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Field Service Management: From Customer Complaints to Product Improvement

Creating a customer feedback loop that connects back into your product development is critical. Who better to close that loop than those who work the closest with the customer?

If you deploy field service technicians to work on your products, this piece is for you. 

Field service management has gone through a digital revolution that enables customers to file complaints easier and the right technicians to fix them faster. This revolution has enabled companies to make data-driven decisions as it relates to how to increase the overall field service experience. 

But… what's next?

How does field service management close the loop from complaints to product improvements?

What is field service management? 

Field service management is the process of dispatching workers, sometimes contractors, to a location to install, maintain, or repair a product, system, or asset. 

Field service managers play a key role in ensuring that the organization’s field employees or contractors have what they need to succeed in delivering highly skilled, specialized, and often proprietary service to customers. 

Field service management activities can include:

  • Scheduling - Field service scheduling entails arranging field service employees’ schedules and assigning service appointments based on the necessary skills of the worker
  • Dispatch - Dispatch management  is the process of coordinating the dispatch of field service technicians to a specific work assignment
  • Work Order Management - It’s all about assigning and tracking work orders from customer complaint creation through completion of customer invoicing
  • Field Service Contract Management - This involves the process of managing contracts with customers and contractors while ensuring service level agreements (SLAs) are complete.
  • Inventory - Inventory management includes keeping track of parts and supplies needed for each job, including the transfer of products and making adjustments to orders

Field service management involves people, processes, and technology. 

Benefits of optimizing field service management

Chances are you use some sort of technology to at least keep track of all the moving parts as it relates to field service management. If you’re a relatively small organization, you could still get by using spreadsheets - while more advanced organizations are deploying incredible pieces of technology including IOT devices and mobile technology. 
Wherever you are in the journey, the benefits of optimizing field service management are clear. 

  • Increase operational uptime - Companies can now identify upcoming repairs proactively in the asset lifecycle to increase operations and performance while reducing downtime. 
  • Improve first-time fix rates - Set a good example with your customers by ensuring their first-time interacting with an employee exceeds expectations.
  • Improve repair times - Enable the right technician for the job by utilizing data matching.
  • Empower field service technicians - Remote assistance and user-friendly mobile technology can help them be compliant, troubleshoot, and complete tasks in the best and safest way possible.
  • Reduce field service costs - By tracking different data points and analyzing performance, you can make small changes that create big impact.
  • Increase customer satisfaction - By proactively addressing problems, responding promptly, and matching the best technicians to the right job, customers will build brand affinity.

Technology won’t solve all of your field service management problems - which is why it’s important to look at the people and processes first before investing in new technology. 

What is the best field service management software?

While there are different types of field service management software, in general, this technology enables businesses to manage all the resources (people and parts) involved across every field service management activity. 

There are three main types of field service management software: 

  • Lead Management and Routing - When a customer reaches out, what happens? Lead routing technology empowers companies to improve lead velocity by first addressing lead acceptance and speed-to-lead while ensuring the best-fitting technician is assigned the job. 
  • Mobile Field Service Management - Often a mobile app installed on a technician’s device, enables real-time communication with the field service management office while enabling the technician to take photos, document notes, and even view digital twin versions of a product to help them diagnose a problem. 
  • Inventory Management -  Even before going to a job, technology can help technicians predict the parts they’re going to need. In-field inventory management enables real-time communication with the customer about whether a part is in stock, how much it costs, and where it’s available. Inventory management systems help companies optimize their maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) inventory.

While these individual solutions will definitely help your business succeed, implementing a closed-loop field service management platform can take your company to the next level. 

Why you need a closed-loop field service management platform

Single solutions help companies get off the ground - but having a one-stop shop for everything related to field service management is a game changer. 

Propel is a full-suite solution that includes best-in-class product value management into a single solution. This means that customer complaints and quality issues identified in the field can quickly be reviewed and resolved by engineering, creating CAPAs as needed. Faulty parts or configurations can also be replaced proactively by Field Service to maximize uptime for customers. 

If you’re developing especially complex products, having a closed-loop system that tracks field service complaints and enables faster product improvements will ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

Learn more about Propel’s Field Service Management improvement capabilities

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Post by
Be'Anka Ashaolu
Editor in Chief, Converged

Be’Anka Ashaolu is an experienced marketing operations, content marketing, and demand generation leader who is obsessed with aligning talent and responsibilities to drive measurable results. She began her career in journalism before quickly moving into marketing technology, sales operations, and integrated campaign execution in the legal, cyber security, and retail analytics spaces. Be’Anka is constantly striving to balance productivity with effectiveness, meaning: her teams don’t just get stuff done – they get the right stuff done.

Fun Fact: Be’Anka is the Co-Founder and CMO of Nirvana Soul Coffee Purveyors in downtown San Jose. She owns the coffee company with her sister, Jeronica. The two are only 11 months apart in age!

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