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4 Ways Generative AI Will Revolutionize Field Service Operations: Exploring the Potential Uses

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Generative AI (GAI) has been a steady focus of the tech and business media for the better part of this year—largely spurred by Open AI’s release of ChatGPT and GPT-4. Both are powerful multimodal language models capable of deep learning.

The popularity and subsequent adoption of this new technology are unsurprising. Unlike other viral technologies—like Web3 and the Metaverse, for example—Open AI’s technology has an immediate opportunity to add business value across industries and verticals. From real-time task automation to rich data insights generation and marketing and communication enhancement, it solves a need customers are demanding: 1:1 personalization, quickly and at scale.

Field service operation is no exception. Offering superior customer service is a principal differentiator and is responsible for helping brands in building and maintaining strong customer relationships. Technology is already transforming field service organizations, from work order automation to route optimization. Businesses leveraging the latest technology are improving operational efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing the customer experience. GAI will enable these businesses to increase productivity to the next level.

Here are 4 ways organizations should be thinking about the future with generative AI.

1. Performance Productivity

It is a challenge for any organization to manage its field service operations at scale, but refining and improving operational efficiency can have a significant impact on the bottom line. From accounting to inventory management and asset maintenance, smooth operations take coordination from leadership, technicians and back office staff.

In a perfect, GAI-supported future, field service management software is equipped with technology that acts as a second set of hands—much like a personal assistant would. Imagine, in a single sentence, asking your software to create a predictive maintenance program for your customer Katie Russel of Russel’s Lawn Care. Instantly and without oversight, the technology pulls information from data layers across the organization (like email, CRM, PPM, ERP, etc.) to build and execute a personalized, accurate maintenance program for your customer.

Because GAI is trained on your data, business operations are efficient, scalable and unique to each client—allowing you to prioritize customer experience without compromising on productivity.

2. Workflow Optimization

In the same vein, generative AI will be useful to level up existing workflows. Take scheduling for example. At present, AI and machine learning can show which technicians are available at a glance and optimize service routes for maximum efficiency.

With GAI, automation processes can be accelerated. The technology has the ability to access and refine its recommendations based on new data in real time. For example, the time it takes to complete a work order can be broken down by technician, customer, type of job or location in real-time and more intuitively predict the time it will take to complete future tasks—without back office intervention or bias.

3. Streamlined Customer Service

Another true benefit of embracing generative AI is the ability to transform the quality of your customer service while enabling your teams to service more requests. The future for field service organizations is having all customer data to the forefront with a single prompt to be used more seamlessly in natural customer interactions.

Generative AI gives organizations the ability to offer a personalized experience to every customer at every touch point. For example, using an integrated GAI tool, a customer service representative could ask things like: “When was Eddie Williams’s HVAC system last serviced?” or “How long has Susan Sheraton been a customer?” Using a single text-based query, the representative can bring all of the customer-specific information forward without having to do a database search. Customers are left feeling like their experience was personalized and service representatives can work even more efficiently.

4. Autonomous Equipment

Though it may seem futuristic, the widespread adoption of autonomous equipment is not actually that far off. While “autonomous equipment” may conjure up memories of The Jetsons or Smart House and robots that cook your breakfast and clean the house, autonomous equipment has more to do with prescriptive maintenance. Powered by IoT technology, internet-enabled equipment would alert field service organizations when maintenance is required—sort of like a baby monitor for your HVAC system.

In a GAI-enabled future, connected equipment data would be used to predict breakdowns before they happen and ensure that a customer's equipment is expertly maintained. Adoption of GAI would take much of the guessing out of equipment maintenance.

GAI has created an opportunity for field service organizations to set themselves apart. By leveraging GAI-powered tools, businesses can zero in on drastically improving productivity while providing an excellent customer experience across the business. Plus one of the most powerful features of GAI is its ability to offer intelligent insights from multimodal sources of data. Businesses with field operations who want to scale for growth are looking to embrace the potential of GAI for a competitive advantage.

Anand Subbaraj is the CEO of Zuper, he is a seasoned entrepreneur and a product leader enabling service organizations globally to transform customer experience with an intelligent field service and customer engagement platform.