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So here we are in 2022, two years into a series of events that none of us could have ever wildly predicted a decade ago. COVID has ultimately changed things as we once knew them in our businesses, lives, and the economy worldwide. However, as we move on to a new normal, coexisting with the coronavirus pandemic, one thing we can be certain of is that the field service industry will adapt, the same as it always has.
Hence, what trends can we anticipate in the field service industry in 2022? And, how will COVID influence these trends?
In this post, we will be taking a look at how field service businesses have changed over the past few years and what you should expect out of the industry in 2022.
Cloud-Based Software Will Continue to Propel Remote Working
COVID has done a lot of things but one thing it has not managed to change is the demand for field service workers to work in people’s homes or perform asset maintenance in commercial buildings. At best, the pandemic has simply altered the modes of operation as there can no longer be unrestricted physical contact between employers and employees or businesses and clients.
Admittedly, the new standards of remote work pose a problem for the field service industry—an industry that is not built to function with remote workforces. Owing to this, field service businesses all over the world were forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic and re-strategize how to run their business from somewhere other than their offices.
A general business trend in the COVID era is the developed ability of businesses to access data and their workforces remotely. Businesses that were able to achieve this saw little to no interruption in their workflow as long as their jobs were socially distanced and classified as critical work. There was no longer a threat for the industry to get left behind because field service businesses gradually began leaving paper-based workflows in the past. This trend has enabled field service businesses to still be able to achieve productivity and profitability within the new normal by switching to e-commerce operations and implementing cloud-based software in their businesses to champion their workers' ability to “work from anywhere”.
A great example is how time and GPS tracking solutions for businesses have and will continue to help field service businesses rally their workforces in 2022, even in the absence of direct physical contact. Employers can easily stay connected with their employees, know if, when, and where they are working, and easily keep everything digitally logged and stored.
The Use of Inventory Management Software in Empowering Businesses to Manage Supply Chain Issues
Throughout the pandemic, supply chain issues influenced materials available for several field service industries such as the construction industry. And even when materials were available, they were always insanely expensive or took a very long time to arrive.
These supply chain issues spurred a couple of trends. Business owners turned their focus towards inventory processes and became more selective about which vendors they purchased from. The rationale behind these is not only to ensure the availability of sufficient materials for projects but to also find inventory at the best prices. This is where inventory management software began to play a larger role in more and more field service businesses.
This software allows you as a business owner to track inventory changes in real-time. This prevents you from running out of materials unwittingly as you will be notified when your stock levels run low. Even in the realm of finding the best purchase prices, this software enables you to access a wide range of suppliers and compare their different prices so that you are afforded the chance to choose the best one. This is another trend that will carry on into 2022.
The Boost in Business Automation using Artificial Intelligence
Owing to social distancing regulations, technology is now playing the largest role ever in the business economy worldwide. Accordingly, many workers have had to undergo further training to familiarize themselves with the technologies required for their respective companies to maintain operations within the new normal. This has likewise resulted in a boost in the automation of processes and use of AI in the scope of businesses, and field service businesses in particular.
In 2022, AI will be majorly relied on to carry out operations such as scheduling technicians by using algorithms, the computation of huge volumes of data such as marketing and sales analytics and consumer data, the remote monitoring of physical projects to enable the delivery of jobs ahead of time, and so much more.
The Reset in Customer Expectations and Experience
As a result of the pandemic, safety precautions became the first line of defense against COVID for customers, field service technicians, and customer service representatives. Field service businesses have stayed in compliance with risk-limiting safety protocols while still attempting to remain operational. Thus, new customer expectations emerged, like how businesses safely serve customers and how to safely interact with field service workers and customer service reps in the new year.
This reset has also led to a series of evolving trends in customer experience such as:
- Contactless field service and support, including contactless service appointments, dispatching workers from their homes rather than from the office to minimize contact, as well as other remote work options.
- The use of cashless and mobile payments.
- The augmentation of online self-service portals so customers may be able to find resolutions to issues without the need for a physical appointment.
Remember that it is important to keep up with current and future business trends in the field service industry to enable you to strengthen your business relationships with your customers. Other benefits include increased customer loyalty, customer and employee retention, and increased revenue.