The word “transformation” may be used a bit too loosely when it comes to the manner in which cutting-edge digital technology has affected life as we know it, but it’s an apt term for many industries. Field service is most certainly no exception. When a bank branch or credit union’s ATM stops dispensing cash or a restaurant’s walk-in freezer is lukewarm, technicians can be alerted to these issues almost instantaneously to diagnose the problem on-site. In fact, in some instances, they can handle the fix remotely, sparing businesses and technicians hassle, money and time – when every second counts to assure jobs are handled quickly and efficiently.

Yet despite these innovative detection and troubleshooting capabilities, 52% of field service companies still address tasks the old-fashioned way, using pens and pencils to arrange appointments and relying on clients to alert them to equipment errors, according to Field Technologies Online. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with using legacy systems, relying on them prevents field service leaders and their teams from reaching their full potential and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Enter Microsoft Dynamics 365, an end-to-end software program that leverages data-driven insights and built-in intelligence to drive operational efficiencies and enhance performance. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is predictive maintenance redefined and something that every field service operation – no matter which industry in which it specializes – can seamlessly adopt into existing workflows.

Here are just a few of the ways Microsoft Dynamics 365 can go to work for you when your customers and clients need work done for them:

Keeps customers engaged

When office elevators are out of order for weeks on end, or inoperative tractors stay in neutral at a critical juncture of the harvest season, it’s often due to poor communication between the business owners and their service provider. In short, they’re not engaged. Dynamics 365 solves this by supplying your customers with their own self-service portals they can pull up quickly on their mobile devices so they can schedule appointments and track the status of service activities. This helps to build trust and increase transparency, so your customers are in the know every step along the journey.

Makes proactive assistance possible

Since its inception, the field service industry has almost always been a reactive profession – where technicians report for duty when appliances need fixing but only after the fact. That’s not the case anymore thanks to sensory technology and advancements in internet of things compatibility. Connected devices worldwide now top 7 billion according to figures obtained by IOT Analytics. Using this sort of technology, Dynamics 365 enterprise resource planning software can wirelessly detect error messages and glitches automatically, making you aware of issues even before your customers araware of them. In short, remote monitoring technology helps turn reactive customer support into proactive.

Empowers connection on any channel

Tablets. Laptops. Desktops. Smartphones. You and your clients have lots of ways to stay connected, aside from the various individual models and makers of these devices. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is compatible with virtually every channel so you can be in touch with your customers regardless of device for a truly authentic omnichannel experience.

Keeps you informed of industry happenings

Did you know that the field service market, according to estimates from research firm Stratagistics, is expected to be worth in the neighborhood $4.4 billion by 2022? Or accordign to Gartner that by 2020 as many as three quarters of field service organizations will leverage mobile apps for data collection and other digital optimizations? Being clued in to field service industry insights is crucial to setting goals and evaluating growth. Thanks to AI-powered news aggregation capability, you can gather insight on where things stand with the industry and what trends are ongoing to stay in the know around the clock. You can customize when you’d like to receive alerts that are relevant to your interests, emailed straight to your inbox daily or weekly.

Boost your social media presence

Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook were relatively new to the world as recently as 10 years ago. Today, they’re powerhouses, consistently among the top 10 most-frequented websites, with nearly 75% of Americans who use at least one social networking service, according to the Pew Research Center.

Through Dynamics 365, you can gain traction and more of a following via social media by more seamlessly creating social posts to enhance name awareness, drive sales and support seasonal campaigns. You can also gather insight about where clients or prospective customers discovered you – be it word of mouth or online – to see where your marketing efforts are paying off.

Turn more leads into sales

Virtually every business entity could use a field service technician team to handle ongoing maintenance needs. Yet they won’t all take you up on the offer. With custom channels, email marketing tools, SMS integration and data analytics, you can better nurture leads, turning potential short-term prospects into long-term business relationships.

Gain context before departing

There’s always more to the story when engines stop revving or networks go awry. On-site diagnostic tools can often detect issues easily enough, but customers can address many problems themselves. Dynamics 365 leverages Remote Assist video conferencing and mixed reality calling, so technicians can have eyes on whatever happens to be the problem from wherever they are. And if a job requires a meeting of the minds, technicians can tackle more involved troubleshooting problems via HoloLens and Remote Assist devices on opposite sides of the country or world.

Save time and money

The Dynamics 365 suite doesn’t just help your company perform smarter when you’re out in the field or back at the office, but in costs control, by virtue of time management improvements. After all, time saved is money earned. According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, field teams using Dynamics 365 reduced the hours they spent behind the wheel driving to and from worksites by 50% – addressed instead by remote sensory technology and IoT compatibility. For the businesses that participated in the analysis, this helped reduce their fuel costs by an average of $28,000 over a three-year period on a risk-adjusted present value basis. Additionally, leveraging Dynamics 365 resulted in 20% fewer service calls, saving call centers $13,000 over the same period.

Field service leaders can pass these savings on to their customers by reducing costs and labor.

Putting it all together

According to the Technology Services Industry Association, connectivity, low-cost storage, machine learning and localized analytics represent the present and future of the digital revolution, particularly for field service and original equipment manufacturer service models. Dynamics 365 is all this and more, automating work order creation, streamlining inventory management, redefining preventive maintenance and building customer trust.

Turn the page on legacy work processes and embrace the ERP revolution. Please contact us at TM Group for more on this ERP suite and much, much more. st