There are numerous opportunities to improve upon the customer journey in the field services example. Consider the following example service flow:
- A customer’s initial request into a service company is typically via phone or for the more technically astute company, via a web-based request form or web chat. Typically customer information has to be manually connected, manually input into CRM and manually copied to the field service management application, if one exists. The process is slow and relies on significant human input and manual entry that is prone to transposing errors and inconsistencies.
- Dispatchers receive input of the new order. Through knowledge of their business and dispatch records, they assess where their field staff will be and assign the job. They call back the client and give them a four hour window when the field tech is available to be at the location.
- The dispatcher puts the job on the field tech’s schedule for the next available time (often the next day) within the field service management system.
- Within the course of the day of the job, the tech’s previous jobs run long and the field tech arrives at the customer in the last 30 minutes of the four-hour window. The customer is less than impressed and is in the middle of a meeting and surprised when the field tech arrives.
- Once the field tech investigates the issue at hand, he is unsure as to the procedure to complete the work. He tries to call the office main number using his personal mobile to ask questions, but after waiting 20 minutes without response, decides to give up and return to the office for reinforcements.
- He returns to the office because he did not have the supplies needed to complete the job.
- He returns the next day to resolve the issue and completes the job.
- Once the work is complete, the field tech writes out a paper record and informs the customer that invoice will be sent in the mail.
- At the end of the week, the field tech turns in his paperwork to the accounting department to mail the invoice, 30 days net receipt.
At the end of the process, the customer is relieved that their issue resolved, is less than satisfied, but is happy that they will not be forced to pay for service until the next month. This is obviously not the best outcome for the service company.
The current process has many opportunities for improvement. Numerous communications are received without context. Each step, the company has to start over to determine the customer situation to make the next step. While some context is captured across CRM, field service management and accounting systems, this context is isolated to the system of record and disconnected from the communications of the company representatives. As a result, the service duration is extended, customer service is marginal and the job steps are repeated, given the inefficiencies of this typical process.