technician.

Meanwhile, enterprise management platforms are enabling field service organizations to manage their resources more effectively, even in real time. Many companies rely on these platforms to integrate the rest of the organization’s assets with the field service function.

These results indicate that interactive tools like these will only grow in importance in the coming years. Field service organizations that haven’t invested in them could be missing key opportunities to cut costs, improve first-time fix rates, and build closer relationships with customers.

Interactive Tools Are Improving Customer Relationships

Another important metric in field service is customer engagement. This refers to the ongoing relationship between the field service organization and the customer. In the past, this relationship was cultivated primarily through the deliverance of outstanding service, but customers now expect real-time service and communication at the touch of a button.

Thankfully, interactive tools are also enabling field service organizations to interact with customers more effectively and improve engagement.

The study found that 69% of field service leaders witnessed improved customer engagement thanks to their interactive tools. Interactive tools have also had a significant impact on first-time fix rates—now a critical metric in determining customer success. Most of the respondents to the study (56%) witnessed an improvement in this area.

Field service leaders who reported improvements to their first-time fix rates attribute them to specific technologies.

For example, over one-third of the respondents (34%) said their scheduling, routing, and dispatching tools were the technologies that helped more than others when it came to first-time fix rates. Another important tool for improving first-time fix rates was remote collaboration and assistance technology, recognized by 21% of the respondents.

The combination of improved customer interaction and higher rates of first-time fixes will be key to field service success moving forward. Organizations making investments into technologies that support these objectives will be putting themselves on a path toward higher rates of customer success and customer retention.

Customer-Centric Field Service Through Interactive Technology

The break/fix model of service is now obsolete. More and more organizations are relying on strategies like remote service, self-service, predictive maintenance, and digital collaboration to serve customers.

Moving forward, field service leaders must identify deficits and gaps in the way their field service teams operate and within their relationships with customers. Once identified, they’ll be able to make key investments into new interactive technologies to improve outcomes.

To learn more about how interactive tools are changing field service, download the full report today for free.

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