Why field service is important at this time
As we wrote about in our recent post field service professionals are often on the front line. They are working to keep the lights on, keep water supplies clean and make deliveries to customers which might be essential for them. Technicians are the face that customers see in the field and often the foundation on which a service business is built on.
The picture in the UK, as the country and its government respond to the ever evolving COVID-19 pandemic, is ever evolving. Within recent days we've seen restrictions imposed on schools, meeting places, restaurants, theatres and more recently on outdoor spaces. People are self-isolating and socially isolating and the public has been instructed to remain on lock down. The health service is under significant strain and at time of writing NHS hospitals are in urgent need of ventilators and approaching full capacity.
What stays consistent throughout all of this is the extent to which the country and its economy and people continue to need field service organisations to keep things going.
I took a read the other day through the list of key workers designated by the UK Government. This relates in particular to parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response including those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. It is striking how, alongside what might be considered the more expected roles, there are a range of roles related to field service, infrastructure delivery and utilities and services. These include oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage); information technology; civil nuclear; chemicals; telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations; field engineering; call centre staff; IT and data infrastructure; postal services and delivery and waste disposal.
How to keep field workers and customers safe?
We're not here to give public health advice and information on how to keep your field workers safe during this time. If you are looking for this kind of information we'd recommend your local government or the World Health Organisation, or your most trusted news outlet. Let's consider some of the 'softer' things that can be done to support your workers and your customers.
Display one time messages to customers
These can be used to give your customers advice on how to engage with their business during a field service visit. Customers who are self-isolating can contact your organisation and take appropriate action so as to not put the service technician at risk. Information is critical here because at the time of writing, different organisations are taking different approaches to react to this global pandemic. Clear communication at or near the point of service delivery allow to you give 'just in time' information that your customers need to know.
Providing health information to customers
Some of the companies we work with are using positive engagement to inform and support their customers on important health information. Using the On My Way service from Leadent Digital, organisations can (via the mobile, desktop or website) send visual updates to customers to share health advice to help keep their customers safe and well during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Avoiding calls to the contact centre
At this time many contact centres are under significant pressure as customers call organisations to make, amend appointments or clarify information and service availability. Clearly there is a need to make call centre staff (who may be in short supply or working remotely during this pandemic) available to support your most vulnerable customers. Using On My Way you can reduce the number of routine contact centre enquiries. Customers can see when their service visit is due to take place and engage in real-time chat if necessary, rather than taking up valuable call centre telephone queues. This frees up your call centre staff to handle the calls they need to take.
Giving certainty of a technician's visit
At this uncertain time when many are socially isolating your customers may be unsure as to whether you will still visit their property to carry out essential field service repairs and visits. Using a tool like On My Way you can give real-time updates on their service visit, including expected time of arrival, appointment details and much more. This allows you to communicate with certainty, particularly when plans change and resources are unavailable or delayed due to increased demand.
Safeguarding precious service visits
Given the scarcity of your field resources at this time, it is vital that you avoid and minimise customer cancellations whilst your field teams are so resource constrained. Appointment reminders mean customers are more likely to be aware of the visit and not out of the house for some important reason. Using the self-service functionality available from Leadent Digital's uBook your customers can also re-book quickly and easily.
Giving help remotely
Remote Expertise can often be a really effective substitute for in-person collaboration. Where your workers are unable to get to work, merged reality can help them to support the continued operation of mission-critical systems. Merged reality provides AR-enabled remote guidance through proprietary technology. This innovative technology allows organisations to remain productive in geographies where experts are no longer able to travel due to Covid-19, or you would like to maintain service continuity without attending in person.
What to do next?
We'll keep writing blogs on topics that concern field service and operations during this critical time. Leadent Digital loves developing apps that transform customer experience and help you deliver a more frictionless service experience across all of your contact points and channels. Why not get in touch to find out how we can help at this critical time.