Author Archives: sachin

  1. Gain Deeper Service Insights With These Three Data Entry Best Practices

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    Get the most out of your service data by using these three actionable steps to encourage accurate data entry and create a data-driven field service culture

    Field service organizations can’t be truly data-driven without complete, high-quality data…but achieving that is not always a breeze. It’s a common challenge that many field service teams consistently face across industries.

    The biggest obstacle to achieving high-quality data? Poor data entry practices.

    In addition to overseeing service operations, field service leaders are now responsible for their team’s data entry strategies and processes. To help them, we’ve outlined three best practices that every service team should follow when entering and managing data. Here’s how service leaders can empower their teams to input the cleanest, most complete service information into their databases, ultimately resulting in stronger data analysis and improved service outcomes.

    1. Prioritize free-form data entry over CRM dropdowns

    Your employees’ notes and expertise are the most critical and useful data that you can collect. CRM dropdowns are a common data-entry tool because they can seemingly make the data-entry process easier. But, more often than not, these shortcuts lead to bad data and low-quality insights; they are limiting and can ruin an organization’s understanding of what is really happening. Dropdowns can be useful in some cases, but when it comes to symptoms, observations, and outcomes of a service event, encouraging your technicians to provide as much detail as possible will help in the long run.

    Dropdowns also often create lazy behaviors. In a dropdown picklist, the two most common selections are almost always going to be the first option and “other”. Because of this, dropdowns are known to cause inaccurate data that lacks detail, leading to poor insights.

    Encourage your technicians to enter an unlimited amount of free-form data (for example, detailed notes that include key observations about the job/service encounter, what they expected the issue was, which parts or processes were failing, what fix they put in place, any other challenges they faced). This is the most important data you can gather and it creates a much deeper level of understanding of what is happening in the field.

    To get value out of these notes, consider implementing service intelligence tools that use ‘Service Language Processing’ to extract this detail and transform it into actionable outputs. The data scientists building and training these models are well-versed in the verbiage and terminology specific to the service industry, which further regulates the credibility and caliber of the insights an organization is able to derive.

    2. Establish goals and standards for data entry 

    Data entry often gets put on the back burner but it’s important your teams understand the bigger picture. Train your workforce and explain what’s expected of them as it relates to data entry. Leaders who can develop a sense of ownership of the data in their technicians will benefit significantly. Your technicians need to understand that they are responsible for the data they enter and if it’s not entered correctly it can have a negative impact on the greater organization.

    One way you can do this is to create rules around what data needs to be entered at the call center/customer service level before they can dispatch. When entering data, call center reps, technicians and teams should understand:

    • What data field must be filled out for a ticket to be closed?
    • What type of detail is expected in each field?
    • Which team is responsible for filling this detail in?

    Make data entry a part of your tech’s incentive plan. Determining incentives based on the data they input is an effective way to hold techs accountable and ensure they enter data to company standards.

    3. Review the data together in formal qualitative analysis meetings

    Leaders should carve out time to perform qualitative analyses on a weekly or monthly basis with their technicians. These meetings should include a review of 4-5 service events where the technician uses the data to drive the conversation and walk you through how things went. Be sure to keep an ear out for information they give you about the visit that isn’t reflected in the data and encourage the tech to add it to the notes.

    You don’t want your workforce to lose sight in the value of entering detailed, accurate information into your database. Use these meetings to reinforce the value of clean data and to make sure data entry is being completed to a satisfactory level. Lastly, always make sure to give your technicians an opportunity to give you feedback on the process.

    Improve the caliber of your data and level up your decision-making ability!

    Service leaders are responsible for the quality of the data being entered into their system.

    By following these best practices, they can create data-entry habits for their technicians that lead to richer insights. To learn more about how service language processing tools are helping field service organizations transform technician observations into actionable data, visit aquant.io

  2. How To Improve Your Field Service Management Software

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    What is Field Service Management?

    Every day in a field service organization is busy – whether it’s scheduling sales meetings or inspecting and repairing equipment or managing the employee experience. That’s why it’s critical to have a field service management system to track, organize, and streamline the many moving pieces. This system will ultimately become the central location that manages the entire operation.

    The goal of field service management is to empower teams to deliver the best service that they can – ultimately making it a memorable customer interaction. Field service management usually entails dispatching workers or contractors to a work site, where the teams are responsible for installing, maintaining, or repairing equipment, systems, and other assets.

    Field service management can be found across a wide variety of industries – essentially any industry that has service technicians or engineers in the field. For example, healthcare, construction,  manufacturing, and telecommunications all utilize field service management. As such, there are many types of field service management, including:

    • Field service scheduling: arranging employee schedules, service appointments, and work orders.
    • Field service dispatch: sending the right field service technicians and specialists to work assignments.
    • Work order management: assigning and tracking work orders to the correct team – and usually includes managing the entire process from completion to invoicing.
    • Inventory management: keeping up with parts and supplies inventory, from the transfer of products to adjustments and more.
    • Field service contract management: overseeing and managing customer contracts and ensuring that all Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met.

    What is Field Service Management Software?

    Managing your workforce involves many moving pieces – and field service management software is just one set of tools that can help organizations corral and maintain their resources.

    When leveraged effectively, field service management software helps managers and technicians process job orders, automate scheduling and dispatch routines, keep track of service and repair tasks, manage customer service contracts, collect payments, and more. This is the key to maintaining an amazing customer experience – and competitive advantage. Some benefits of field management software include:

    • Mobile Field Service Management Software: With cloud and mobile capabilities, this software keeps technicians connected on the job. They can use mobile capabilities to capture images, troubleshoot remote assets, and evaluate the root causes of issues. Some providers also offer AI and AR capabilities, which help with collaboration.
    • Enterprise Asset Management Software: This type of software allows organizations to centralize information, as well as maintain and control operational assets and equipment. By doing both of these things, maintenance can be performed both on- and off-premises, which increases uptime and reduces costs, among other benefits.
    • Inventory Management Systems: This tool helps organizations optimize maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) inventory. It helps them keep granular tabs on inventory performance, and offers optimized recommendations for inventory and reorder levels.
    • Service Intelligence Platforms: This type of platform helps businesses understand their data from a completely holistic standpoint. It analyzes an organization’s data and helps connect the dots of its business. It produces actionable recommendations based on the analyses performed – which leads to memorable CX, reduced customer churn, lowered service costs, an upskilled workforce, and more.

    Why is Field Service Management important?

    The benefits of effective field service management are numerous. In short, automating field service tasks helps to streamline workflows – ultimately saving critical resources such as time, money, and labor. When done correctly, field service management allows you to:

    • Streamline work orders. Field service technicians struggle the most with pre-visit service history reviews, knowledge base access, service manual access, and more. Sound familiar? Field service management software can help by processing job orders, scheduling and dispatching techs, tracking service and repair tasks, and managing customer service contracts – among other items.
    • Save thousands of hours every year (and increase revenue!). Time is money, and manual processes can cause work orders to be missed. With field service management platforms, all data is collected and tracked in one platform, helping you to see your business holistically. When you have an accurate overview of your organization, you can make wiser decisions about how to allocate your resources.
    • Improve productivity and satisfaction across managers, service teams, and customers. With the right tools, inefficient processes and repetitive tasks can easily be automated – allowing your employees to focus on more challenging, engaging, and satisfying work. Optimal employee experiences lead to happier workforces – and higher retention rates! – which boosts productivity and the bottom line. Additionally, you can track job progress and keep customers updated on their requests, creating a proactive service environment and positive customer experience.
    • Keep track of technician performance. Field service management software tracks technician locations, service orders, and performance metrics in real time. Managers can see where their techs are excelling or where they need the most help. This improves field service operations efficiency – especially because managers can anticipate and solve problems before they occur. Having these kinds of metrics on hand also ensures that organizations are meeting and exceeding customer expectations with every job completed.
    • Communicate more efficiently with customers and technicians. Between automated scheduling and dispatch, real-time updates, customer service contract management, and payment processing capabilities, field service management software can improve communication between customers and the company. When customers are satisfied, they are more likely to stay on board and spread the word.

    History of Field Service Management – and a Look at its Future

    Traditional field service management was very manual – think paper forms and log books. But with the emergence of mobile, on-the-go solutions,  field service management has been going through its own evolution from analog to digital.

    But while digital transformation can be credited with small increases in efficiency, productivity, ROI, and customer and employee satisfaction, it has also introduced more few challenges. As the technology gets even better, customers are demanding more. For example, modern customers want online scheduling, precise appointments, the ability to select a trusted or preferred technician, and constant job status updates and tracking.

    That’s why the next evolution of field service management is moving towards artificial intelligence and smart solutions that understand challenges before they become crises, and offer data-driven solutions for every business need.

    Field Service Management’s Evolution into Service Intelligence

    Today’s organizations want to make laser-focused business decisions. And while field service management solutions are one type of solution, they do have limitations.  Artificial intelligence used to be a future goal for most field service organizations, but with the level of user-friendly AI available today, companies can find the right technology to meet their challenges. While not all AI is created equal, there is an all-encompassing solution on the market: Service Intelligence.

    Built with the needs of service organizations in mind, Service Intelligence goes beyond traditional business intelligence tools. Using a combination of Service Language Processing and Machine Learning, it provides actionable insights into the state of organizations, enabling service leaders to make data-driven decisions. It also equips technicians with the knowledge they need to diagnose and repair an issue on the first visit, subsequently improving customer interactions and reducing costs. Service Intelligence has the power to show which aspects of your business are working – and why.

    It also delivers actionable recommendations based on business priorities and customer needs. And just as importantly, it presents that information in a way that details where executives should make improvements and which areas they should focus on in order to cut down on costs.

    Platforms like Aquant understand that each organization has a unique set of needs. However, at their core, each organization is looking to:

    • Understand the stories told by their data and use these insights to connect every aspect of their business.
    • Predict and mitigate service escalations.
    • Deliver amazing customer experiences and reduce customer churn.
    • Lower service costs – especially with a looming recession.
    • Make every team member a service hero that performs at the level of their top technicians – even if they’re new to the service industry.

    Ready to make your service data your greatest asset? Request a demo today. 

  3. How to prevent “quiet-quitting” in the field service industry

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    Service organizations are already understaffed due to a labor shortage and a Baby Boomer retirement wave. “Quiet-quitting” could further impact workforce performance and the customer experience. With a little help from technology, service leaders can increase workforce engagement. Here’s how.

    The philosophy of quiet quitting is not about leaving a job, but instead, doing exactly what the job requires, no more no less. It means no longer going above and beyond and withdrawing from the idea of “hustle culture” in an effort to find a better balance between life and work. 

    Taking steps to set healthy boundaries at work is important—and something everybody should do to avoid burnout. However, “quiet quitting” culture is a step beyond, and is understandably worrying business leaders and managers across industries. There’s a difference between working to find a better work-life balance and being totally disengaged. A successful workforce is full of employees who are motivated, engaged, and self-driven because they find meaning and fulfillment in the work that they do. 

    Experts argue that although doing less might feel good for employees in the short term, it could harm your career—and your company—in the long run. It can also cause conflicts between employees, as some employees will feel others aren’t carrying their weight. So how should field service leaders address quiet-quitting culture and what steps should they take to keep their workers engaged?

    Equip your workforce with the technology they need to operate at their highest potential.

    Help your technicians and teams work smarter, not harder. Employees need leaders and direct managers who offer them the necessary tools, resources, and technology that enables them to get their work done at their highest potential. When employees feel like they can get their job done more efficiently, they are more engaged in their work. Higher employee morale = increased productivity. 

    AI-driven diagnostic tools like Aquant’s Intelligent Triage can help technicians get to the root of the problem faster and complete jobs without running into any hurdles. This kind of technology benefits all generations.  Techs with less seniority no longer need to lean so heavily on experienced techs for support to resolve a customer issue. Senior technicians can spend less time training younger generations on simple tasks and can spend more time helping them grow in more holistic ways. And even the most experienced workforce gets a boost in new or extremely complex machinery. Because the technology helps all levels of technicians solve the issue faster, they’re able to use that extra time in their day to focus on other areas of professional development. 

    Business leaders need to be able to measure the performance of their workers

    It’s difficult to know which workers are overperforming and which are underperforming unless you have the technology to analyze and measure their performance. Certain AI platforms are designed to objectively measure workforce performance so that leaders can identify training needs, see where employees excel, dig into areas that might be institutional or product failures versus employee issues, and even highlight the best candidates for mentors. 

    Field service organizations are using Service Insights to measure their teams’ performance. A leader at one large med-device company described the software as “a scoreboard where you’re able to reflect the performance of your team in real dollars as well as efficiency.” And this kind of pinpointed intelligence is the best of both worlds for managers and employees who benefit from targeted training programs.

    Employees are burnt out. They need resources that take work off their plate. 

    Most industries continue to struggle with labor shortages and skills gaps. Leveraging the right AI-driven tools gives service organizations access to a wider candidate pool, letting them hire great people and train them on the technical aspects of the job. Tools like Service Intelligence combines the wisdom of the most skilled workforce with information like parts data or machine feedback and puts that information into the palm, or the phone, of every worker. Employees will face fewer struggles during their day and have the extra time and mental capacity to deliver exceptional customer service. New hires will feel more confident. This access to 24/7 information will help alleviate the burden and extra work that often rests on the shoulder of more experienced staff. 

    All of these small improvements will help boost employee engagement, which is more critical now than ever before. Service leaders need to listen to their workers, understand where they might be falling short or why they’re disengaging, and offer them the tools they need in order to get their jobs done more efficiently. Employee disengagement is often a result of burnout so it’s critical that leaders get proactive before their employees hit a wall. AI is here to help your overworked technicians find the work-life balance they’re looking for. 

  4. What is Workforce Management (and How Does it Work)?

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    What is workforce management?

    Workforce management (WFM) is a set of processes that maximize workforce performance and productivity with the goal of boosting organizational performance. But what does that mean exactly? 

    Simply put: WFM means a holistic way to ensure that your employees are as productive as possible by making sure they always have the right resources – whenever they need them.

    With origins as a staff scheduling process for call centers, WFM has evolved into a complex framework for maintaining teams, budgeting, scheduling, and more. Today, its processes and tools are used across a number of business functions, including human resource management, performance and training management, scheduling, data collection, recruiting, budgeting and forecasting, scheduling, and analytics. Workforce management is a type of software applicable to a wide range of industries – including field service. 

    As an extension of workforce management, field service management tools help teams better serve their clients and reduce overhead costs. Over the last decade, workforce management and field service management has evolved from time, attendance, and scheduling tools, to more sophisticated, data-driven technology that can continuously improve and manage workforce performance. Today, service intelligence is one of the most powerful tools available to leaders that need to manage their service workforce.  

    Why workforce management is important

    To answer this question, it’s first essential to understand how workforce management strategies are developed and used – as well as what an efficient one looks like. 

    An airtight workforce management process prioritizes efficiency and safety for all employees, all while ensuring that they have the correct resources to do their jobs efficiently. When done right, workforce management goes beyond performance and scheduling. It provides insights into the exact ways that companies should invest in their employees. 

    With that foundation in mind, a solid workforce management strategy would provide insights into all aspects of a business. Workforce management is overall pretty flexible, but there are a few items that you should always include in your organization’s process. A strong workforce management solution should be capable of the following functions, to name a few:

    • Data collection: collecting statistics about the workforce’s performance
    • Field service management: making sure that company resources are dispatched and utilized correctly for each job
    • Performance tracking: ensuring that employee performance meets and exceeds company expectations and KPIs
    • Budgeting: planning and using allocated financial resources for internal and external efforts
    • Recruitment: sourcing, shortlisting, interviewing, and selecting the right candidates for available positions
    • Training: providing training, coaching, or resources (online or otherwise!) that ensure that employees are up-to-date on the latest skills for their jobs
    • Knowledge Management tools: collating field notes and more from top techs – and making them accessible to front-line ambassadors, who can use the intel to help customers resolve their challenges without involving a technician
    • Service analytics and recommendations: looking at an organization’s current landscape in order to determine areas of success and opportunities – and then providing actionable suggestions for improvement 

    Advantages of a efficient workforce management process

    When successfully implemented and utilized, workforce management allows companies to improve their performance across the board by tracking goals and KPIs. Additionally, it helps to manage and flag costs. And, possibly more importantly, it allows organizations to understand their team on a deeper level – including their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This ensures that workers are constantly invested in and improved, which leads to happier employees, increased productivity, and improved retention. Above all, all roads lead to an improved customer experience across the board. 

    Workforce management systems can help:

    • Control costs: Thanks to the help of technology, manual tracking is a thing of the past. Costly expenses, from overstaffing to excessive overtime, can be easily managed – and minimized. 
    • Run payroll: Many workforce management software automatically analyze hourly labor and overtime patterns. This increases payroll’s reliability. 
    • Improve productivity: Want to benchmark your productivity against your peers? Workforce management systems can help you cross-reference data from KPIs, time, attendance, etc. against businesses that are similar in size or industry. With the right insights, you can help your employees get up to speed, assign them tasks that are within their capabilities, and more. 
    • Develop smarter scheduling: You always want to make sure your vacancies are filled by the right people with the correct skill sets. This will ensure that you have optimal coverage at all times in every location.

    Choosing the right workforce management solution for your organization

    There are a number of workforce management solutions on the market, with options ranging from basic time and attendance functionalities to total transformation with service analytics and AI. With that in mind, there are a few factors that determine the right workforce management solutions for a business, including industry, location, company goals, and employee needs. 

    However, it can be costly to build in-house systems, so most companies turn to third-party tools and software. When evaluating solutions, be sure to:

    • Take a look at your existing workforce management processes. This can help determine if your organization is ready for an advanced solution. What types of processes are currently in place? Who is responsible for them? How are they working? 
    • Talk to your stakeholders and get their feedback. No one knows a system better than a power user. Determine each stakeholder’s pain points and understand where they’d like to see improvements. Additionally, get to know what they like about the existing systems, and see if there are ways to streamline those processes. Remember: stakeholder buy-in is everything when implementing a new solution!
    • Develop a functionality wishlist. It’s always best to come to a solution evaluation meeting with basic discoveries done. Based on your organizational analyses and conversations with stakeholders, determine which features are non-negotiable in your ideal solution, as well as some nice-to-haves. This will help you shortlist providers that provide the exact features that you want and additional features that you did not initially consider.

    What is Workforce Management for today’s service organizations?

    Service organizations today have a unique set of needs. No matter where they are in their service journey, organizations are looking to:

    • Understand the stories told by their data and using these insights to connect every aspect of their business
    • Predict and mitigate service escalations 
    • Deliver amazing customer experiences and reduce customer churn
    • Lower service costs – especially with a looming recession 
    • Make every team member a service hero that performs at the level of their top technicians – even if they’re new to the service industry 

    Given the needs of today’s organizations, companies are making the decision to move beyond traditional workforce management tools. They need smart software, like Service Intelligence, that can help them accomplish all of the above and more. Service intelligence platforms like Aquant use technology that organizes and analyzes traditional service data and institutional knowledge from its highest-performing employees. 

    Powered by their own data, service intelligence platforms can provide workforce reporting, asset reporting, customer success reporting, and troubleshooting and triage tools. This offers entire organizations – from executives to technicians – access to custom reports, analyses, and insights that can change the way they deliver service

    Service intelligence platforms are an excellent form of workforce management solutions. Platforms like Aquant allow organizations to:

    • Identify technician training needs. Service intelligence platforms account for all details around a technician’s performance, including customer information, assets, number of visits, success rates, and more. This provides real context into the technician’s performance, especially when it comes to identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Managers can then assign techs more projects that highlight their skills, as well as provide resources for improving their performance in other areas. 
    • Upskill technicians with the help of troubleshooting tools. Effectively sharing knowledge among teams is the key to service success. Service intelligence platforms can upskill employees by keeping historical service data, tribal knowledge, equipment manuals, and more in one place – and making it accessible to anyone who needs to find it. This functionality can teach junior technicians quickly and boost technician performance across the board. 
    • Support every team within an organization, from engineering to product to field technicians. For an organization to run smoothly, all departments need to work in tandem. And when it comes to information about your assets, any data that you can provide your team is invaluable. For example, your Service team needs insights to run the business, Engineering depends on product feedback, Marketing utilizes insights to inform messaging and campaigns, and Sales benefits from intel on customer satisfaction. Gleaning the right type of insights from your data ensures that all teams have the information they need to do their job well and ultimately create an optimal customer experience.
    • Give teams insights (and context!) into customer needs and their journeys. Objectivity is everything. Taking a look at the raw data can provide predictive reporting that informs preventative maintenance – and, by proxy, a stellar customer experience. Say goodbye to unnecessary escalations and hello to memorable customer service.  

    The end result? A clear shift from traditional, break-fix service – right into predictive service that’s informed by real analytics. 

  5. 5 Strategies to Improve Service Outcomes in Capital Equipment

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    The future of service in the capital equipment and heavy machinery industry is rapidly evolving. Everyone – from executives to field service managers – is thinking about how to transform the way they deliver service. 

    That’s in response to the many challenges impacting service delivery. Customers are demanding guaranteed uptime. A historical labor shortage in the skilled trades shows no sign of slowing. Supply chain disruptions have led to longer service cycles and increased pricing pressures. The skills gap in the workforce is growing, due in part to the increasing complexity of machinery and the aging labor market.

    Let’s take a look at how savvy leaders are using technology like service intelligence to strengthen their business.

    How today’s service challenges impact service delivery

    Service leaders spend too much of their day putting out fires. They are managing uneven customer experiences, lower productivity, and higher costs. It’s hard to create a successful and profitable organization with so many moving parts.

    Amid this market disruption, capital equipment organizations, and those that service them, are also working hard to implement transformation efforts. They are adopting digitization and data-driven processes to move towards outcome-based or servitization models and away from reactive break-fix work.

    What is the future of service in capital equipment?

    “Traditionally, dealers have operated their service organizations in reactive fashion, with equipment service triggered by customer requests,” says recent research by McKinsey & Company. “Going forward, dealers have opportunities to…help customers maximize productivity and efficiency by increasing equipment uptime. Sixty-four percent of dealers consider enabling this better customer service experience to be the top opportunity in the future of service.” 

    Service executives, including the Director of Service at Konecranes, agree. They are assembling teams and implementing technology that turns data into meaningful insights. The information is critical in maximizing uptime, boosting service performance, and fostering better customer relationships. 

    What is Service intelligence, and how will it help capital equipment organizations provide better customer experiences?

    Service intelligence is the natural outgrowth of field service management software. With sophisticated artificial intelligence and data analytics, service organizations can make proactive, data-driven decisions. And furthermore, with insightful information, it’s possible to transform service from a cost center to a profit center. 

    Organizations that provide the right service at the right time are positioned to maximize uptime and dramatically improve customer satisfaction. Here’s how:

    • Data from service interactions hold valuable insights into workforce performance, asset reliability, and customer experience
    • A service intelligence platform captures and makes sense of this data in plain language
    • Service Intelligence generates prescriptive insights, builds plans to optimize service delivery, and improves efficiency
    • These platforms will also identify cost drivers, training needs, and customer issues more effectively

    Here are five ways service intelligence enables organizations to overcome service challenges and thrive in the new landscape.

    1. Bridge the Skills Gap Across the Service Workforce

    Baby Boomers are transitioning into retirement, and they’re taking much of their technical know-how and service best practices along with them. The labor shortage has made it extraordinarily difficult to hire enough people to fill the number of empty roles, and it’s also challenging to hire those who have the right technical skills.

    Smart digital tools can capture institutional knowledge from your expert service workers and distribute that information across the entire workforce. That puts experts’ hard-earned knowledge into an intuitive interface that empowers the new and digitally-native workforce. In addition, it enables hiring managers to hire candidates based on the right fit or soft skills and train on specific technical skills. 

    2. Identify Training Needs 

    When service leaders have access to granular details, combined with big-picture context, they can create specialized training for every member of the team. 

    Service intelligence platforms take into account all of the details surrounding a technician’s performance, including the customer, asset, number of visits, fixes employed, success rates, and more. Managers can review individual technician performance and performance as a group to identify where specific team members need a hand, which employees are the best candidates to act as mentors, and where to improve training programs overall.

    3. Resolve Service Issues Faster

    Equipment uptime is crucial for everyone’s success: capital equipment manufacturers, service teams, and customers who rely on the equipment for everything from construction projects to semiconductor manufacturing. Among the most critical factors in improving uptime is identifying the root cause of problems as quickly as possible. 

    The previous model, which used outdated equipment manuals and static decision trees to help determine root cause analysis, isn’t working. Today’s data-driven solutions rely on historical service data, everything from CMS and parts databases to technician notes, is the most efficient route to success—and can get smarter and more accurate over time. 

    4. Evolve from a Break/Fix Service Organization to a Predictive One

    Fixing machinery only when it spontaneously breaks results in unplanned equipment downtime – and deeply dissatisfied customers whose business gets disrupted. In addition, reactive work makes it harder to plan staffing resources, especially when the best service pros are already overscheduled. 

    Shifting from a reactive break/fix service approach to a proactive/predictive model offers customers and service teams vastly better cost control, increased equipment uptime, and superior customer experience. 

    5. Enable Accurate Decision-Making Across the Entire Organization

    Service intelligence seamlessly combines service data with workforce knowledge to create a more comprehensive view of your organization. With deeper insights, service leaders have a more accurate understanding of the workforce, customers, and assets.

    Data presented in plain language can explain why top performers are able to make fixes so quickly at a lower cost. Conversely, it will detail why some team members struggle to repair specific equipment. In addition, it will highlight customers at risk of escalation –  and even alert the team when it’s time to make a proactive service visit.

    Get a demo. See how Aquant’s Service Intelligence Platform provides service leaders across the capital equipment industry the ability to make proactive, data-driven decisions. 

  6. Three reasons why an AI investment will help reduce service costs

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    Economists are predicting a global recession in 2023. How should companies prepare? One response is to cut costs across the board; scaling back on discretionary expenditures, reducing headcounts, or cutting digital transformation efforts. However, chief information officers said they are evaluating ways to ramp up some tech investments and reduce others as recession fears grow, as reported by WSJ. But how should companies decide which tech to pursue?

    Executives and analysts told the WSJ that businesses see more value than ever in tech that will enhance the customer experience (CX). Artificial intelligence (AI) is one type of tech that will do that — and more. However, companies in the service sector, such as the field service industry, should ensure they are investing in the right AI technology for today’s challenges. 

    That’s where Service Intelligence comes in. It’s AI developed specifically for service organizations — letting companies deploy the technology quickly (without the need for a team of data scientists), and empowering everyone in the organization to make more accurate decisions. This data-driven decision-making is the catalyst to enhance CX, improve profit margins, and drive revenue. 

    Service intelligence enables organizations to understand and manage their business more deeply. It’s business intelligence but customized specifically for service organizations – using service data that has historically been “hidden.” Here are three reasons why field service organizations should invest in AI-powered tech like Service Intelligence during this period of economic uncertainty:

    Better customer service = greater market share

    A study of stock performance during the 2008 recession proved companies with higher quality customer experience had an even greater market share. Decision-makers should reconsider cutting costs that could negatively impact customer experience because companies with high-quality customer experience are more likely to withstand a recession than those that don’t. AI-powered tools that enhance CX will give businesses that edge. 

    Service has changed and the Amazon’s of the world have heightened customer expectations about the speed at which service is expected to be delivered. Field service organizations that use AI to better understand their customers can strengthen customer engagement and improve retention. Those that embrace service intelligence will have the resources and information needed to operate at levels that go beyond customer expectations while reducing costs for both the customer and their business. 

    Labor challenges are not going away

    Field service organizations, in particular, face the challenge of an aging workforce and the subsequent loss of knowledge, resulting in a skills gap and a shortage of experienced workers to train the younger generations. Technology is required in order to solve these issues, and waiting until the economy improves is not an option. Service intelligence not only trains and upskills employees more quickly, but it can also optimize labor costs.

    Hiring and onboarding the right people and training current employees when necessary is critical to maintaining adequate cash flow. It’s often more profitable to improve your current employees’ skills than it is to hire new employees. With service intelligence, you can track the performance of your workforce (i.e. who needs training on what piece of equipment). Over time, this will allow you to identify specific areas that should be addressed through ongoing field service training. When Sysmex added Service Intelligence into the ecosystem of their service efficiency tools, the combined toolset significantly reduced employee training time. Organizations who are able to shift resources away from training and instead focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience in the field see greater cost savings and better customer relationships.

    Faster and more precise decision-making

    Measuring workforce performance and customer satisfaction has historically been problematic, but there are now effective ways to gain more in-depth insights into your business using the service data your organization produces every day. It all starts with establishing baseline measurements, or snapshots of your service habits and outcomes as they stand. To form these measurements, you need to take a close look at your organization’s data – but nobody has the time to sift through a large pool of numbers to spot hidden patterns. 

    With Service Intelligence, AI does the sifting and analyzing so that executives can easily make data-backed decisions that are aligned with their business goals, from specific field technician performance to machine usage and breakdown rates. This type of assessment can help leaders determine which practices to keep or improve on and, in turn, reduce overhead costs by enabling them to keep tabs on metrics that could potentially impact costs.

    Service intelligence is the future of AI for service  

    Not all AI is created equal. Service Intelligence understands your specific business, and highlights areas that need improvements. Alternatively, it will show you what’s working and why. It also delivers actionable recommendations based on your business priorities and customer needs. It then presents that information in a way that details where executives should look to make improvements and what areas they should focus on in order to cut down on costs.

    As we enter into this period of economic uncertainty, take advantage of the opportunity to improve service while streamlining operations. When COVID hit, companies who invested in tech or were further along in their digital transformations, were more resilient and better situated to handle challenges. Any company that invests in AI that specifically helps improve customer experience, solve industry issues, and enhance their workforce, will be better positioned while their competitors are at risk of falling behind.

    Learn how Aquant’s Service Intelligence will help your organization manage costs and improve service. Get a demo of Aquant’s Service Intelligence here.

  7. 3 Service Industry Challenges That are More Common Than you Think

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    Here’s How Top Service Leaders are Solving Them 

    Finding it difficult to achieve service excellence? You’re not alone.

    COVID-19 has accelerated the speed of transformation by several years. Some organizations are ahead of the curve, but the majority are struggling to keep up. Not to mention, we’re living in a world with a number of economic barriers and challenges: customer expectations have heightened, labor shortages continue to rise, and a recession is on the horizon. 

    Service organizations are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, let alone achieve their KPIs. And unfortunately, so many of these issues have trickled down into the customer experience. 

    But with the help of a few new tools, some organizations are finding success. Read on to learn how leading service professionals are solving some of today’s top industry challenges. 

    1. Keeping up With Customer Demands

    After experiencing customer escalations, organizations often wonder, “Is there a way that we could have prevented something like this? Could we have proactively looked at different things to help us address these types of problems?”

    In one word: yes. But for many companies, NPS scores and customer surveys have been key to uncovering how customers respond to products and services. But there’s a lot they leave out. The biggest problem: they are reactionary and can’t help you avert problems before they happen. 

    To counteract this issue, one of the best ways to keep up with customer demands is to establish a data-driven culture. This means creating structured and actionable plans from all the data that you’ve got. This allows you to take data, build measurements and metrics, and pinpoint trends and insights that reflect on customers, parts, and products. 

    “We’ve seen the need to continue to improve how we enable remote service and support, especially considering COVID’s impact. You have to support customers the way they want to be supported – you can’t assume a one-size-fits-all perspective. We have to integrate all of our different data sets to produce actionable insights, and answer the question: how do we turn information into actionable data points? That’s how we’ll deliver value to our customers and serve them the way they want to be served.”

    – Linda Tucci, Senior Global Director of the Technical Solutions Center, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics

    2. Leveraging Data in a Meaningful Way

    There is currently an overall lack of resources across the service industry. And with the threat of a possible recession looming overhead, cost is one of the major factors on the minds of service leaders. 

    The best way to combat these concerns is to use your existing data to set organizational priorities. When data is leveraged to its fullest capacity, it pinpoints areas of opportunity you should be focusing on – whether that’s retention, training, customer experience, or more. 

    “Production requires customer uptime – which means we have to rethink how we train our technicians, how we run our processes, and how we deliver the service to the customer to maximize uptime. Service Insights uncovers a wide range of data, including information on parts, the amount of time it takes to get a job done, technicians and their skills, and customers and their needs. It then synthesizes that data and helps our managers understand what priorities the team needs to focus on. Instead of having our managers trying to dig through all sorts of data, they come to actionable insights. And they can start improving the way we service our customers.”

    – Mark Hessinger, Senior Vice President of Global Customer Success, 3D Systems

    3. Hiring, Training, and Retaining Top Talent

    Today’s service workforce is undergoing a dramatic generational shift. As Baby Boomers move into retirement and take their hard-earned expertise with them, a wave of younger workers are entering the service industry with a sizable learning curve. The disruption presents ongoing challenges for service organizations of all sizes. “A lot of organizations don’t give enough credit or have enough confidence that they can train people with the right raw talent and aptitude,” observed Roy Dockery, Vice President of Field Operations at Flock Safety, during an Aquant 2022 Service Leaders Spring Break session

    How can orgs attract, retain, and quickly bring younger workers up to speed before seasoned pros retire? 

    “You have to look at the makeup of your team. There’s no one-size-fits-all methodology to embrace. You have to consider all the different demographics and nuances: different age, demographics, how they learn, how they communicate, how they collaborate.

    The employee’s experience is paramount. To do more horizontal or parallel career pivots or transformation, you have to create opportunities within the service organization. To create this high-achieving team with a long tenure, you need to understand business and customer needs. It’s a lot easier to retain people than hire new ones.”

    – Paul McDermott, Director of Service & Support, T2 Biosystems

     

    Want help in solving common service challenges? Get a demo of Service Insights to see how leading organizations are predicting service and customer needs, creating data-driven plans, and more.

  8. Why Your Business Needs a Service Intelligence Platform

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    Discover what a service intelligence platform is, how it works, and how it can help improve efficiency and customer experience for service organizations of any size.

    Should your field service and technical support teams use service intelligence platforms? Do you know how these platforms will improve your operation’s efficiency? Let’s talk about what service intelligence is and how using the right service intelligence platform creates high-quality, highly efficient service experiences.

    Key Takeaways

    • Data generated from your service interactions hold valuable insights into your workforce performance, asset reliability, and customer experience
    • A service intelligence platform helps you capture and make sense of this data in plain language
    • These platforms help you generate prescriptive insights, build plans to optimize service delivery, and improve efficiency
    • You can use these platforms to identify cost drivers, training needs, and customer issues more effectively

    What is service intelligence–and why is it important?

    Any service interaction with your customers generates valuable information you can use to understand your business’s performance. These interactions (and the data they generate) are the building blocks of Service Intelligence and include:

    • Calls with a customer support team
    • On-site visits (and repeat visits) from a field service team
    • Reports of asset breakdowns 
    • Asset in need of preventative maintenance program 
    • Effectiveness of preventive maintenance activities
    • Purchase orders for assets and parts
    • Maintenance logs
    • Technician job notes
    • Technician domain knowledge

    Service intelligence is about gathering, organizing, and extrapolating this information in order to identify problems and opportunities across the organization. It’s about helping managers objectively see how their team is performing, where specific assets are experiencing challenges, and whether a customer might be close to an escalation based on hard data.

    The success of any service organization depends on delivering exceptional customer service in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The performance of your customer-facing talent is put under the magnifying glass when businesses are faced with challenging economic conditions. Managers who have easy access to holistic metrics that go beyond past trends will be able to  make decisions that will improve key areas of their business and the service their teams deliver.

    What does a service intelligence platform do?

    A service intelligence platform is a set of technologies that organizes and analyzes traditional service data and institutional knowledge from your highest-performing employees. In addition, it provides your management team with clear reports and analysis and gives your support team access to best practices during service visits. 

    Service intelligence platforms are a natural evolution of field service management software. That’s because they go beyond traditional dashboards, like BI. Unlike reactive software, service intelligence help leaders see the root cause of issues and give them prescriptive and customized insights on how to address them at scale. These new platforms eliminate the need for data exports and pivot analysis. Instead, service intelligence concisely packages critical information to be delivered directly to decision-makers. 

    Service intelligence platforms are made up of these components:

    • Workforce reporting that measures how well each of your technicians is performing in the field and provides guidance on what kind of training is needed
    • Asset reporting that identifies potential issues or engineering challenges with your products
    • Customer success reporting that identifies your performance relative to each customer and predicts escalations before they occur
    • Troubleshooting and triage tools that can be used on-site by any technician, providing every employee access to the collective knowledge of your most experienced technicians

    How a service intelligence platform will improve operating efficiency 

    Here are the major benefits of implementing a Service Intelligence Platform.

    Identify training needs

    Service intelligence platforms take into account all of the details surrounding a technician’s performance including the customer, asset, number of visits, fixes employed, success rates, and more. Reviewing individual technician performance and performance as a group helps managers identify where specific team members need a hand and where there are needs to improve training programs overall.

    Upskill technicians with troubleshooting tools

    Knowledge sharing and management are key pieces of an effective service intelligence platform. Service intelligence platforms contain intelligent triage and troubleshooting tools built from historical service data combined with the tribal knowledge of an organization’s most experienced subject matter experts. These tools upskill less senior technicians and bring up the average technician performance across the board when used properly.

    Support engineering and product teams 

    By analyzing how assets perform by customer and as a whole, product and engineering teams can identify challenges where components are failing or opportunities to make changes that eliminate downtime and improve operating efficiency.

    Understand individual customer needs and the customer experience journey

    Reviewing the hard data about customer interactions let’s service teams objectively look at customer experience. Predictive reporting based on the number of visits, success rate, time to resolution, and more will help you identify customers at a higher risk of looking for a new supplier or service provider.

    Bonus: Make the case for preventative maintenance 

    Understanding performance data across team members, assets, and customers to identify true costs. Understanding and presenting these costs backed by data helps service teams build the case for preventative maintenance contracts.

    What is the difference between service intelligence (SI) and business intelligence (BI)?

    A service intelligence platform is not the same as accessing BI dashboards. Standard dashboards that simply report KPIs like first time fix or cost per success, can’t guide you to look at top priorities or pinpoint the most critical business issue. 

    Service intelligence goes beyond BI. It seamlessly combines all your service data with workforce knowledge to create a more comprehensive view of your organization. This means it understands your data and it understands your people. Want to know why your top performers are able to make fixes so quickly at a lower cost? Or why some team members struggle to repair specific equipment. Service intelligence explains this in plain language. BI dashboards can’t do that. 

    With all of this information in one place, service leaders have a trusted source for data-driven decision-making. 

    Service Intelligence from Aquant is ready for action

    When you’re ready to deliver efficient, effective service experiences that turn your customers into your biggest promoters, get started with Aquant.

     

    The Aquant Service Intelligence Platform has everything your service & support managers and technicians need to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and improve customer experience like never before. We lead the service intelligence space with an unmatched ability to mine free-form text from technicians’ notes to create deeper observations and solutions that can be put into action by service leaders.

    Request a demo today. Learn how easily your service data can be turned into your greatest asset.

  9. What First Time Fix Rate Can’t Tell You About Service Performance

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    First Time Fix Rate (FTFR) is a standard KPI among service teams, but relying on FTFR alone creates blindspots for service leaders.

    Most service organizations cannot measure how the workforce skills gap impacts FTFR. In turn, they can’t gauge how low FTFR drives up service costs and negatively impacts customer satisfaction.

    Instead of relying on hunches, Aquant went to the source—data from more than 16.2 million work orders to create the 2023 Service Intelligence Benchmark ReportHere are key takeaways illuminating why service leaders need to look beyond FTFR if they want to gain insights into their organization’s performance.

    FTFR isn’t the best way to measure service success

    Go beyond the basic stats, especially FTFR rates, for an accurate snapshot of true service performance and costs.  FTFR remains stagnant for all but a handful of top-performing companies. Even with traditional field management software, FTFR has not improved.

    Additionally, FTFR  should never be measured in isolation. On average, a failed first visit leads to:

    • 2.75 additional visits
    • 13 additional days added to Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR)

    What is the cost of FTFR failure?

    From a cost and customer perspective, failure rates can be disastrous. Beyond the KPIs, service leaders need to factor in labor costs for additional truck rolls, additional parts costs, machine downtime, customer dissatisfaction, and all the other jobs that aren’t being resolved if technicians focus on repeat visits for every one in four jobs. 

    FTFR cannot measure customer sentiment

    That’s especially true if organizations don’t measure FTFR in at least 30-day windows.

    Trying to understand customer satisfaction by relying on FTFR creates a customer experience gap. That’s the difference between what customers expect and what your organization delivers. 

    Our analysis shows that companies measuring FTFR in 7-day or 14-day windows are setting the stage for a wide experience gap, leading to frustrating customer experiences. Measuring FTFR in less than 30-day windows misses many repeat visits that are all related to the same root cause. Your records may show that an asset was serviced twice within a month, and both of those visits were successfully fixed on the first visit. Your customer likely disagrees.

    How FTFR reporting creates service blindspots

    How you measure FTFR impacts metrics. Instead of defining FTFR in arbitrary time increments (7 days, 14 days, or 21 days), think about it in terms of the natural service cycle. Our research shows that measuring in 30-day windows strips out false-positive FTFR. 

    This is demonstrated in the example above.

    • If your FTFR is similar when measured at 7 days and 30 days, you have a small gap.
    • If your FTFR has a wide variation (usually a high rate at 7 days and a low rate at 30 days), you have a large gap.

    If you have a large gap, your team is likely focused on hitting their numbers instead of focusing on great customer experiences.

    The knowledge gap is increasing service costs

    In 2023, service organizations faced even larger hiring challenges than in the past. This has left the industry with tens of thousands of unfilled jobs and caused service costs to increase.

    • The bottom 20% of the workforce (service challengers) costs organizations 67% more than the top quarter. 
    • The top 20% of the workforce (service heroes) has an 80% FTFR. The bottom 20% of the workforce (service challengers) has 61% FTFR.

    To learn more, download the full 2023 Service Intelligence Benchmark Report. See KPI benchmarks for 110+ leading service organizations, access tips on methods to better analyze FTFR and other key KPIs, and drive meaningful change across your service organization.