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I recently co-presented a webinar with our longtime partner, ServiceMax, called, “5 ‘Can't Miss’ Mobility Tactics for 2016.” The response from attendees was so positive, I thought it was worth highlighting some of the content we covered in a blog post, especially in regards to preventative and proactive support. In fact, recent TSIA research has shown us that our members have been able to eliminate 37.3% of onsite visits through the use of proactive support! In today's post, I'm going to explain how leveraging your field service technicians as a resource for providing preventative and proactive support can help your organization achieve similar results.

5 Tactics for Taking Mobility to the Next Level

With mobility solutions becoming well adopted by field service organizations, this webinar was focused on how to take your mobile program to the next level. The five tactics we covered were:

  1. Iterate to Great Productivity
  2. Focus on Preventive and Proactive
  3. Embrace the Paper and Digital Differences
  4. Make Technicians into Mobile Power Users
  5. Commit to Operational Reporting

Prior to the webinar, I was contacted by my favorite press person, Derek Korte of Field Service Digital, for an interview about the content, and we discussed tactic 4, on making your field technicians mobile power users. This is one of the easiest and lowest cost approaches to boosting productivity and achieving faster ROI with field service mobility. Here’s a link to that interview, if you're curious, but for this post, I’m going to focus on tactic 2 on this list: focus on preventative and proactive.

When Your Field Service Engineers Know Best

We tend to think of proactive support as monitoring remote equipment for errors, possibly as part of a managed services contract, or as a premiere support offering. But, these tools are also incredibly helpful for field service engineers. Your field techs have hands-on knowledge of your products, and they are also familiar with individual customer environments, so I always recommend that before rolling a truck onto a customer site for a repair, the field tech should speak with the customer and remotely connect to equipment to check status and error conditions.

In some cases, the field tech may be able to resolve the problem without going onsite. In fact, according to the TSIA Field Service Benchmark, as of Q4 2015, TSIA members have eliminated 37.3% of onsite visits due to proactive support. This represents a huge cost savings, with each onsite visit costing anywhere from $400 to $1400. And, even if remote access doesn’t solve the problem, at least the tech better understands the situation, and will arrive onsite with the right parts and the right skills and knowledge.

The Benefits of Providing Preventative Maintenance to Customers

Preventative maintenance is a popular upsell option for customers, and it really is a win-win for both suppliers and tech buyers. Suppliers receive additional revenue for the preventative maintenance contract, and customers see less downtime and fewer system problems because equipment is being regularly checked, serviced, and having parts replaced according to “best practice” time frames, avoiding many common system errors and outages.

The role of the field service technician is definitely changing. With customer success initiatives, field techs—who visit customers in their home or office—are well positioned to gauge technology adoption and provide tips and tricks to help customers more easily use the technology. And, according to the benchmark data, approximately one day per year is now being dedicated to sales and business acumen training for field techs, helping them identify when to extend an offer for premiere support or preventative maintenance to a customer. One survey TSIA conducted a while back found that upsell/cross-sell was almost 100% effective when field techs extended offers to a customer while onsite, because offers can be tailored to the customer’s particular needs and the reason for the call. For example, a customer upset by a long outage can be guaranteed that will never happen again if they upgrade to a premiere support contract with a shorter response time window.

Watch the Webinar to Learn More!

If you are looking for ways to boost the productivity of your field techs, lower margins for field service, and generate additional field service revenue, please take the time to view the On-Demand recording of “5 ‘Can't Miss’ Mobility Tactics for 2016.” The webinar is available to both TSIA members and non-members, and packs a lot of content into a short 30-minute time frame. And, as always, thanks for reading!

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John Ragsdale

About Author John Ragsdale

John Ragsdale is a distinguished researcher and the vice president of technology ecosystems for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. John works closely with TSIA’s partner ecosystem, identifying leading and emerging technology vendors whose products help solve the key business challenges faced by TSIA members. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.

John's favorite topics to discuss