Since the beginning of 2021, Help Lightning has led numerous discussions with service leaders representing companies from around the world. One of the topics we cover is what the future of field service looks like. More specifically, the question some asked was “is this the end of the field service engineer as we know it”? With the rapid growth of remote service, this seems to be a question on many service leaders’ minds.
We answer this question with, “no, but…”. No, field service engineers will not be a thing of the past. But, their roles and responsibilities will change in the next two years.
Field service engineers will always be needed to fix customer problems that are too complex to be fixed remotely. Remote service is not a good fit for all customer problems; some problems demand that an engineer be physically present to work on the problem. So it’s time to deliver better remote service.
However, many service organizations are now starting to embrace a “remote service first” approach to solving customer issues. This approach often starts with Level 1 and 2 technical support organizations. The days of a quick 3-minute triage call and then a dispatch are gone; they are giving way to a more in-depth and detailed approach. A big part of this detailed look involves the use of remote assistance software.
In fact, many forward-thinking service organizations are now requiring their technical support teams to use a remote service tool before dispatching a field service engineer. This service change has had a powerful impact on many service KPIs, such as reduced dispatches/truck rolls, improvements in mean time to resolution, increased asset uptime, increased first time fix rate, and better customer outcomes/experiences. By seeing the problem the customer is having and remotely guiding them through the solution, service organizations are becoming more productive, more efficient, and more profitable.
So what is the future of field service for the onsite engineer? What role will they play as remote service takes hold? We see the field service engineer becoming more of an account manager, continuing in the role of trusted advisor to their customers. Along with servicing down equipment, they will be looked upon to develop deeper relationships with customers, looking for possible up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. In addition, they will act as consultants whose job it is to ensure that their customers are getting maximum value from the products and services their company provides.
And even as many service organizations are moving to a remote service first approach, this is not the end of the field service engineer. Field service engineers will remain vitally important parts of service organizations. 2020 changed the world of service and the field service engineer must change with it.
When someone encounters a complex issue, they often need an expert to be onsite immediately via remote first service. With Help Lightning’s remote assistance software, two video streams become merged into one. Therefore, users can collaborate and resolve an issue together. The remote expert can actually insert their hand, use tools, and share documents. This simplifies the problem-solving process. Easy, right?
Using mobile devices, experts can now work with a partner as though they were side-by-side. You can annotate, or write across the screen. It’s easy to freeze images and use hand gestures. You can even import documents and add real objects into the merged reality environment. So, using Help Lightning, experts can solve any problem, even from thousands of miles away. So it’s time to start thinking about remote-first service.
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