Vladimir Mitrasinovic, SVP and general manager of EMEA at TOA Technologies, explains why field service management is one of the most influential customer care tools in an operator’s arsenal.
Eurocomms.com: How do you define field service management?
Vladimir Mitrasinovic: Literally, it means getting the right people to the right jobs at the right times, all with the goal of maximising efficiency en masse.
But, in today's context, that also means "customer experience management."
When you think about it, when and where does a CSP really touch the customer? Channels like PR, advertising and sponsorships are where most of the money goes, but they’re a distant and indirect means of communication.
Then you have billing or customer service, but even these rarely involve human interaction, unless there’s a problem.
Field service involves people, the ones with trucks and toolboxes. They meet the customer face to face to deliver service in the customer’s home.
When you think about them in these terms, those employees become incredibly important.
So you think one of the most overlooked part of the business equals most influential?
Exactly. If you see a solution for field service management as just an "app to solve a scheduling problem," then you're entirely missing the point – not to mention an opportunity.
You’re missing the point because scheduling is service, and punctuality is service.
Studies show that two out of every three consumers expect a business to value their time. That’s their number one expectation.
Why would you not do your best to meet your customers’ primary expectation? Seen in that context, aren’t these applications mission-critical?
But you’re also missing an opportunity to increase the productivity of your workforce by increasing the number of jobs completed per day.
You’re missing an opportunity to reduce miles travelled and fuel consumed by optimising scheduling and routing.
You’re missing the opportunity to dramatically reduce operational costs by decreasing overtime and contract work.
So how do you ensure that operators don't miss these opportunities?
We focus on time as the key metric. Our products don’t rely on industry averages or ‘rules of thumb’ for scheduling.
Instead, they measure the time that individuals take to perform specific tasks and to travel from site to site.
They then create a personal performance profile for each user.
With those profiles and predictive analytics, our products produce optimised schedules that hold up over the course of a workday.
What's the market like right now? Active? Difficult? Engaged? And how are you dealing with the challenges?
One of the biggest challenges we face is misperception of cloud technology in general.
There are still some IT managers who don’t feel secure and don’t feel in control.
Otherwise, every industry, not just communications, is focused on customer satisfaction and reducing or minimising churn today. If you fail in those areas, you don’t have a business.
We are helping some of the largest field service companies in the world manage millions of appointments and dispatch tens of thousands of mobile employees to customer locations every day.
So with our time-based, predictive technology enabling better planning and management, allied to the cost-effectiveness and easy-to-implement nature of our product, the market for field service management products is strong.