Guest Blog: The Role of AI in Field Service Management

Guest blog from Swati Kungwani

Swati Kungwani is the business analyst and content manager for iTouchVision, a UK-based customer service platform. She specialises in customer experience management and driving new customer initiatives. Connect with her on Linkedin. Join iTouchVision’s social network: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin.

Learn more from her via her blog

Artificial Intelligence presents a new horizon for service excellence!

It is always good to hear about new technology and its benefits. We are in the era where something new happens every now and then with the power of technology. Artificial intelligence for business is one such fascinating factor. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to enabling computers to do tasks with high-level intelligence. We all are familiar with the concept of AI through movies. It gives a glimpse of the machine supremacy. A few years back, AI was about gaming, movies, fiction, advanced science, entertainment, and books. But, now it’s getting into field service industry to optimise day-to-day operations.

80% of technical experts across the industry believe that AI enhances workforce skills and increases work efficiency.

Many executives and front-liners are afraid of AI replacing their jobs. That’s not true! In fact, artificial intelligence supports employees to do efficient work. AI has applications in providing real-time updates, greater visibility, reduced errors, interconnected devices, information sharing, automated workflows and worker safety. Here’s a detailed view on the role of AI in field service:

Customer Experience

It’s not easy to amaze your customers. A business needs to keep the employees on their toes to meet customer expectations. Ignoring or taking customer issues on a lighter note can put a business in danger. That’s why service companies always try to put their best foot forward in attending the customers. Artificial intelligence will help to make customers happier! With the Chatbots in action, it is possible to help customers with more speed and accuracy. These bots containing the customer and their equipment information can find out the problem and suggest a quick fix.

Artificial intelligence aims to solve the problem before it arises. This will lead to improved customer relations. They can use self-service apps for faster answers based on the equipment information. It reduces the wait-time at the customer side. The back-office agents can use AI systems to assist customers in a simplified manner.

Work Productivity

Scheduling jobs and managing the workforce is always a big concern. Whether it’s a small firm or a larger organisation, scheduling optimal work-window is quite difficult. With the companies adopting cloud solutions, the problem has got much easier. And artificial intelligence solves it to a greater level. AI overcomes the hurdles faced by manual dispatchers. In near future, we may also see the replacement of human dispatchers with AI bots. Not completely though!

Based on the past history, skills, location, priority, tools, and availability of the workforce, jobs are dispatched to the right person. It takes no time to do so. Whereas a human may have to look up to all the technicians and check the other conditions to dispatch the job without any guaranteed success. The paperless approach with mobile apps and cloud software makes use of artificial intelligence to auto-route the jobs and take the shortest path. AI virtual assistant considers all the parameters including unexpected events. It increases the job completion rate in the first visit by ensuring the worker has right tools and skills.

Predictive Maintenance

One of the best implications of artificial intelligence is predictive maintenance. While most of the companies work on the ‘take action when the issue occurs’ approach, AI brings a change. Predictive maintenance changes the game because it doesn’t allow the problem to occur. The use of sensors plays a big role. For instance, a sensor equipped bin sends out information to the software. The system books the waste collection appointment automatically. Vans visit to empty the bin on time. Or, a boiler sensor reports some malfunctioning error which may stop its working soon. This helps the service engineer to do necessary repairs before the problem occurs. Artificial intelligence makes it happen without manual intervention. This is AI in Field Service Management.

Predictive maintenance is the way to increase asset life and quality. The machine-to-machine interaction and the connected devices drive predictive maintenance. It eliminates the unnecessary technician visits to check machine condition. Monitoring the equipment condition and collecting regular information is useful. Furthermore, it helps to utilise resources in an optimal manner.

Data-Driven Decisions

Artificial intelligence is all about data. With AI in use, it is possible to take more strategic decisions. Reduced repetitive administrative work allows human operatives to focus on predictive analysis. It governs end-to-end work and data flows with automation. Continuous data evaluation and processing presents a clear picture with analytics. Hence, a field service company can save huge due to artificial intelligence.

It streamlines project planning, staffing requirements, new products, inventory management and customer service with analysis. IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data have found their place in field service industry. And, it enables collecting lots of information from sensors and machines. AI uses these sets of information to empower service companies with informed decisions.

There is no going back…

Take your field service business forward with the potential of AI. Amalgamate automation to organise the moving workforce and consequently deliver better services. Don’t forget the increased ROI with organised processes.