Based both on the topline findings of Strategies For Growth’s 2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey and follow-up research, it is not surprising that the field services community recognizes it will need to increase its investments in new technologies and mobile tools in order to compete in an expanding global marketplace. It also recognizes that it will need to develop or improve the metrics it uses to measure the impact that technology advances are having on an organization’s performance.
Here are the priority strategic actions for the top-performing field service companies today, according to our 2014 benchmark survey:
- Develop or improve metrics to measure service performance (61 percent)
- Invest in mobile technology for field technicians (42 percent)
- Integrate new technologies into existing operation (35 percent)
- Automate existing manual processes (30 percent)
- Provide additional training to field service techs and dispatchers (28 percent)
- Enable enterprise-wide access to data collected in the field (24 percent)
Today’s global economy demands that these investments be made incrementally. Service organizations need to embrace new technologies — but without forgetting that the goal is still “all about the customer.”
Planned strategic actions by Q3 2015 also reflect a dynamic approach to the field service marketplace. For example, an additional 41 percent of respondents plan to develop or improve their use of field service metrics by Q3 2015, and nearly as many plan to integrate new technologies (36 percent) and invest in the next generation of mobile tools (33 percent) to support their technicians in the field.
What these data primarily show is that the field service community recognizes the need to take specific strategic actions to enhance and improve existing service operations, and that these actions begin first and foremost with the need to develop or improve the use of service metrics and KPIs in measuring and monitoring their service delivery performance. In addition, the survey results show that FSOs recognize the need to invest in the right technologies and mobile tools to empower their resources both in the field and the back office to improve existing processes, meet the growing needs of customers and improve profitability.
These five performance metrics are used by a majority of service organizations that participated in the survey:
- 80 percent – Customer Satisfaction (up from 70 percent in the 2011 survey)
- 72 percent – Total Service Revenue (up from 66 percent)
- 69 percent – Total Service Cost (up from 51 percent)
- 59 percent – Field Technician Utilization (up slightly from 56 percent)
- 52 percent – Service Revenue, as a Percent of Total Revenue (not asked in 2011)
The survey findings also show that service organizations eager to become top performers don’t merely look at outcomes, such as improving profitability or customer satisfaction; they also want to identify the root causes of major problems, and use new technology smartly to solve them.
Whether it is access to data and information that represents the past, present or future, leading field service organizations recognize the importance of measuring their performance over time.