Welcome Generative AI to the World of Field Service
In 2023, Generative AI dominated technology discussions, particularly tools like ChatGPT and Google’s BARD. Its impact extends across industries, with experts asserting it can significantly enhance field service delivery.
The 2023 “Voice of the Field Service Engineer” report reveals the changing attitude of field service engineers towards technology. 66% of the respondents said that technology is making their work easier. It is a 10% improvement from 2022. Some reports suggest that AI tools can improve field service agent productivity by 30-40%.
Besides analyzing and predicting language patterns, Generative AI can generate new information in various forms, such as translations and ideas based on a topic. For field service engineers, Generative AI can automatically respond to a service query and generate “troubleshooting” information without the intervention of a support representative. In this blog, we’ll explore other applications and benefits of Generative AI in field service.
Applications of Generative AI in Field Service
Technician appointment scheduling and dispatch
Optimized field service scheduling is a must-have for service organizations to stay competitive. Based on historical data and external factors like real-time traffic conditions, Generative AI algorithms can “intelligently” optimize their operator’s appointment schedule and dispatch. Real-time AI technology can select the best travel route to respond quickly to customer problems.
Besides improving service availability, Generative AI can reduce operational costs and improve efficiency.
Access to the knowledge base
52% of field service technicians face challenges accessing service manuals – and 48% do not have access to a knowledge base.
Field service engineers must have real-time access to a high-quality knowledge base that ensures service performance. This access includes making specific work instructions available to the field technicians at the right time. For example, field service engineers in the oil and gas industry rely on manuals to troubleshoot problems in an offshore drill for safety and compliance. Pouring through manuals takes time and can waste precious resources. Powered by Generative AI, virtual assistants can provide field engineers with fast access to relevant technical information. Through step-by-step guidance, virtual assistants can help field service technicians identify and resolve the problem.
Accurate documentation in the form of field service and root cause analysis reports can be a crucial help in field service operations. Field service professionals spend, on average, 10-15% of their productive time preparing these reports. Generative AI can effectively save the manual work and time spent on documentation.
Generative AI models work for field service organizations by analyzing field service data, including technical manuals, equipment specifications, and service records that automatically generate accurate documentation. This documentation adheres to prevailing industry standards and regulations, thus minimizing manual errors.
According to Deloitte, predictive maintenance reduces machine breakdowns by 70%, maintenance costs by 25%, and improves productivity by 25%.
Enabled by Generative AI, field service systems can now accurately predict equipment failures in advance. AI-powered predictive maintenance tools can analyze equipment (or sensor) data for anomalies or sudden deviations. Then, Generative AI models can help maintenance teams proactively schedule their next maintenance operation and planned downtime. They also help optimize maintenance workflows – and recommend the right service plan.
Generative AI tools can also help “simulate” customers’ interactions with remote field experts when they are not physically available to fix their complex problems. Generative AI, alongside augmented reality, can facilitate servicing equipment in remote areas.
In the demanding realm of customer service, Generative AI has multiple use cases including:
- Understanding the customer’s query and providing an appropriate response.
- Providing textual inputs to customer service agents as they type out a suitable response to the customer’s query.
- Noting valuable information automatically from a customer’s call —providing a reliable “point of reference” for customer service representatives.
How Generative AI Can Benefit Field Service Operations
The future of field service operations will be customer-driven and personalized. Generative AI enables field service teams to personalize service experiences for their customers. Field service teams achieve faster and more appropriate resolutions to customer problems using AI-driven insights.
Generative AI offers real-time analytics that drives insights that improve resource allocation and inventory management decision-making. Using customers’ historical data, Generative AI helps provide personalized service recommendations to individual customers. This one-to-one approach can boost customer engagement and experience.
Overall, field service teams can leverage Generative AI for a host of benefits, such as:
- Operational efficiency
- Lower costs
- Innovative services
- Increased service availability
Generative AI is Only Part of the Solution
Generative AI technology offers much more business value than simply helping field service teams access relevant information. Given this fact, it follows that Generative AI is only a “part” and not the “entire” solution. While Generative AI plays a role in improving field service, it’s insufficient for truly empowering field service engineers and technicians.
A more comprehensive solution is required to optimize field service performance in the moments that matter. While Generative AI has its place on-site and in the hands of engineers in those moments, it’s only empowering when coupled with a platform that can easily enforce industry standards and regulatory compliance for better outcomes.
At Atheer, we understand there’s a long way to go in solving field service organizations’ last-mile service delivery challenges today. This is why we have designed our no-code platform to improve the performance and efficiency of field service delivery, no matter the processes used to deliver it.
Are you prepared for the new wave of AI in field service management? We can help. If you want to know more, schedule a free product demo.