When an on-site visit from a technical Field Service engineer is somehow not proceeding as planned, it often leads to a considerable waste of money. The five most common reasons why a service cannot be completely finished are:
1. The engineer does not have the right part at their disposal
2. The customer or the object is not ready for service
3. The predetermined diagnosis proves to be the wrong one once the engineer is on-site
4. The engineer does not have the required skill set
5. The solution was only a temporary fix
The problems listed above cost the service company money, the Field Service engineer time, and the customer their patience and satisfaction. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service gives you access to Resource Scheduling Optimization, which automatically creates an optimized schedule for Field Service engineers depending on location, time, the SLA with each specific customer, personal customer preferences, and the right skill set for the job. Field Service engineers are able to check their schedule on a tablet or smartphone to see the routes they have to take. When a change to the schedule is made, for instance, because an unexpected job takes precedence which requires someone with a very specific skill set, the Field Service engineer gets notified with a new route. The right person will always be in the right place. Once a Field Service engineer has finished a job, the next job is already set up right after. This will make optimum use of the Field Service engineer’s time, ensuring no time is lost between jobs.
Projects can also be planned with the schedule board. When 50 boilers need to be replaced, for example, it is useful if there is a complete overview of all available Field Service engineers, based on which the most efficient schedule can be generated, taking into account the workload of each individual Field Service Engineer. This approach makes it possible to automatically draw up completely optimized schedules, taking into account the needs and requirements of the customer, the Field Service Engineer and the company.
2. Empower & mobilize Field Service engineers
Field Service staff often feel like they are on their own or have not been given the proper information to solve a problem at a customer’s site. They want to personally take control and have insight into what’s happening.
When you enable your Field Service engineers to be ‘mobile’, the company benefits from:
- On-time appointments due to optimized schedules and routes
- Case history & instructions: all the information about the customer close at hand and, when required, insight into all the steps to finish the job.
- Work order completion: the Field Service engineer can take photos of the finished job, acquire a customer signature, and even take care of payment.
The process of purchasing new parts using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service has also been optimized. When a specific part is needed for a job, the Field Service engineer is personally able to order the right part immediately. When it is ordered the option to ‘send to ERP’ can be chosen from the purchasing page, ensuring that the order will immediately be entered into the company’s ERP system. When the Field Service engineer agrees on a certain price, the purchase can be approved immediately, which means the part can be placed on order immediately. This increases the efficiency of the ordering process and eliminates unnecessary waiting periods.
Mobility is a game changer in Field Service enabling Field Service engineers to improve their flexibility in the field. A complete overview of the customer’s situation, as well as real-time guidance, are requirements for an independent Field Service engineer and an optimal customer relationship.
3. Machine Learning and IoT in Field Service
When your car breaks down, it would be useful if your car could tell you the exact nature of the breakdown. That would save a lot of valuable time. Machine learning makes this possible. Meticulous documentation can be set up, detailing which customers or machines often have issues, the exact nature of those problems, what type of solutions have been suggested, and which ones were most effective. If it becomes clear, that a certain solution is always the most effective for a certain customer, the system can be set up in such a way that the problem can be fixed in advance by the right Field Service Engineer with the proper skill set, or even by providing the customer with the proper instructions remotely.
Field Service allows you to make the best use of the opportunities offered by devices connected to the Internet of Things. This optimal deployment ensures that problems are predicted before down-time occurs and before the customer is bothered by it. Connected Field Service provides the following benefits:
- You can detect and solve problems even before the customer is aware of them, and only have to deploy a Field Service engineer when necessary.
- You can effortlessly implement predictive maintenance: repairing, cleaning, or replacing parts when it becomes necessary instead of using a fixed maintenance schedule.
- You can set up an automatic work order to dispatch the right Field Service engineer when self-repairing steps are unable to solve the problem.
Since Connected Field Service connects devices in the field and harnesses the power of Microsoft Azure, organizations are able to predict problems even before they arise. As a result, problems can be resolved at minimal cost without inconveniencing the customer.
4. Optimal use of the cloud with the Azure IoT Suite
What exactly is the Azure IoT Suite all about? Let’s take a step back and start with the problem it was originally designed for. We are currently observing a huge increase in IoT solutions, but why now specifically? The answer to this question is simple: the benefits of IoT solutions are starting to outweigh the costs that need to be incurred to implement them. The complex configuration required by IoT technology comes with a hefty price tag; sensors are needed to safely send all information across devices, data needs to be stored, processed and analysed in an intelligent way, and in the end it all needs to be presented to the end user in a clear, concise format.
Today’s hardware is far more affordable and the connectivity has become cheaper. Imagine streaming Netflix movies in HD at no extra costs!
The Azure IoT Suite is a set of different technologies joined together in one single tool in the cloud. What does this tool comprise?
- Data storage
- Data analytics
- Stream processing
- Predictive analytics
- Workflow automation
Everything you need to achieve optimal use of the cloud.
5. Customer relations optimization
In 2016, studies showed that 62% of all consumers worldwide would refuse to do business with a brand in future after just a single bad experience with customer service. This shows that customer service is essential and must be flawless. Using ‘Customer Communications’, Field Service helps you retain customers by providing optimal service, that gives insight and gets the customer engaged in the processes:
- Companies need to gain insight and get control of the complete customer journey, across all touchpoints.
- Maintaining customer relations no longer needs to be a ‘one size fits all’ model, but instead, should be tailored to each individual customer.
- Companies need to meet the customer halfway by being present on all the channels that the customer uses (email, chat, social media, web, telephone, in-store, etc.).
- Possibly even the most important thing: in today’s day and age, providing service to a customer is no longer a matter of just one transaction. It is vital to build relationships for the long term.
In addition, real-time, up-to-date inventory management is an absolute requirement. Ineffective inventory management not only cuts deep into a company’s profitability but is also a source of annoyance for the customer. With ‘Customer Communications’, you will always be able to rely on a personalized, proactive, predictive approach to the customer. That is exactly what today’s customer craves and what companies should provide.
Why Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service?
The way customers communicate with companies has also changed dramatically – through social media, for example. This agile environment needs to align seamlessly with your CRM system. This is in direct contrast to the ERP system, which requires a static, accurate system. Once Microsoft Dynamics 365 is introduced, there are no more partitions between an organization’s ERP and CRM systems. Everything is integrated into one complete Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution:
- Customer Service
- Field Service
- Project Service Automation
There is no other company that unifies all of these tools and provides access to them in a single platform. Integration of different business units has been optimised in Dynamics 365. Utilizing the 42 languages that Microsoft offers, in conjunction with the unification of all processes, the system runs like a perfectly tuned machine. It goes without saying that all the company’s individual preferences can be included in the implementation. This makes it even more important to choose a strong implementation partner. HSO provides support for local and international companies in retail, wholesale, industry, technical services and other professional services during implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365. They will take care of your implementation, optimization and administration needs. Relying on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and partnered with HSO, you will future-proof your company.
Looking for more great resources to improve your field service operations? Download Seven reasons to embrace Connected Field Service or watch our on-demand webinar to understand the benefits of field service for your organization.