By Samir Gulati
The building technologies marketplace is evolving fast and changing how we think about property management. With a projected market value of $600 billion by 2025, the equipment, systems, and software needed to power and operate modern buildings and homes are now more reliant on smart services, software, and the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.
As a result, property managers have more complex systems to monitor and care for in order to prevent equipment failure. In turn, they expect exceptional service from field service providers when scheduling repairs and maintenance to ensure HVAC equipment, fire and security systems, major appliances, and electronic devices run smoothly and efficiently. By replacing outdated, manual approaches to field service management with automated and optimized processes, field service organizations can increase repair response time, guarantee seamless system management, and improve customer satisfaction. By following the three best practices outlined in this article, technicians can ensure faster service for building maintenance.
- Leverage AI technology for faster scheduling
When requesting any type of service or maintenance, customers have come to expect long hold lines and long processing delays. These obstacles are the result of outdated, manual scheduling methods and are no longer satisfactory for customers. Building technologies are complex, and each system requires a uniquely skilled technician to provide adequate service. Finding the right match to fix a specific problem is no easy task for modern building technologies companies. Instead of slowing repair response times with a manual approach to field service management, companies are now relying on the proactive power of artificial intelligence (AI) to get the right technician to the right place at the right time based on a technician’s location, availability, and skill set.
By integrating AI-enabled digital tools, technicians can optimize schedules and routes through business-driven constraints and adjust availability based on service requests. Field service software solutions can help identify available crew members and make sure they have access to the right parts needed for each job and assign work requests accordingly based on a number of factors, including geographic location and skill set. As a result, the right technicians arrive faster to appointments and are more productive, whether they’re repairing home equipment or inspecting a building’s HVAC-R system.
- Facilitate customer communication with custom portals
While AI-based scheduling will increase the rapid response rate to customers’ building technology work requests, this improvement is lost on the customer without clear communication. Property managers and homeowners want to know the repair history and work status of integral systems and most customers expect all system information to be readily available to them without having to contact support. With access to a customer engagement portal, customers can easily report their issue to start the customer interaction.
When a system in a building fails, property managers expect to log into the portal and view maintenance history and easily request an appointment. Customers can then track technician ETAs and receive status updates on arrival times, view account information, and manage payments all from one central system. Customer portals also allow service technicians to communicate directly with customers to address work inquiries and share product information. This increased communication allows technicians to set and exceed customer expectations when servicing a work request. Upon completion, all work records, invoices, and equipment history are stored in the portal for customer access. With a customer portal, you open the lines of communication so you can respond to your customer’s needs faster.
- Resolve issues with remote service
When equipped with AI-based scheduling and a customer portal, modern building technologies companies can provide their customers with fast and efficient field service. However, over the past year the industry has learned that being onsite to fix an issue isn’t always possible, nor desired. Now, touchless service allows technicians to solve problems through virtual support.
Powered by augmented reality (AR) technology, building technology companies can offer guidance to customers who aim to make minor repairs themselves, providing a safe and collaborative way to identify equipment issues. The virtual platform allows technicians to direct a customer by providing a remote view of the equipment with data readings, letting a technician determine the type of problem and what repair will be necessary. AR can also bridge the skills gap among new and veteran technicians through increased information sharing among crew members. This capability reduces errors, increases first-time fix rates, and provides more accurate diagnoses.
Companies that manufacture, distribute, inspect, maintain, and repair building technologies are evolving their service models. Service organizations that invest in AI-based scheduling, self-service consumer portals, and remote service solutions will see a steady improvement in their service response time and better relationships with their customers as they manage their day-to-day operations more efficiently.
Gulati was appointed Chief Marketing and Product Officer at ServicePower in 2017, where he is responsible for all aspects of Marketing and Product Management, including market strategy, product roadmaps, demand generation, product marketing, and corporate marketing. Samir brings over 25 years of experience in global product and marketing leadership roles in technology companies.