Busy and billable: 6 visual strategies to increase technician utilization
Jonny is a field technician for a major home appliances brand. He starts his day bright and early at 8:00 am. After fighting his way through rush hour traffic, he arrives at the office at 8:50. Over his bagel breakfast, he spends a few minutes with his colleagues, rehashing the big game last night, before heading to his first appointment across town. Sitting in the same traffic jam (why hasn’t it cleared yet?), Jonny finally arrives at his destination at 9:30 am. As a conscientious worker, he reviews the job notes before he enters, calling the office to double-check about a specific part he anticipates needing. He gets out of his car and knocks on the door at 9:38. Whew. Jonny’s had a busy morning…. or has he?
Are your technicians fully utilized?
Maximizing the time spent on service delivery is a core KPI for field service organizations. However, according to Field Service Insights, the standard for technician utilization in the field service industry is just 64%. A low rate means that staff are spending too much time on non-revenue generating tasks, such as traveling, filling out paperwork, checking inventory, clarifying information, or completing other administrative tasks – basically any time not spent directly involved in servicing customers. Working to raise technician utilization rates allows businesses to get more done with fewer team members, enhancing both productivity and profitability, minimizing cost per ticket and keeping operational expenses in check.
How Visual Assistance boosts technician utilization rates
Field service organizations have traditionally employed various strategies to improve technician utilization, including optimizing travel routes, better preparing workers for each job, and minimizing time spent at headquarters. These days, emerging enterprise solutions such as video support, Augmented Reality and Computer Vision AI are becoming key technologies for increasing technician utilization in field service.
Visual Assistance allows technicians, remote experts, and customers to collaborate on issue resolution. On-screen AR instructions are provided over a live video stream, indicating the precise actions that need to be taken to get a device up and running again.
The next generation of Visual Assistance solutions rely on Computer Vision AI to automate a wide range of processes. As the science of teaching machines to see, recognize and understand, Computer Vision is now proving its worth in resolving numerous technical issues. The technology recognizes devices, identifies issues, suggests resolutions and provides step-by-step visual guidance. The net result is that customer service KPIs – including technician utilization – improve across the board.
6 ways Visual Assistance impacts technician utilization:
1. Get Help from Remote Experts
Visual Assistance is an invaluable tool for a field service technician who needs advice while out on a job. The field service industry is being particularly hard hit by the generational gap caused by an aging workforce, with novice technicians and third-party workers often lacking the in-depth knowledge that comes with experience.
2. Allow Technicians to Work Remotely
There are a multitude of fixes easy enough for an untrained person to carry out – with the right guidance. Using Visual Assistance, a technician working from any location can remotely guide the customer toward a resolution without visiting their home — a model that has proven invaluable during the current pandemic.
3. Collaborate Visually with Customer Care
Service issues sometimes appear out of the blue, but more often, they are part of a bigger picture of the customer journey. Using Visual Assistance technology to connect field technicians with in-office expertise and data ensures faster and more effective service delivery.
4. Provide Autonomous Assistance
Computer Vision recognizes devices and identifies specific parts. It then compares the image with control images in the knowledge base, spotting issues such as faulty wiring and wrongly connected cables. Once the root cause of a problem is identified, the system provides the technician with step-by-step guidance on how to resolve it, eliminating the need to wait for a remote expert to become available – a common bottleneck.
5. Identify the right talent for the job
Field service organizations can leverage images collected from past visual interactions – such as remote visual sessions and on-site recordings – to identify which technicians have experience with specific issues. This ensures that technicians are assigned jobs they are familiar with and allows technicians to consult with colleagues who have experience of the same issues.
6. Simplify job summaries
Many field service organizations still require technicians to use traditional time-intensive methods to record notes and fill out paperwork. Using Visual Assistance, technicians can capture job-related images, simplifying the summary process. Computer Vision can also automate the job summary process using image-to-text techniques to automatically tag the visuals collected by technicians.
A report, “6 ways to increase technician utilization using vision,” takes an in-depth look at the visual strategies that enterprises can implement to begin improving their technician utilization rates. Access it here.