Post By Charlie Heywood on June 28, 2016

The 5 highest-rated field service management priorities of 2016


Last September, The Service Council conducted a study of 75 key decision-makers within field service management and discovered what their highest priorities were. Enhancing service profitability topped every manager’s list by a large margin, with other issues like updating technology, developing new offerings, performance management and knowledge capture also ranking highly. 

Let’s delve into exactly why these priorities are so important to field service managers, as well as how they can implement them in practice.

  1. 1. Enhancing service profitability

There is a strong move to turn services into a “profit centre”, instead of a business area that just breaks even. As David Taber points out on CIO,

“The customer support rep in many companies speaks to a given customer more frequently than the sales rep. This communication comes at an extremely important juncture, when the customer’s satisfaction hangs hang in the balance. If your customer support group simply follows a race-to-the-bottom strategy, it’s missing the opportunity to convert a potential customer loss to an upsell.”

In field service management, the customer support rep is your field service engineer. For those unsure of how to turn their field engineers into their company’s new (and best) sales force, Field Service News provides 5 helpful tips here. To summarise, these are the things you need to keep in mind:

  • Service engineers have “trusted advisor” status as a result of their technical expertise and assistance. As such, they should be encouraged to draw on their experience in a confident way, rather than viewing any sales opportunities in the traditional sales sense.
  • Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. Don’t ruin the trusted advisor status by encouraging field services to sell products that are not needed. Instead, make sure they focus on providing genuine solutions to problems, keeping the customer happy for many years.
  • Ensure that your team are knowledgeable about all of your products so that they can spot cross-selling opportunities.
  • Give them the tools they need to succeed. This should include “form creation and signature capture, access to ordering systems and of course payment collection”, according to Field Service News. The article adds: “However, perhaps the most important consideration is to establish a transparent means of communication and interaction across all divisions of the company.”

2. Updating technology

As Field Service News points out, it’s essential that your field service engineers have the right tools to enable them to act as a profit centre. So it’s perhaps not surprising that updating technology came in at second place in The Service Council’s 2015 study.

But what exactly do field service engineers feel they need in order to do their job properly? In a survey earlier this year, respondents to The Service Council Trends survey ranked the following as beneficial: 

  • Service manuals – 35%
  • Knowledge base access – 28%
  • Pre-visit review of customer history – 27%
  • Live video support – 26%
  • Training videos – 25%

4 out of 5 of these “mobile wishlist” items enable the technician to get his job done more quickly and with greater accuracy – reducing time on site and leading to higher overall customer satisfaction as the engineer can focus on increased service (and sales).


We aren’t surprised to hear that many field engineers would like to have a pre-visit review of customer history. Many customers have made the move to an ERP system with specialist field management software capabilities to not only provide the mobile capabilities needed in the field, but also to ensure that everyone has an insight into what is going in on the company. So next time your customer has called up to cancel or complain, all of the systems are updated as one – meaning no embarrassing cross-sell to an unhappy, or previous, client.

3. Developing new offerings

There is a growing trend towards developing new offerings, with many field service organisations looking to market and promote their services as well as products. The internet of things and big data are two of the most important buzzwords here.

We are seeing this trend pick up pace among a lot of our engineering and manufacturing services clients. Instead of operating their field service software separately from their finance and sales systems, they are embracing an integrated approach – something an ERP system can provide – to analyse data on issues such as:

  • The performance of departments, teams and employees
  • Revenue and profitability
  • Time taken to close service calls and send invoices
  • Customer feedback
  • Equipment performance

 Armed with this insight, field service organisations are in the best possible position to start developing new and better offerings for their customers.

4. Performance management

One in three (30%) of those surveyed by The Service Council stated that performance management was a key objective. In light of the move towards field service technicians as brand ambassadors, it is now more important than ever to have software in place to measure KPIs on issues such as response time, number of service calls attended, customer satisfaction and revenue creation.

This way, field service leaders can ensure they get the right people to the right place at the right time, delivering the high level of service their customers have come to depend on.

  1. 5. Knowledge capture

The same number (30%) of survey respondents also indicated that knowledge capture is a key priority. This chimes with the fact that 28% of field service engineers put knowledgebase access near the top of their mobile wishlists.

With the right mobile tools, field service leaders can streamline the knowledge capture process so that engineers’ know-how is recorded and made available to others in real time – a much better solution than mountains of paperwork, disjointed systems and verbal communication.

Organisations with engineers and technicians in the field are in the middle of an exciting period of growth. In order for them to stay ahead of the competition, however, it’s clear that an integrated and technology-enabled approach to field service management is necessary.

To learn more about the changing face of field service management, read our ebook: {{cta(‘4b2e3a31-29fa-4b58-a999-a579358a38b2’)}}.


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