Service Works AI or SWAI – why not? Everything has an acronym. The most powerful algorithm in here should have a name too, right? Just like Siri, Alexa etc I introduce you to SWAI. SWAI is a very powerful entity and takes on various roles. It can act as a helper, choice giver or even decision maker.
We will see how some of the problems that every business owners in the service industry is facing is solved by SWAI.
How to effectively schedule and assign?
You have multiple installations to do in a day and the task takes varied amount. How can you effectively schedule various jobs when there are so many unknown variables?
1. How long will it take to finish the job?
2. How long will it take to go to the next destination?
3. Who is the best tech to assign to this job?
SWAI can analyze the past jobs of similar nature and find out how long did it take for an employee to finish that installation. It can prompt you to set the job duration based on past data. That means AI can prompt you to enter 2 hours for John and 3 hours for Keith for the same job based on their past performance.
The system connected to weather app and traffic app can accurately predict the time to travel based on the time of the day even before the actual day. This will help you create the padding between the jobs as accurately as it can be.
You have created a toilet plumbing job on 5th January. You have John and Keith who both have skills to do the job. Now when you will assign the tech the system can also show you the highest rated tech for you to utilize based on complexity of the job. The system shows John has 5-star rating and Keith has 4 stars. John takes average 3 hours to complete the job and Keith takes 2.5 hours. Now the system will present you options of who to select. One with highest rating or one who works faster?
By incorporating SWAI into field service processes, it can help organizations do more work with the same number of resources, and benefit from more accurate resource plans and smaller service windows that improve both customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
What are the optimal ways to deliver service as the day progresses?
Problem: You have several jobs scheduled for a day and you have already used AI to optimally assign the jobs to the right individual John. But reality can change, and you realize the job # 1 at 9 am at Mr. Klein’s house is running longer than originally anticipated. It was supposed to be done by 11:00 but it looks like it will take till 1pm. John has a next job at Mr. MacDonald’s house at 12:00. How can you handle this situation?
Solution: The AI can look at the changed situation and re-assign the jobs based on their job completeness, availability and proximity. Clicking the optimize button will reassign techs to the job that have not been en-routed for yet or are pending visits. The AI will keep John at John’s location as John has not yet completed the job, it will try to find the rest of the techs who will be available and near.
Automatic notifications will be sent to the tech of this reassignment, and the tech newly assigned for this job will proceed to this new job after the completion of his previous job. And John probably will be assigned to another job after 1 pm.
The technology automatically reshuffles technician schedules if there are more optimal ways to deliver service as the day progresses.
How can the part procurement be more seamless?
Problem: You have a job to fix the refrigerator at Mr. Steinman’s house. The fixing requires 2 parts. In the morning you realized that the parts that was meant to be used from warehouse ABC for this job has been taken out by John yesterday to fix another job. Now where would you get the part from?
Solution: The AI helps you look up parts in your other warehouses or locations automatically and helps you transfer the part from one location to another. For more complex operations SWAI can help with having integrated systems connected to different vendors or part distributors. In case you have no parts available the system will show you where it is available and how long it can take to get it to you.
In case the part availability takes more than the desired time, the job can be rescheduled to a date that matches the date of arrival of the part.
AI can increase the visibility of your items and parts availability and the track the status seamlessly for you to make better decisions on part procurement.
How do you increase customer satisfaction without investing extra time?
Problem: There are many notifications and communications you need to send to your customer. When the job is scheduled you call or send email, if you are running late you contact them, if job was rescheduled you notify them. You send estimation, invoice, contract documents to your customers. This can be a full-time admin job just to manage all the communications with your customers. How do you reduce time on communicating effectively but still increase customer satisfaction?
Solution: Automation is the answer to this problem. In SWAI driven automation, here is how services and products have become automated through the years. Some of the most common examples of work automation include:
1. Paperless Invoicing: Paperless billing allows you to send invoices via services that automatically send paperwork through a database server, eliminating the need for a human to sort through paperwork and mail confidential information to everyone. You can also send bulk invoices at once.
2. Recurring alerts and notifications: Be it a job delay, schedule, reschedule, technician en-route, technician arrival, or appointment reminder alert, these automated reminders help workers stay on top of tasks so they can carry out their duties in a timely manner.
3. Cloud Documents: For companies with multiple documents the storage of all contractual and field service docs uploaded and stored in cloud associated with a job becomes easily shareable to the customers.
4. Importing and Exporting Data: Collecting and managing data, especially large datasets, can be time consuming and mundane. Automation makes it easy to migrate data from a database to excel or to transfer data from one database to another.
5. Auto Complete: Today’s web browsers make completing forms – and even URLs – faster and easier though auto complete features. Simply start typing and after the first few letters, you’ll have the option of filling out the rest of the form with a simple click.
6. Excel Functionality: While the formulas in Microsoft Excel can sometimes be exasperating, functions such as auto-sorting, criteria-based entry management, and pulling web data into an Excel file are all examples of automation.
The automation of work was born out of economic theories on mass production and the ability to manufacture products efficiently and safely. What started as robotics for simple and mundane tasks has now revolutionized the way people and companies do work and communicate. Automation helps you save time that you can invest in human driven customer satisfaction operations.
This article was originally published by Suparba Panda, COO of ServiceWorks.