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Connected Customer Experience

Optimize Knowledge access for Field Service Technicians

Author Eric Marlan on Feb-8-2018

It is hard to imagine how life would be without Google Search? “Google it” has come to symbolize the simple and fast way to find anything we want from any source around the world in just a few seconds. But the way the service technicians find the information they need to perform a service job remains archaic, hard, and time-consuming. Technicians spend up to 6 hours in a week researching the information they need to do their jobs. The lack of knowledge at the point of service results in extended downtime for customers, secondary service visits, and lost productivity.

Simplifying knowledge delivery and access to your service technicians and customers to find relevant service knowledge and information benefits all stakeholders:

  • Field Service Organizations that leverage knowledge management have higher first-time fix rates, better Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance, and improved profit margins.
  • Service Technicians with access to relevant knowledge will be able to diagnose and resolve problems faster, improve utilization and productivity, and resolve more customer issues on the first visit.
  • Customers will have better service experience, improved product uptime, and faster answers using self-service customer portal.

How can you deliver a Google-like experience to access your service knowledge? Here are ten capabilities that enable you to share, use and manage the knowledge more effectively in field service organizations.

     1) Simplify search to access all service knowledge and information

Most of the knowledge in companies is scattered across disparate systems and organized into folders that force the users to waste valuable time hunting for the right solution. Enabling simple search box to find relevant results across all the content will improve the ease, convenience, and usage of existing service knowledge.

     2) Index full content to deliver faster results

It is critical that Knowledge system indexes the full content of various documents to search using free-form and natural text. Leveraging a powerful search engine makes it easy to search all the content rather than just keywords or titles of documents. Technicians will find the results lot faster using the problem descriptions, service terminology, and error codes they use.

     3) Rank the results by relevancy to improve search results

Ability to sort results not only based on a better match to search terms, but also including previous access, feedback, and other factors make the results more relevant. Search results can be further improved by using contextual knowledge of the product and the service job.

     4)  Mobilize Knowledge access

Technicians are more likely to access the information in the field using their mobile phones, and all knowledge should be accessible and presented to deliver an optimal experience on these devices. The required documents also should be accessible offline at the customer sites as service technicians are sometimes required to work in environments where there may not have data connectivity via WiFi or Mobile data.

     5) Centralize knowledgebase in Cloud

Even if different teams create the content, having a centralized repository to publish the content makes it more effective to manage, maintain, and share the content. Data Silos, fragmented content, and disparate applications cost more and degrade the user experience. With cost-effective and secure cloud storage, field service organizations can keep the information consistent, up-to-date, and available in real time around the clock.

     6) Globalize Knowledge

As companies become more global, the customers are expecting consistent service experience across all regions and countries in their language of choice. Knowledge system needs to support multi-language content and searches with integrated translation workflows.

     7) Streamline knowledge authoring

Having manuals with hundreds of pages in PDF format makes it difficult to access the content while at a customer site. Authoring knowledge articles on focused topics with smaller page size makes it easier and faster to find the solutions.

Using the community sites and the content from support cases, service work orders, and warranty claims can help identify the relevant topics to focus on. You can invite and incentivize the experienced technicians to participate in knowledge sharing to uncover the implicit knowledge and make it available for all.

Having the knowledge engineers to author these articles quickly to build the knowledge base will make the users coming back to you to find answers rather than go to unreliable third-party sources.

     8) Integrate Knowledge into all Support and Service Processes

In addition to being a standalone application, knowledge should be easily accessible from any of the customer support and service applications. Having a simple Knowledge API and search panels that can be embedded or integrated will eliminate redundant data entry and provide the ability to deliver solutions to all users proactively.

     9) Enrich Knowledge content

You can enrich the knowledge with more Videos, interactive schematics, and 3D parts catalogs to help technicians to resolve problems lot faster. The right knowledge architecture can future- proof the solution by supporting the ability to use Augmented Reality(AR), Video chats, and Bots to leverage the emerging channels to deliver the knowledge.   

     10) Track and Analyze the usage and feedback

By using a centralized knowledge management system will enable you to track and analyze the search terms being used, the access frequency of knowledge topics, and user feedback to continuously improve the content and search results.

Immediate and Tangible Return on Investment

Companies realize immediate and tangible Return on Investment (ROI) from Knowledge Management initiatives in Field Service. ROI can be realized from:

  • Increased technician productivity and utilization
  • Reduced calls to technical support center
  • Fewer secondary service visits
  • Reduced cost of Warranty and Service Contracts
  • Reduced maintenance and IT costs for multiple custom applications

Google’s mission was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  The mission of your service knowledge management could be “to make the service knowledge easily accessible and available to all technicians and customers.” This mission is easily achievable with cloud-based and mobile knowledge applications.

Related Resources

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Mobilize Service Knowledge to improve Technician productivity and first-time fix rates

Author Eric Marlan on Oct-18-2017

As Products are getting more complex and product cycles are getting shorter, the service technicians cannot be expected to know all aspects of servicing your products. It is not practical to expect these technicians have the required training ahead of time. 

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