The fire and safety industry is an emergency service, where every second count. A fire hydrant left unrepaired, or an un-refilled fire extinguishing machine could cause devastating fire damage. In such an instance, let’s find out how a field service software can help improve efficiency and reduce or prevent damage.
Today, most field service management software is integrated with GPS and can track field agents in real time. As such, when a service request is triggered, the system can track the nearest available agent, and direct him to attend the service request. A customer-facing app linked to the system offers a live track of the agent, offering a definite time of arrival. The benefits are not just improved customer satisfaction, the lesser workload on customer service agents, who would otherwise have to attend angry customer calls about missing or delayed agents.
A fire and safety industry is personnel intensive. The success and efficiency of operations depend largely on the productivity of the staff. Likewise, fire and safety staff has to undergo extensive training, and high turnover means more cost and time for training, severely eroding the bottom-line. It also causes a downward spiral, as the new technicians would have to undergo a learning curve before they become competent enough to replace the competent technician who may have moved out.
A good field service management co-opts HR and shift scheduling. It offers a dynamic and efficient system of duty roster, with algorithms infusing objectivity and efficiency to the process. The suite records approved leaves and shift change requests automatically, again improving efficiency and ringing objectivity to the process.
Truly successful field service management suite also promotes employee self-service. Employees could get essential information, such as their payroll details, training brochures, checklists of safety gear for hazardous jobs, or any other required information at the tip of their fingertips, without having to travel all the way to the head office, or mess up with phone calls. Also, it ensures prompt communication and keeping the employee in the loop, a much underestimated “hygiene” factors which ensure employees are motivated to [perform at their best and stay on without quitting.
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The latest field service management suites come equipped with GPS, IoT and Artificial Intelligence technology, or could draw on these resources seamlessly. Research major Gartner estimates about 10% of all emergency field service work to be triggered as well as scheduled by artificial intelligence.
Enterprises with Artificial Intelligence enabled field service management suite could ensure much of their maintenance and scheduling work takes place proactively, rather than reactively. For instance, IoT sensors could indicate when a fire hydrant is due for periodic maintenance or when a water tank is running low on water. CCTV cameras and sensors offer real-time monitoring into hazardous plants, allowing for early warning and prompt remedial action in the eventuality of accidents or mishaps. Technicians could be alerted of potential hazards and briefed on precautionary measures to be taken. Supervisors, line managers, and other stakeholders could track and monitor operations in real time, even when on the move.
A strong collaborative component, an invariable component of any field service management suite worth its buy nowadays, ensures seamless and effortless communication. The suite makes sure any message reaches the intended recipient, and could also be programmed to alert the recipient, and even issue follow-ups to undertake the necessary call-to-action.
Gartner estimates more than 75% of field service enterprises will deploy mobile apps for their technicians. Such apps would go much beyond simplified data collection and would have the capabilities to help their technicians succeed. Technicians collaborating with the head offices, or a senior technician elsewhere, to resolve a difficult or complex issue on the spot is already commonplace. Several more possibilities, including Artificial Intelligence, powered replicas of what to do, technicians aided by robots to undertake difficult or hazardous tasks, and more, are on the anvil.
A field management suite automates several tasks lessening administrative hassles, and improving accuracy. Consider the case of billing. The field service management suite automatically generates a bill after each site visit, and dispatches it to the client, with regular, automated follow up. This eliminates bills slipping through the crack, errors in billing failure to make timely follow-ups and other glitches that lead to severe erosion in profits also cause customer dissatisfaction. In fact, the savings resulting from automation, and improved accuracy itself pays back for the investment in the field service management suite.
A field service suite improves customer satisfaction in any industry, and the fire and rescue industry is no different. A good field service suite, accessible through customer-facing apps, makes it easy and seamless for the customer to get a quote, make a service request, renew the contract. Track a scheduled maintenance or repair job, get automated billing and reminders, and much more. The convenience is no longer a nice-to-have optional, but an essential requirement in today’s fast-paced world where people do not have the time, or cannot afford to wait and would rather go elsewhere than put up with delays. Empirical evidence suggests a field service management suite, which makes the task effortlessly creates a “feel-good” factor and lead to ore customer references, invaluable in today’s era of cut-throat competition.
A good field service management improves the efficiency of a fire and service establishment manifold. Its contribution in terms of improved safety and timely action to prevent mishaps pays back for the investment manifold.
The global field service market is estimated to be worth $4.45 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 16.5%. However, only the highly efficient companies who are able to seize opportunities will stand to gain from the opportunity. A good field service management suite is the first step towards creating the required efficiencies and competencies.
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