Today’s world was already becoming increasingly virtual before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a worldwide seismic shift in business operations. Now, as we return to normalcy — or whatever this “new normal” is — neither businesses nor consumers have any interest in reducing virtual functionality. And why would they? Virtual services, also known as remote services, have proven beneficial to both parties in many different ways.

Today, we’ll dig deeper into the increasing demand for virtual services, exploring some of the most popular ways field service management organizations are using the technology and the advantages they’re likely to receive as a result.

What are virtual services?

Before going into detail on the benefits of virtual services, we thought it made sense to provide a brief primer on exactly what we mean when we talk about this emerging technology. This area of technology is rapidly evolving, so the current definition of virtual services is fairly fluid. For simplicity’s sake, think of a virtual service is as something that a field service management company once did in person at a customer’s home or business. That same service can now be done remotely from the office, another job site, or by the customer themselves.

Related: Using Big Data to Improve Field Service Operations

Since the pandemic, this approach has become incredibly popular. In fact, more than half of the field service companies surveyed by Field Service News said remote services have become the primary or default means of delivering first-level services. Furthermore, 87% said they offered remote services to their customers in some form.

Types of virtual services offered by field service management companies

One of the most intriguing field service use cases for virtual services concerns remote diagnostics. Remote diagnostics involves the analysis of data gleaned from equipment or assets located in the customer’s home. Outfitted with sensors and artificial intelligence mechanisms, these assets supply the company with vital details on asset health, including why an asset malfunctioned or when it is likely to fail in the future. Knowing that information in advance gives the company a leg up on what may be required to fix the problem on the first attempt.

Related: Go Hands-Off and Reap the Benefits of Contactless Customer Service

Some of the other popular forms of virtual services include augmented and virtual reality to diagnose problems from afar, virtual warranty claims management, and online customer self-selection and troubleshooting, just to name a few.

Benefits of virtual services

A field service company might deploy virtual services for many different reasons. But generally, the reasons most often fall into three main buckets: Operational improvement, customer experience, and revenue support.

On the operations side, technicians are better prepared to solve customers’ problems when they have access to data and remote diagnostics. That improved preparation means higher first-time fix rates and happier customers.

Related: Field Service Scheduling Is Good Customer Care

Regarding the customer experience, some of the more tech-forward virtual services can completely alter customer service interactions. For example, augmented reality could allow technicians to walk customers through problems without ever having to visit one’s home. In theory, keeping technicians out of customers’ homes also limits their exposure to potential illnesses, including COVID-19.

Related: How COVID-19 Reset Customer Expectations

Lastly, virtual services enable field service companies to boost the bottom line. Virtual service options allow technicians to complete more tasks in a day with reduced travel time. In some cases, technicians may not even ever have to leave the office, eliminating commutes and increasing revenue.

The comprehensive field service management software solution from EnSight+ can support your virtual services in a variety of ways. To learn more, schedule a demo today.

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