The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every area of life and field service organizations continue to be at the sharp end. Internet, water and electricity services must be maintained, forcing companies to work even harder to strike the right balance between ensuring customer satisfaction and adhering to government regulations that protect technicians and customers. This new reality has impelled field service organizations to reassess their success metrics – their core KPIs. In 2019, before the world had heard of the novel coronavirus, a research report by Field Service News unsurprisingly identified improving operational efficiency-focused metrics as the top priority of field service organizations. However, the data also revealed that this mindset had already begun to shift, with field service organizations aligning with other enterprises that have transitioned to more customer-centric models. In fact, 65% of field service organizations identified customer satisfaction as either equal to or higher in importance than operational efficiency.
Focusing on customer satisfaction as an outcome of the service interaction has led companies to shift their measures of success too. Some 91% of companies surveyed by Field Service News stated that NPS or an equivalent metric is a key field service KPI for their organization.
To ensure customer expectations are met, organizations are therefore shifting to proactive field service delivery, instead of focusing on a reactive break-fix model. For example, in the B2B realm, rather than simply measuring the First Time Fix rate, customer-centric companies are measuring Machine Downtime or Overall Equipment Effectiveness, shifting the focus from the process to the overall impact. It is not enough that the technician fixes the machine on his first visit. Organizations are now concerned with how long the machine was down before he got there.
Outcome-based KPIs such as these are crucial when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Adapting field service metrics to remote support
The move to big-picture field service KPIs is accelerating further due to the current reality. During the COVID-19 pandemic, technicians are trying to ensure service delivery in different ways than in the past. Remote assistance has become commonplace as lockdowns and travel restrictions are altering the field service technician’s capacity for standard day-to-day activities. Providing service remotely enables field service organizations to maintain a business-as-usual atmosphere when technician visits are not feasible or safe.
As remote assistance becomes more widely used, some field service KPIs will need reassessing. For example, a case that would have once been measured by First Time Fix rate can now come under the First Contact Resolution umbrella. MTTR (not including lead and travel time) will still, of course, be widely measured, but in the remote support era, it will increasingly be considered in terms of handle time.
How visual assistance affects these field service KPIs
Visual Assistance allows a field service professional to view a customer’s equipment via their mobile device, and visually guide them to a resolution using on-screen Augmented Reality annotations. This minimizes the level of effort that is necessary to resolve the issue and enables organizations to avoid many technician dispatches altogether. With remote Visual Assistance, technicians can quickly execute basic repairs by showing the customer the exact actions they need to take.
This new way of working has given rise to the Remote Resolution rate. Currently, around one-third of service calls can be resolved remotely, but that is on the basis of traditional phone support, without the visual dimension. Data revealed in a recent webinar demonstrates that 30% of scheduled engineer visits can be canceled thanks to remote sessions. In addition, the technology delivers a 90% reduction in No Fault Found dispatches.
Rethinking traditional KPIs
With an increasing focus on customer experience and the growing success of remote support technologies, some field service organizations are taking a long, hard look at whether the traditional field service KPIs they’ve always measured should be revised.
With fewer dispatches, Technician Travel Time will inevitably decrease, freeing up staff to handle more issues per day. The ability to resolve more issues will drive up Technician Utilization rates and make the entire field service organization more productive. Visits per Engineer per Day is likely to become less important as a metric, while New Hire Training Time will be much more closely studied as organizations measure the value of visual tools for bringing novice technicians up to speed.
Field Service delivery in the new normal
The pandemic has created a new reality in which organizations are adapting their field service KPIs or reevaluating their importance. With many technicians working remotely, remote Visual Assistance has emerged as a viable option to meet both operational and customer service-based KPIs. Introducing a visual element into the mix drives up success rates and further validates the reasons why field service organizations have moved to outcome-based service models.
This article was first published on the TechSee blog.