Introducing Field Service Management

Some customer problems need to be solved in person. 

A broken washing machine, a stalled car, or a leaky sink – these problems cannot always be fixed over a video call by an agent, with a manual in hand. 

When companies try to solve these problems, it usually involves

  1. The customer and the helpdesk agent discussing the problem on one tool, 
  2. The agent and the field tech coordinating on another software, 
  3. Updates and information not syncing reliably across the various programs.

This typically results in:

  1. The field technician being angry at the agent and the customer since they always have outdated information
  2. The customer being angry at the helpdesk agent and the field technician since they keep repeating themselves over and over again.
  3. The helpdesk agent just being confused in the middle.

Our customers asked us some time back if field service could be made easier. Some were using Freshdesk integrated with other tools to solve problems onsite for customers. But they wanted their workflows to be simpler. They wanted to know if the experiences could be made better. 

We began to research how we could help out in this area. We looked at workflows across companies, how they deal to provide field service now, and how our competitors approach this problem. 

We found that delivering a good field service experience, both literally and figuratively, was incredibly challenging due to three reasons.

  • Broken communication channels
  • Lack of visibility
  • Remote management problems

Broken communication channels

A good multichannel support software helps customers and helpdesk agents have better conversations, irrespective of whether it is over email or chat or social media. 

But for field service, the software is not only a go-between for agents and customers, but also bridging the gap between helpdesk agents and field technicians. Any information that a customer relays to an agent needs to be shared with a field technician as well without any loss of context or information. 

We needed to ensure that discussions between customers, helpdesk agents and field agents did not become a game of Chinese Whispers. 

Lack of visibility

We found that both field technicians and helpdesk agents had difficulty in perceiving what the other team was doing. 

Field technicians wanted a better picture of what they were dealing with, what their day looked like and how many cases they needed to handle on any particular day. They wanted access to information about problems quickly without having to wait on helpdesk agents for an answer. They also preferred easy access to all this information on the go without having to call the helpdesk agent every time.

Helpdesk agents wanted to know what was happening in the field, how they could help and get better updates on problem status. 

Lack of visibility into upcoming problems, and where to go was severely affecting field technician efficiency. Lack of visibility into field conditions and technician availability was affecting the helpdesk team’s ability to assign service tasks for faster resolution. This was a problem we needed to solve on high priority.

Problems with remote management

Support admins need access to up-to-date performance metrics, actionable insights and more to help their teams improve. With field service, their ability to guide teams was being made difficult since the technicians were remote, often in the field and updates from the field were not regular. 

Not only did the field teams need better communication lines with their managers, but managers and field support admins also need clear visibility into their technicians’ performance,  and get a better understanding of the roadblocks and challenges they were facing. We needed to help support admins monitor their teams more easily and help them improve faster.

Over the past few months, we’ve been working on a new module in Freshdesk to make all of this easier. Our goal was to make your workflow simpler, so you could deliver better field service experiences anywhere in the world. 

 

Today, we are happy to announce Field Service Management for Freshdesk. 

We have combined your helpdesk and your field team management app so you can deliver stellar service in person – no matter where your customers are.  

Service tasks and appointments

If a helpdesk agent identifies a customer problem that needs personal attention from a field technician, they can easily create a service task via the new FSM module. Creating a service task allows helpdesk agents to: 

  1. Attach it to the customer’s ticket to keep all information and updates in one place
  2. Assign it to the right field technician and share all relevant information with them
  3. Schedule appointments for a time that suits both the customer and the field technician.

Creating service tasks in Freshdesk also allow you to share only relevant information with a field technician without overwhelming them, follow up if they miss appointments and escalate – just as you would with a normal Freshdesk ticket.  

Share context with field teams using the new service task feature.

A revamped Freshdesk iOS and Android app

We re-engineered the existing iOS and Android apps for Freshdesk to cater for field service technicians. If you are a field technician, Freshdesk detects you automatically on login and serves you information tailored to your field service requirements. With the Freshdesk FSM app,  you can:

  1. Focus only on service tasks assigned to you and prioritize the ones due for that day
  2. View appointment times and plan your daily schedule
  3. Locate the site of your next appointment and navigate to it.
  4. Add notes, attach photos, and update the status of tasks in the field.

Using the mobile app, Field Technicians can also add notes to service tasks to keep their helpdesk agents in the loop. They can also attach photos, set statuses, and convey whether visits need to be repeated.

Curated Reports and Analytics

To help support admins monitor two primary factors, the Field Service Management module for Freshdesk comes with the two curated reports 

  • Field Service Performance Metrics: This report gives an insight into individual technician as well as service group performance. It lets you spot patterns on service task assignments, roadblocks, delays and even service tasks that are still unresolved. You can also monitor missed appointments and figure out if any field technicians or groups need help in managing their workload. You can read more about this report here.
  • Field Service Volume Trends:
    This report helps you monitor your team’s workload and spot irregular patterns such as a sudden spike in tickets or service tasks so you can respond to issues rapidly. The Volume Trends report helps you keep an eye on five different metrics geared towards managing your team’s workloads and ensuring there are no roadblocks. You can read more here.

You can add field technicians to your Estate or Forest plans at $29 per field technician per month. Sign up here to try the new Field Service Management module today! To find out more about how FSM can help you, click here.