Gone are the days when a service technician was just a repairman, called to fix a broken piece of equipment. Service today is quickly evolving from a break-fix model to a more proactive model driven by the monitoring and analysis of IoT data to determine when to deliver service before a problem arises. With this new model, technicians spend less time repairing broken equipment and more time providing preventive and predictive service. But there are several other important trends that are driving changes in the technician’s role.

Today, many organizations realize that their service technicians are the face of their brand. They are the ones visiting customers on a regular basis and they, more than any other function, have an impact on customer experience. For many organizations, this also presents the opportunity to leverage their technicians in the selling process — for sales of parts, consumables and additional services; as a trusted advisor for purchase recommendations for upgrades and add-ons; or as a source of customer information that can be used for sales and marketing campaigns.

The other change is the profile and skillset of the technicians. Modern equipment is layered with electronics, sensors, and software — essentially a computer with some moving parts attached. Problem diagnostics today start — and often end — with computer readings and analysis of sensor data. The primary service tool is the laptop, not the wrench. That means that service technicians are truly becoming service engineers. They are much more technology savvy and comfortable using technology to do their jobs. With that comes a new level of pressure on service engineers as it relates to their skills and training. The innovation cycle often outpaces the training cycle with product releases coming out faster than the technicians can be trained on them! That puts a whole new pressure on the engineers and their training teams as they seek new ways to learn new products amid a continuous learning cycle.

All of these changes mean that a new technician profile is emerging. The old, centrally directed model needs to evolve as modern service engineers are much more independent, flexible, and in need of making their own decisions in the field. That also means that they need a tool that provides them with the kind of functionality that enables a relatively high degree of autonomy.

Such capabilities start with the ability to easily view their daily or weekly work in different views – on a calendar or on a map, providing them with all the information needed to not only plan their day but to quickly assess any situation that may arise and make the right call. It includes the ability to receive real-time notifications and to act upon them — from simple accept/reject of work orders to self-dispatch. It also includes the capability to locate parts, other technicians, or tools in the field and to swap parts with others as needed. The ability to capture data is simplified with easy to use checklists and forms, along with the ability to capture photos, videos and documents. And, it includes the ability to work offline with robust and fast data synchronization.

The new ServiceMax app, the 4th generation app built on our years of experience, provides such functionality that fosters technician autonomy in a consumer-style user experience available on a smart phone device of their choice. Don’t miss our upcoming webinar (Oct. 11) to learn more about the new ServiceMax app.

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ABOUT Lubor Ptacek

Avatar photoLubor Ptacek is a former SVP of product & solution marketing at ServiceMax, the leader in Service Execution Management.