The ultimate aim for all businesses is to deliver superlative customer service and earn goodwill in customer relationship management (CRM). And field service management is an extremely crucial part of CRM, and field service market is growing its demand from USD 3.0 billion in 2020 to USD 5.1 billion by 2025 (Markets and Markets). For many organizations across different industry verticals, field service plays a vital role in achieving customer satisfaction objectives and aids business expansion.
Generally, field service operations involve humongous efforts and a lot of time. But the introduction of advanced technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) has significantly transformed traditional field service management. While AR provides the real-time picture and augments it with on-demand information, VR creates an alternate environment with an immersive viewing experience.
AR and VR commodities like hardware and software applications are already being used extensively to benefit field service. The power of these technologies provides field service experts with real-time details and guidance and also empowers them with remote intervention capabilities.
How do VR and AR benefit field service management?
The greatest benefit of employing VR and AR lies in successfully ousting traditional handheld appliances and bulky operation manuals with hands-free convenience in operations and an improved user experience. Moreover, integrating sophisticated technologies like IoT, helps AR and VR devices fetch real-time information that boosts the efficiency of professionals involved in field service management.
Now, let us take a deeper look at how AR and VR influence field service management.
• Boost field service operations
Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality helps field service provider organizations get a comprehensive digital visualization of assets. This makes it easier to identify how to prevent malfunctioning through remote identification and troubleshooting. So it does not require technicians to travel on-site for diagnosing the fault and fix it. This not only quickens the entire troubleshooting process but also reduces travel expenses and the likelihood of downtime if any.
Another very significant role of AR and VR here is in filling the skill gap between newly on-boarded staff and senior professionals in the organization. These technologies can facilitate real-time knowledge transfer and share among employees, which helps in the faster ramping-up of new staff. This again enhances customer service and improves field service.
• Enhance service delivery
The contribution of VR and AR in augmenting the overall customer service delivery is unparalleled. And with Artificial Intelligence in tow, the power-packed tech combo ensures a highly superior customer experience in both self-service and assisted interactions. Technicians can guide customers virtually in case of necessary repairs, or through regular maintenance procedures. It not only helps the service provider to accurately diagnose the problem but also helps customers better relate to the guidance they offer. It shortens the total duration of problem detection, diagnosis, and resolution, thereby increasing the efficiency of the field service software and providers.
Moreover, with AR, clients will be treated with an immersive experience that helps them make better decisions regarding the services offered. And VR will help strengthen customer relationships with field service providers and augment brand recognition.
• Optimize training overheads
Developing and cultivating competency is a continuous process. An able and competent workforce is the basic requirement for an organization to function and thrive amidst steep competition in the field service sector. However, training employees is expensive, time-consuming, and often hampers how the organization handles the shortage of trained staff. The learning gap between senior and fresher employees can be a major hindrance in the field service sector. But implementing AR and VR for hands-on training on the job can substantially improve training programs.
Again, if seniors can guide novice professionals remotely using AR and VR devices, then there will be no travel expenses involved, and the service provider organization can achieve efficiency in resource rotation and release.
Use of 3D visuals, video illustrations, and live feedback updates facilitate easier learning, and employees can better retain the acquired information, than by conventional learning methods. Needless to say, this is ideal in building a proficient workforce and reducing overheads in training.
• Simplify product assembly
Nowadays, wearable devices empowered with AR and VR have reduced the need for assembling and disassembling machinery parts. The usual complexities in product assembly processes can be streamlined considerably with a graphical representation that is easy to understand quickly. For instance, an AR/VR headset provided to the technician will be enough to get clear and concise guidance in assembling parts or disassembling, as necessary. The use of 3D visuals will eliminate the need for technicians to frequently refer to service manuals and offer a clear logical understanding of the product parts and assembly instructions.
• Improve data analysis
With software for field service management embedded with Augmented Reality and IoT, field service providers can extract insightful details from gathered customer data. Organizations can make better customer service decisions based on improved data analysis results using AR and also fetch deeper insights. For instance, specific data collected by IoT sensors integrated into a client’s AR device helps understand small but significant details. Field service providers can better find out the best time to visit the customer, or if they must visit in person to offer some resolution, or what appliances or tools might be necessary to fix the prob
• Fetch the latest product information
Field service management software can collect information related to the current status (health) and performance of devices interconnected using IoT. Then, with its integrated AR capabilities, technicians can confirm appliance details like the model and generation, and even predict its longevity and time left before scheduling maintenance. With the help of AR, the service team can even assess how a device can respond to ambient factors like environment, temperature, and weather elements
Even though the integration of VR and AR in the field service management sector can significantly boost productivity and reduce unnecessary expenditure, the process is complex. It involves a major restructuring of existing infrastructure and business operations to accommodate these cutting-edge technologies. But, with evolving customer expectations in a highly competitive market, AR and VR can deliver high-end results in the long term and drive significant business benefits.