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Digital Transformation In Field Service: IdeaShare Workshop Recap

July 12, 2021

We were excited to partner with John Carroll, the CEO and founder of the Service Council, for an IdeaShare workshop exploring how field service organizations are adapting to digital transformation. The Service Council is a Boston-based research analyst firm. Topics for the workshop included digital transformation trends, how these trends affect organizations, and the application of Help Lightning’s innovative remote assistance software.

Key additional contributors to the workshop included Gary York, CEO of Help Lightning; Michael Israel, COO of the Service Council; Rodger Smelcer, Vice President/Owner at United Service Technologies Inc.; and Tim Spencer, SVP & GM of Service Operations at BUNN. They were joined by 15 other field service leaders to discuss digital transformation in field service.

This recap has been edited for both length and clarity.

Digital Transformation in Field Service: Trends

JC: Thank you, everyone, for joining today’s discussion. It’s part of our idea-share experience, a platform to let the knowledge of the collective group serve as a resource for one another.

We’ve been discussing digital transformation as a continuum. There are two data sets we’ve been leveraging in terms of critical elements in service leader agendas.

The voice of the field service engineer survey gives us actual data on how technicians spend their days and how we can better invest in infrastructure and other areas to improve.

The service leader survey shows macro-level considerations. Are organizations reactive or proactive right now? The service leader agenda can reveal where the pressures are on organizations.

MI: We’ve been getting tremendous participation in this survey from field technicians, giving us a wealth of meaningful data. Many see field service as a long-term career, but many believe they aren’t going to stay. This presents a skillset problem for organizations.

The survey shows that technicians like fixing things and solving problems, with many listing that as the reason they entered this field. It also indicates that technicians dislike paperwork and administrative tasks.

JC: The survey also shows that calling another technician for support is the primary way to handle unanticipated problems. This ties up two technicians at once. Digital transformations are implementing collaboration more effectively.

The key digital transformation goals for organizations are to gain efficiency, standardize across the service network, maintain consistency in service delivery, and reach a faster time to value for technicians.

How Organizations Are Handling Digital Transformation

TS: Four years ago, our goal was to establish rapid growth. The challenge we faced was getting technicians to a point where they were knowledgeable quickly. At the same time, we were launching new, more complex equipment. We wanted to maintain our family-owned corporate culture through this and impart it to our new people who aren’t headquartered employees. Help Lightning helped us to implement a solution to achieve all of these goals.

RS: With Help Lightning, we’ve established a digital support team of experienced technicians that support those who are out in the field. We’ve also reduced the mean time-to-fix by shifting support from field technicians to the digital support group.

JC: Customers are seeking a digital-first support approach with self-serve and digital portals. Do you feel that this has been driving your digital transformation?

TS: We first started our digital transformation to resolve the internal problems we were facing at BUNN. In the end, it’s the customer who has benefited most. We’ve reduced time on-site and improved satisfaction using Help Lightning.

RS: Simplifying administrative processes has always been a goal. Our technicians want straightforward processes. Today, in addition to AR-enabled software like Help Lightning, we’re also implementing technologies like AI to navigate service calls and streamline operations.

Upscaling And Rescaling Teams; Measuring Improvements

JC: In terms of upscaling and rescaling, we’re working in skilled trades where a digital transformation can seem intimidating. Have you seen this in your organization’s culture?

TS: Field service technicians understand the value of their skills. However, they don’t always want to ask for help. The technology itself isn’t the problem — it’s creating a culture where technicians can reach out through the technology for help.

JC: What do you see in terms of measurable improvements due to digital transformation?

RS: Our focus with the digital support team was to get technicians to productivity faster. The digital support team makes support readily available for new technicians. They’re a proactive team that watches what’s happening in the field and reaches out when they believe there may be a problem.

Digital Transformation in Field Service: Benefits From Help Lightning

GY: During the pandemic, we’ve seen so many new ways that Help Lightning has solved problems for organizations. Help Lightning provides a framework for handling real issues in the field.

The Help Lightning app begins with a face-to-face call that allows for a rapport to be established. Rear camera integration makes it easy to show the problems they’re facing visually. The technician that’s assisting can use the app to point out specific points on the image to the caller, giving a visual aid to explanations.

It’s also easy to pull up and share technical documents and guides. This makes Help Lightning simple to integrate with existing workflows. Help Lightning removes obstacles to communicating expertise to technicians in the field.

We’re seeing clients capture and curate these calls to serve as a valuable tool for future reference. Help Lightning is allowing people to receive faster help from the right experts for the job.

Managing Digital Transformation Into The Future

JC: Involving technicians in these transformation strategies and getting their input improves the process and builds a better culture that enhances employee engagement. Technician involvement in digital transformations is crucial. Their input helps to improve the process and creates a stronger culture of employee engagement.

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions to the discussion. For our listening audience, we’ll be back in person with the 2021 Smarter Services Symposium in Chicago from September 13th to 15th.

To learn more about Help Lightning’s positive role in digital transformation in field service, request a free demo today.

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