When much of the country shut down due to COVID, many businesses in the field service industry considered themselves lucky. Essential businesses remain open and essential staff remain employed. This helped to insulate them from the type of financial ruin that other sectors have to navigate. Field service businesses were forced to adapt to challenging new protocols that affected operations and revenues.

While the pandemic is far from over, we wanted to detail some of the “new normal,” and closely examine what recovery from COVID-19 looks like for field service industry businesses.

Shifting customer service roles

The days of just dropping by a customer’s house unannounced or making small talk are probably over. But that doesn’t mean field service companies can’t maintain a personalized touch. Virtual experiences will become more important than ever as companies are refining their focus. Using video chat, texting, and email more effectively to communicate with customers. Field service businesses must remain vigilant when informing customers about updates on visits or work performed. They also need to remain vigilant about the precautions the company is taking to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

Related: Servitization: A Trend Your Business Should be Following

Continue emphasizing safety and following CDC guidelines

A field service technician avoiding a customer because someone was infected would sound preposterous if it were said last year. However, that’s the current reality. Field service businesses must do what’s necessary to stay safe. Those safety measures include screening customers and asking if anyone in the household has been showing symptoms or if someone has been exposed.  If the answer is yes, wait 14 to 30 days before scheduling an appointment. Field service companies may also choose to avoid zip codes showing particularly high numbers of positive tests.

Related: 3 Field Service Manager Challenges (and How to Beat Them)

First-time fix rates must improve

It’s always been nice for field service businesses to correct a customer’s problem on the first visit.  But now, it’s essential. Due to restrictions and guidelines that limit face-to-face interactions, field service businesses may no longer have the liberty of another shot.  Not only could multiple visits put the employee’s safety in danger, but it could also put the health of the company’s relationship with their customer in peril.

Related: Technology to the Rescue: Constant Customer Service

Give the power to the people

In addition to strategies in place to better solve customer problems, field service businesses must deploy technology that facilitates self-service. Incidentally, one poll from 2018 showed that 88% of consumers expect a brand or organization to have an online self-service support portal. Besides just making customers happier, online portals are conduits to productivity. Employees no longer have to spend time answering trivial questions. Or completing mundane tasks on behalf of customers who can now do those things themselves.

Fully accept that things are still subject to change

Field service business operations had to adapt when COVID-19 hit, and certain changes are likely to stick. With the unprecedented times we’re all facing, businesses must acknowledge that the future is still subject to change. Now is the time to keep everything on the table and remain flexible in approach. The field service businesses that can remain agile are likely to find success.

Related: Work Order Management Software in Times of Crisis

EnSight+ offers customizable field service software that can help businesses like yours adapt and overcome many of the obstacles presented by COVID-19. If you’d like to learn how our solution can transform the way you manage work orders and communicate with customers, book a demo of the software today.

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