6 Field Service Industry Trends to Watch in 2024
2 March 2023
Last Updated: 26 October 2023 by Ann Dewar
Take a look at the key trends shaping field services today. Leading field service businesses are keeping ahead of these changes to overcome economic turbulence.
The growth of the field service industry has had its ups and downs in the last few years as businesses look for more efficient ways to manage operations – with a particular focus on riding the waves of economic turbulence.
It’s therefore more important than ever for field service businesses to keep up-to-date on new trends to scale and grow.
This blog walks you through the six field service trends and emerging best practices you need to know in 2024.
Or if you’re ready to improve efficiencies and the bottom line, you can get started now.
Book a demo of our field service management software.
6 top trends for growing field service businesses
Accelerated by the pandemic, field service businesses have been forced to move away from clunky manual processes towards paperless systems to continue to operate.
But digitisation doesn’t stop there.
It’s now the norm for us to manage things electronically, and this has largely shaped customer experiences. Beyond this, it created a huge opportunity for field service businesses to manage resources much more efficiently.
So, while there may be a shortage of skills across many field service businesses – and budgets are preserved whilst we ride economic uncertainty – savvy businesses are finding ways to do more jobs, with fewer resources.
#1: New digital processes 📲
From automating to streamlining, to forecasting, and more, clever tech and digital transformation are paving the way to optimise operations and improve service delivery.
Let’s look at a handful of examples to show you how:
- Automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks: This reduces admin time and saves on duplicate data entry, which can cause errors, is inefficient and can impact customer experiences.
- Real-time updates for optimising schedules: There are so many examples to go through here. Like finding the right engineer to do a job, recommending the best routes for avoiding traffic, predicting stock needs, and more. Given supply chain issues, stock is a big concern right now as it has largely impacted field service operations.
Did you know? BigChange provides real-time stock for suppliers across the UK, stating volumes available at the nearest stockist to an engineer.
- Better data and business insight: This allows for things like instant financial forecasting to spot areas for improvement, like operational costs, before it becomes a problem.
- Mobile device accessibility: With mobile access, engineers have access to key information, job sheet templates, safety information and so much more. This means they can resolve issues sooner because they have the right kit for first-time fixes. And this makes field teams more productive and business operations more cost-effective.
#2: Predictive maintenance 🛠
One of the biggest blockers to client revenue is breakdowns. But with predictive maintenance, you can monitor equipment to prevent failure, disruption, heightened maintenance costs… And, ultimately, loss of earnings.
Take fleet management, for example. With the right tech, you can:
- Run daily vehicle checks: Each day, field service technicians can check for minor problems that, left untreated, add to large costs. Like with tyre maintenance, a complete blow-out can mean breakdown recovery costs and an engineer being off the road.
- Get alerted of defects: And promptly arrange for the vehicle to be fixed – this protects the engineer’s safety and saves costs in more ways. Did you know? Tyres are responsible for around 20% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption.
- Automate MOT and service reminders: To keep legal and help prevent major break-downs through a preventative maintenance approach.
#3: Customer self-service tools 👐
A recent report by ZenDesk reveals that 69% of customers prefer to independently resolve a significant number of their issues.
This isn’t a stat you can afford to ignore. So, how can field service providers tackle this and actually exceed expectations? Well, in 2024, tech seems to be the answer. Here’s why:
- Provides a self-service portal: From here, customers can manage repeat bookings, promptly and easily pay invoices and…
- Get booking alerts and ETAs: With some tech, customers can even live-track a field technician’s location and get regular updates on their estimated time of arrival. This means they’re not expected to wait around.
- Chatbots: A lot of businesses are using instant messaging services, which is ideal for customers that don’t have time to wait on the phone.
One thing to be mindful of with chatbots. While they can be super helpful, they can also be very frustrating – particularly those run by robots that push out automated responses. The ones that have humans behind them seem to work best as they can resolve customers’ queries.
#4: Optimising customer relationships 🤝
Comprehensive and easily accessible customer record systems are a game-changer for field services. So, if you’re not using one, now is the time. And if you are, are you using the best tech?
With the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, field service teams can better track and manage jobs automatically. But, they can also substantially improve the customer experience.
- Mobile access to customer history: CRM systems that store all customer records in one place, and are accessible via a mobile device, meaning the entire business has access to the same customer information. This means field technicians have all the information to complete a job first-time and back-office teams can access it when a customer calls in. Surprisingly, this is still an issue in 2024.
- Customer feedback surveys: With the right tech, field service technicians can instantly generate a personalised email with a survey as soon as they’ve completed a job – so customers can fill this in whilst it’s fresh.
- Real-time analytics: And you can use these fresh analytics to spot trends in feedback and make changes to business operations.
#5: Carbon-neutral focus 🍃
Being carbon-neutral improves the brand image, helps compliance with regulations, avoids penalties and induces cost-savings. It may even attract customers who prioritise sustainability.
But, this is a tough one for field service providers because of the reliance on travel.
Businesses are looking to renewable energy sources such as solar panels and electric vehicles to help offset both field and back-office practices. Whilst these are heavy investments, there are other ways field service businesses are reducing their carbon footprint.
With some tech solutions, you can:
- Monitor driver behaviour: Track driving behaviour with alerts and view driver data, in order to curb idling, speeding, and harsh acceleration.
- Optimise fuel routes: With features like intelligent scheduling, you can route the right teams and vehicles to your job’s location in the most efficient and sustainable way.
- Avoid traffic and congestion: You can even find optimum travel routes for every journey to optimise fuel use across the engineering team.
Both clients and field service businesses will have this high on their agenda. That’s because digitisation has, sadly, led to opportunists exploiting the advancement to fraudulently make money.
As both collect and store sensitive customer data, including payment information, there’s a big risk of cyber criminals hacking systems.
You’ll no doubt have seen quite a few of the high-profile examples in the news.
So, what can field services do to protect their business and their clients?
Tech can help with a few key things here, like providing you with:
- Two-Step Authentication (built-in functions like Google Authenticator)
- Controlled access management (so you can grant and restrict permission for certain users)
- HTTPS access (hosted on a secure site)
- Server and data protection (like Amazon AWS Microsoft)
Why you can’t afford to ignore these field service industry trends
Ultimately, monitoring industry trends helps any business to identify potential competitive threats and market risks AND spot growth opportunities. This means businesses can take a proactive approach to mitigating issues and protecting or growing revenue.
And with such a turbulent economic climate, keeping an eye on these industry trends helps a field service company to quickly adapt to the changing business environment.
Embracing emerging trends: Key takeaways for field service businesses
Driven by digitisation, heightened customer expectations and a need for sustainability, it’s unlikely that these trends will go away.
In fact, it’s highly likely that the previous three years’ events have set the foundations for how field services will always need to operate to deliver superior service, protect against cyber attacks and to adapt in uncertain and changing markets.
Ultimately, field service businesses that embrace these changes are better placed to compete, drive efficiency and ultimately grow revenue streams.
Looking for the right tech to stay ahead? Take a look at our field service management software. Book a demo with one of our experts here.
SIGN UP FOR BIGCHANGE NEWS AND RESOURCES
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you confirm you are happy to receive regular email newsletters from BigChange. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time.