Earlier this month, I attended the second annual Field Service Forum 2015 in the Netherlands. The event brought together a great group of service leaders from across some major European organizations. Over the past six years, I have covered the global field service market with a keen focus on the US and Europe. Often times, I am asked what is the difference between the varied markets of Europe and the US in regard to field service best practices. The perception is Europe lags well behind the US in regard to field service excellence.
This event showed that we are much closer than we give each other credit. Over the day and half event a number of themes continued to be discussed, which often come up in conversations and at conferences which I participate in in the US as well:
- Customer loyalty – the customer has become the focus of field service excellence in 2015. Historically, field service revolved around aspects such as scheduling, SLAs, and wrenches. But as seen at this event, the end customer of the service organization now directs strategy. Customer loyalty, satisfaction, and retention are now the key metrics which define success; taking the place of KPI like wrench time and workforce productivity.
- Wearables – the discussion was mainly around glasses technology which provides an augmented reality for field service work. The technology enables a field tech to see work instructions, schematics, collaborate with a remote expert in real-time, among other benefits. The technology was more of interest and excitement than actual adoption. But the opportunity is great for certain workforces, and I expect to see increased use as the technology evolves.
- IoT – the momentum continues to build. More end users and more vendors are discussing this topic. The intriguing thing is as I discuss the topic with more service leaders, IoT has been around for a while now. The leap that is taking place right now is how the partner network is building. This combined ecosystem is making the intelligence more valuable and bringing down the barriers to use.
- Mobility – the ubiquity of mobile devices in field service make this topic less exciting than the previous topics, but the value of mobility remains integral to driving service excellence. Throughout the event, service leaders highlighted how mobile technology has empowered the field with real-time access to information to solve issues on a first visit. I was very happy to see that the topic still drives interest as the technology continues to evolve and become more powerful. If you have interest in this topic, please take a few minutes to share your experiences in my latest survey which I just launched.
The events calendar for field service is coming to end for 2015, with a few end user vendor events and another trade show in the fall. I look forward to seeing which additional topics gain traction, while also seeing how the themes discussed above continue to build momentum. Please let me know what you are learning at the events you attend, and also share what your organization is doing in regard to mobility in my latest survey. I hope to see you in the fall, and I will be sharing the findings from this latest survey during the summer.