AI in field service: Using technology in the service of people

  • Solutions
  • 2023
  • Customer Experience
  • Jim Van Over
September 05, 2023

AI in field service: 2 field workers looking at a laptop screen in front of windmills

When customers need field service, the stakes are high, whether they’re getting started with a new product or service or something crucial to their business needs repair.

These make-or-break moments influence customers’ long-term perception of your brand. Yet they're often complicated by internal system disconnects that require significant manual intervention. These labor-intensive processes slow down work, diminish customer satisfaction, and increase costs, leaving employees and customers frustrated.

AI in field service can make the process easier and more efficient, reducing manual effort and improving experiences for both field teams and customers. The transformative power of AI is unprecedented—offering a potential $15 trillion lift to the global economy by 2030, according to PwC.

Let’s explore how AI can reinvent field service processes.

People at the center

At its core, field service is a people-centered function. It depends on people with the right skills serving humans, assets, and infrastructure in need of support. Using AI to improve field service isn’t about removing people from the equation—it’s about empowering them:

  • Work duration estimates: Predict the time required for technicians to complete jobs.

  • Knowledge sharing: Connect employees to the resources and insights they need to complete tasks.

  • Part recommendations: Automate lists of parts needed to fulfill work orders based on past jobs.

  • Work order clustering: Utilize grouped work orders to streamline tasks and optimize resources.

  • Proactive and preventive maintenance: Clarify equipment longevity trends to prioritize maintenance based on repair costs and downtime data.

AI is reinventing critical field service use cases, making work flow seamlessly and letting employees achieve greater mastery of key skills. New possibilities are emerging as field service professionals explore AI’s potential.

As AI takes root, C-suite leaders can gain faster access to data that provides insights to scale the business. Service owners can get ahead of incidents before they affect customers. Technicians can be more effective—and customers can get what they need more quickly.

The human as the hero with AI

Consider this: 64% of people say they derive at least moderate value from AI in their work, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

For field service workers, AI will create value in three key areas:

  1. Field service technicians: New technicians will onboard more quickly and effectively with the support of AI, which will speed time to productivity and streamline training processes. Many parts of the technician job, both in person and remote, will be accelerated, including inventory management, access to historical account context and documentation, remote assistance while troubleshooting a job, and predictive maintenance, allowing technicians to receive system notifications to address early warning signs from AI analysis of historical data.

  2. Dispatchers: AI will be able to assist dispatchers with some of the heavy lifting of scheduling, analyzing, and making recommendations around historical data, technician skills, technician availability, and service requests. In addition, AI will provide real-time weather and traffic information to minimize delays, calculate accurate estimates for arrival and travel times, automate intelligent communication to customers, and help dispatchers prioritize customer requests, considering service-level agreements, contract terms, and account history.

  3. Field service managers: AI will simplify personnel decisions with in-depth performance analytics, driving better performance and resource allocation. Similarly, AI analysis will improve budgeting, workload balancing, quality assurance, and training and knowledge sharing processes, freeing manager time to focus on important, strategic exceptions.

To access these benefits, it’s crucial to promote trust in and adoption of AI—while supporting employee autonomy. Employees need to understand how AI benefits them and the potential it holds. Leading by example and institutionalizing AI in field service can facilitate the way forward.

Discover how AI is revolutionizing field service. And find out how ServiceNow helps organizations embrace AI to improve field service management.

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