Business who offer field services face plenty of unique challenges, but at the top of that list is how to keep customer satisfaction up without losing money. New technologies like IoT-connected equipment, cloud platforms, self-service portals, and integrated solutions like Dynamics 365 Field Service make it possible for businesses to do more than ever before in terms of automation and data collection. However, many field service centers still struggle with knowing exactly how to take advantage of all that data.
What’s the difference between data and analytics?
Many businesses have trouble bridging the gap from simply collecting data, to figuring out how to use it as an advantage. After all, knowing how long it takes for a work order to get completed isn’t helpful information all by itself. For example, you need to know what the service order was for, how long it took relative to other service orders, how much it cost, how much money you made or lost, and how you can do better next time. Basically, you need analytics to help you turn data into intelligence that helps you understand how to make continuous improvements to the entire field service journey.
So how can your organization put data into use? How can you make sure you’re actually using your data to get ahead?
1. Empower employees throughout your organization with access to analytics
Data and analytics shouldn’t just be for the top-level executives in your organization. The more people who have access to helpful information, the better. Everyone at every level of the business should be able to access the data that’s relevant to their jobs and use analytic tools so they can understand that data and do things better.
For example, imagine if your field service technicians could track their own goals and performance—in real time. What if they could see on their device at the time of the service call the top reasons certain equipment types malfunction, common parts needed, and estimated time to task completion. Or, access to information about customer preferences and histories to make recommendations. Any and all of this information can help your technicians provide better customer service, get the job done faster, boost first-time fix rates and increase profit.
2. Tools should be self-service
For data to be helpful, users also need to be able to tailor their analytics to their specific needs without extensive IT intervention. This enables users to ask questions and then find their own answers in a timely fashion, without having to wait for external assistance. Make sure your analytics applications can be easily modified to suit user needs.
3. Focus on what you want to gain
What are your goals for your data? Field service centers that adopt advanced analytics commonly see increases in service profits, first-time fix rates, SLA performance, and customer retention. Your business should define what sort of benefits you want to see from your analytics, and then tailor your metrics around meeting those goals. Identify best practices and organizational pain points, then set goals for rewarding high performance and improving problem areas.
4. Connect data across different departments
Much of the data problem is caused by multiple systems trapping data in silos. In order to truly understand the big picture in a way that’s helpful, you need to be able to fully connect data across every part of your business. For example, you need to see the relationship between equipment performance and revenue, or how customer service and technician visits relate to customer retention. Having an integrated platform for your business applications is key.
Finding the right analytics tools
Does your organization have the right solutions for analyzing your data? Do you have a plan for connecting your field service management with your financial accounting and other solutions? OTT, Inc. helps businesses like yours connect technology to boost success. Contact us today to learn more about Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, integrating your business solutions, and our proven 5-step methodology.