9 Field Service Trends to Watch for in 2019
- November 7, 2018
- By: Vonigo
What will 2019 hold in store for field service companies? Here are 10 field service trends that will continue to gain prominence next year.
1. Voice Activated Home Assistants
Home automation devices and voice-activated assistants continue to become more and more popular. While some require external hardware devices (eg. Amazon’s Alexa through Echo), others also work through your phone (e.g. Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri).
While these rise in popularity, they also shape the way customers search. “Alexa, find some cleaning companies in my area” is still just a web search, but where we go from here will be interesting. Especially in the case of Alexa, customers can make purchases using only the sound of their voice. Read below about how they can do even more than that.
2. Amazon Home Services
When a customer orders an item from Alexa, they now have the option of hiring an expert installer at the same time. You can also hire house cleaning, handyman services, carpet cleaning, home improvement, and more.
Amazon Home Services vendors are vetted and approved by Amazon themselves. As the popularity of home automation increases, these kinds of approved vendors will continue to gain market share.
The lesson? The easier it is to book with your company, the better chance you have of competing in the new economy.
3. The Internet of Things
We’ve been talking about IoT for a number of years, and we don’t expect that to change. More and more home devices and appliances are equipped with the ability to connect to the internet. For field service companies, this means those devices can communicate when they need servicing.
For some field service companies like elevator or appliance repair, this will have a more immediate impact, especially as it applies to a consumer’s options when they are buying new devices. These days it’s hot water devices and air conditioning units. It’s prevalent in high-end fridges, door locks, and thermostats. How long before it’s a trash can, a window, an exhaust duct, or a rain gutter?
4. End-to-End Service Automation
Mobile use continues to gain in popularity. The population continues to become more tech-savvy and demands the most convenient level of service. This means more automation throughout the transaction.
Everything from online booking that shows a company’s availability, to scheduling and confirming bookings in calendar apps and email, to automated invoicing and billing. The less work or time required by the customer, the better.
5. Google Local Service Ad Options
Google’s recently introduced Local Service ads are changing the way field service companies advertise. Now, when a customer searches for your type of service, you can show them an ad that has the ability to book with you immediately.
The services that are buying these ad placements will have the first impression with searchers. Even before they see the regular Google Ads, they’ll see these.
That represents an opportunity: there still might be time to be the first in your area to buy these placements.
This is another one that we’ve predicted before. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to advance, chatbots have become considerably more sophisticated and effective.
Some field services companies are already offering website visitors the ability to get instant and accurate responses to their questions via chatbots. It’s a tool that helps them to grow and operate more effectively without hiring more team members to answer phones and repetitively type in chat macros all day.
Not ready for chatbots in your business? Consider automating a chat tool to greet visitors when they reach your website. If the visitor chooses to engage with the automated greeting that features one of your reps, have the rep take over to respond. Think of it like fishing for live leads; when there’s one on the line, you pick up your fishing rod.
“It’s easy to eye-roll any new use case for AR, which so far has been used mostly for games and ‘brand experiences.’ But there’s significant promise in giving service techs the tools to harness centralized technical know-how on the job and in real time.”
-Greg Nichols, ZDNEt
Augmented reality technology is still on the costly side for a lot of field services companies. Both in terms of the tech and the training required.
But that’s not stopping field service companies from beginning to adopt it.
Fieldbit is a company that specializes in AR hardware and software-as-as-service and focuses exclusively on field service companies.
8. Data, Data, Data
As more service companies adopt field service software, they gain access to more useful data. In 2019, data will continue to affect the way field service companies operate. Once the domain of a few team members, more companies will begin to share and analyze data with more departments in their company. Companies that monitor and strive to improve upon key metrics have a significant advantage over those that choose not to.
Knowing and making sense of key figures like your company’s “first-time fix rate” or lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, cost per job, jobs per team member, and more will help you save costs and grow.
9. The Importance of “Soft Skills”
We already live in a world where customer reviews and ratings help to determine a company’s success. Increasingly, achieving top ratings involves more than simply doing a good job. It also helps to have friendly, pleasant exchanges with customers and leave a strong impression.
More service companies will be investing more heavily into the training of the soft skills that create these experiences. Technicians will be given the knowledge and empowerment to engage with and even provide product knowledge and sell to customers.
Field Service Management Software
At the core of many of these trends is the software that you use to manage your business. Want to learn about field service management software with online booking, scheduling, invoicing, billing, and metrics can help your company save costs and grow? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.
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