Field service management is a critically important issue in today’s utility landscape as companies are measured on their customer engagement, communication and the duration of outages, both planned and unplanned. Publicly, utilities are also judged by J.D Power and others on how well they manage these events. A deregulated market can impact which provider a customer chooses but even in a regulated monopolized utility market, these challenges can impact brand reputation, both locally and nationwide.  

When utilities providers’ scheduling is not as efficient as possible, it will impact the bottom line. Across industries, 76% of field service organizations say they find it challenging to remain profitable due to the enormous pressures of deploying efficient service. Independent servicers need their own platform for rapid communication and by leveraging field service technology, utility providers can enhance and streamline their workforce management. Field service tools can offer utility providers enhanced technician mobility and end-to-end customer solutions, providing power companies the opportunity to increase service speed and customer satisfaction.  
Discover mobile solutions  
Optimizing technician scheduling through field service software can enhance a utility provider’s productivity by increasing the number of jobs each technician can service in one day and allowing greater access to job mobility tools. AI-powered algorithms identify the best ways to optimize job scheduling by reassigning jobs to technicians based on skill level, traffic or inventory to provide the most efficient routes. Additionally, field service mobility platforms allow utility technicians to reference timecards, customer history, inventory on each truck and job details from any laptop or mobile device. Whether servicing a utility plant or customer home, technicians can share real-time GPS ETAs, log internal and customer facing job notes and launch AR/VR support if a problem arises, all from their mobile device. Field service technologies provide central platforms for data storage and technician schedule optimization. Transparent communication allows technicians to service more jobs with countless tools at their disposal that enable better service.  
Respond to crises faster 
Through field service management solutions, service requests can be customer-generated or initiated through predetermined constraints, including regulatory stipulations or annual maintenance requirements. Operators can utilize interactive Gantt charts to assign jobs that require prioritization to the closest or most skilled technician without overrunning teams’ capacity limitations, which is also tracked by the program. These capabilities ensure that in the event of a power outage, technicians can respond promptly and customers can be notified immediately on the repair status and estimated duration of downtime. Additionally, field service software can help utilities plan for peak demand as a result of extreme weather, so that disasters are avoided and customer loyalty is maintained. 
Provide a seamless customer journey 
Consumers are increasingly demanding fast response and self-service capabilities. As a result, it is more important than ever to ensure excellent customer service. Field service software allows utility providers to set up end-to-end workflows that enable optimal customer service. When logging service requests, customer portals provide personalized, simple and quick self-service in addition to real-time job status. Customers can schedule service for times that work best for them and track technicians in real-time. Once the job is complete, customers can access invoices, maintenance history and customer surveys from the same convenient portal. These capabilities can transform a customer’s utility experience by enabling transparent and timely service so that customers know what is always going on relative to power and utility jobs in their home and office. When you maximize the customer journey, revenue can increase by 15% as efficient service lowers costs and excellent service encourages customer retention.  Enabling technician arrival notifications and real-time status updates has also been shown to improve customer satisfaction NET promoter scores by 30%. 
Discover tech-enabled utilities 
Utility providers are already seeing the benefits of field service management software as they optimize field workforces for better service. Providers like Siemens and British Gas are using field service solutions to manage the installation and repairs of smart meters, automatically scheduling maintenance and alerting the customer so that they can know when to expect a technician on their property. Meanwhile, alternative energy companies have the potential to leverage field service solutions to install and maintain electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels as those power sources grow in popularity. There are countless opportunities to leverage field service solutions to improve utility service and by implementing advanced communication tools and optimizing technician scheduling, utility providers can respond to service outages promptly and remain transparent with customers for overall quality service.   
Author: Samir Gulati, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, ServicePower