Field Service needs rapid innovation and transformation, and now is the time to consider the opportunity that generative AI can enable. So much data is already available, just waiting to be leveraged by organizations to enable faster resolution times, better engaged service teams, increased revenue opportunities, and enhanced customer experiences. However, this data often is not used to inform the next decisions of the dispatchers and field technicians. Too many tasks go through hand-offs from schedulers, dispatchers, remote support teams, and the field service technicians themselves. What if we could have a better process? Is generative AI the opportunity service teams need to take this big leap into automating the execution of service work?
In this moment, there is an urgent need to use technology to solve problems. Technology and automation need to provide value to the employee, the customer, and the service organization. In a recent IDC blog, automation is highlighted as being a core tenet for a customer journey and excellent experience. Customers demand resolution as table stakes when it comes to their relationship with a service organization. In the current economic landscape, just fixing the problem at hand isn’t a differentiator, as it leaves a service organization vulnerable to competition and lost revenues. To go beyond providing the basic level of service, organizations need to prioritize frontline teams by empowering them with the insights to deliver value at the point of need.
The Future of Field Service is Personalized
The future of field support will be more hybrid, customer journey driven, and prescriptive. Generative AI offers the ability for personalized service experiences for all technicians, whether an internal employee or a contractor. Based on the technician’s familiarity and knowledge of the product, asset, or customer, AI insights can be tailored to help that technician achieve faster resolution times. Utilizing this level of personalization can also help contractors who interact infrequently with a machine, asset, or product to have the knowledge needed to support an organization’s expansion into new markets. Customers also require a variety of engagement modes along this journey. Generative AI can automate these journeys to provide a seamless engagement across the customer's chosen channels before, during, and after a service visit. Not only is this automated journey valuable to customers, but the ability for the next task or interaction to be prescribed correctly based on what is happening in real time with the customer can also be a competitive differentiator for the service organization. Generative AI shows the path to prescriptive field service based on mining rich assets and customer data to trigger the right service action.
AI Investments Pay Off for Employee and Customer Experience
Generative AI can both transform the worker experience and deliver immense value for the customer. IDC’s 2023 Product and Service Innovation survey highlights that about half of all products and equipment are connected today (49.6%), with that number growing to over two-thirds in the next three years (67.2%). The amount of data for service teams to sift through is overwhelming. The goal must be to turn all those data points into faster resolution times, availability, and action for customers. Automating work to allow people to prioritize the customer experience and engagement is a key differentiator, and it can be influenced by generative AI.
The field service organization is at a critical crossroad when it comes to impacting the customer experience. Frontline teams are working with customers, solving critical issues, delivering differentiated value, and building relationships that improve perceptions of the organization's brand. With generative AI embedded in their processes, mobile workers can do more than just get work done more efficiently. They can have access to skills assessments and relevant knowledge base articles to help with professional development. Pre-work instructions based on assets, predictive failure reasons, and customer profiles can increase efficiency and make the workday better. Generative AI also can automate administrative tasks, form completion, and conduct debriefs after a job is done. These tailored experiences and insights aid in the job but also have an impact on retention and enabling new technicians to get up to speed faster.
The ability to automate decisions, administrative tasks, and next-action guidance with a trusted response is crucial for field service teams as they aspire to deliver “wow” experiences to customers and drive revenue opportunities. Generative AI promises to give technicians and service teams the tools they need to enable efficiency, excellence, and shared value.
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Research Vice President, Worldwide Aftermarket Services Strategies at IDC
As Research Vice President, Aftermarket Services Strategies, Aly Pinder Jr leads IDC research and analysis of the service and customer support market for the manufacturer, which includes topics such as field service, warranty operations, service parts management, and how these service areas impact the overall customer experience. Mr. Pinder Jr. establishes a roadmap for organizations to better understand how technology can transform service and support functions to drive exceptional customer experiences and customer value, profitable revenue growth, and improved efficiency in the field.