Providing top-notch medical device field service can sometimes feel like a logistical nightmare. The problems can seem too large to tackle, leaving you and your team in the proverbial “analysis paralysis”.
We've compiled a comprehensive list to assist you in improving your current service level and keep your customer satisfaction score at an all-time high:
- Utilize your market research and customer feedback
Start with using any data that you already have at your disposal, because you can only provide unparalleled service to your customers if you fully comprehend their requirements. A significant downfall in many companies is that they don't centralize their data and thus don't get a comprehensive overview of their customers' behavior.
Begin with identifying opportunities to improve processes in ways that will enhance the customer experience. You might want to start by investing in decent software (refer to point 2) to assist you with analyzing any current data. It will be well worth the initial financial investment and save considerable time in the long run.
The right software will give you access to vast amounts of data covering all of the categories below, and more:
- Customer data
- Analytics on business functions, geographies, and products
By identifying the correlation between your operations and your customers' experience, you can start analyzing and then zooming in on the data that will put you miles ahead of your competition.
- Digitize your company—Invest in field service management (FSM) software
It is becoming increasingly important to invest in the most up-to-date FSM software. This investment will put you in the best possible position to provide excellent service to your healthcare clients.
FSM software can assist with
- Tracking your employees and clients
- Booking appointments
- Delegating tasks to the appropriate FS agent
- Backing up data
- Creating invoices
- Improving team coordination
FSM software isn't just a nice-to-have extra. It is a truly indispensable tool to survive in the modern field service industry. If your end goal is to increase customer satisfaction, then FSM software will get you there, by speeding up communication between all parties involved, resulting in a smoother, more efficient, operation. You’ll need to do your homework before adopting a specific software because implementing the "wrong" software can adversely affect productivity if rolling out of the new technology is too cumbersome. Just as much as your company cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the latest technologies, you cannot afford to have a software changeover after a failed first attempt.
Our advice? Thoroughly investigate point 1 above to gain a good understanding of your company requirements, and then compare the various FSM software solutions, adopting the one that resonates with your main company goal.
The FSM software arena is evolving rapidly, and after your company has mastered the implementation of the general software, you will need to start getting a grip on the newest emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). A recent study reveals that more than half of FS companies are already using IoT to assist in analytical maintenance, as well as tracking their highest value assets. These technologies could help with:
- Increasing the lifespan of the equipment
- Minimizing downtime
- Limiting on-site visits
- Provide enterprise-wide access to relevant field-collected data
Having the best software and analyzing tools after centralizing all your data is only as good as what your company (your employees) achieves with it.
It is essential to not only provide access to the data to your employees but to host seminars/workshops where you discuss the data in depth, and also provide everyone with a chance to contribute their thoughts. The more your field agents are encouraged to participate and contribute their ideas towards a final company strategy, the more they will feel invested in the process and feel compelled to deliver their best.
- Provide additional training
A vital, though often overlooked aspect, is employee training. It can be a complicated and drawn out process but could be made easier by appealing to your more experienced technicians to assist in the training process. It will also serve you well to provide access to online training modules that your agents can access at their convenience. Ensuring that all your agents are fully equipped and confident in utilizing the FSM software will have a significant and direct impact on their service delivery and interaction with customers.
An avenue to focus on is to utilize the current knowledge base within your company. Managing this existing knowledge base optimally will have a positive ripple effect within your organization, translating into fewer expenses on outsourcing training, while at the same time creating rapport and establishing lasting relationships between your employees. This will result in a healthy environment that is key to agent retention.
Staff training takes on a whole new significance when it comes to medical device field service. Not only will you need to hire people with some sort of medical background, you will also have to ensure that they are kept abreast of the latest advances in the technologies of the underlying medical devices. This can only be achieved through having a comprehensive system of continual employee training and education in place.
- Cover your service area
Make sure that you have enough representation over your whole service area to ensure you maintain a speedy response time. One of the essential differentiating factors between companies offering field service is response time.
- Hire additional FS technicians to fill any gaps
After establishing your coverage in point 5, you need to amend any deficiencies as soon as possible. Onboarding a new FS agent is a tedious process and the longer you neglect this gap, the harder it will be to turn around any loss in customer satisfaction.
- Don't neglect your legacy products once deploying new medical devices
Many companies make the mistake of chasing after the latest product and focusing all their company's energy in that direction. That is a sure-fire way to decreasing client satisfaction and losing business in the long run. Invest time to fine-tune this strategy and strike a healthy balance between tasking your workforce with chasing after the shiny new toy, and making sure that the oldies-but-goodies are not forgotten.
- Don't choose between domain experience and functional expertise
Hiring new field agents can be a very tedious and challenging process, and it will be even harder to find an agent that possesses both domain experience and functional expertise. Those companies that master this recruitment dilemma will be able to boast individuals that are not only adept at troubleshooting and navigating tricky logistics, but also execute the actual tasks on hand.
- Focus on integration
Integration is such a fundamental part of the success of your company. To truly improve and transform your operational effectiveness, all the above points need to be interlocked to create a fluid, dynamic system that could be easily and quickly tweaked, if and when necessary.
Your end goal must be to make your team/company more efficient and capable to provide your customers with precisely what they want, exactly when they want it. In this day and age of instant gratification, you absolutely cannot fall behind the curve and risk losing clients to competitors, just because their response time is quicker than yours.
- Outsourcing your medical device field service work
If by now you are entirely lost and wishing there was a magical solution to take care of all these components for you, then tip number 10 is for you! You always have the option to outsource all your field service work and concentrate your efforts elsewhere.
Recent research conducted by Field Service USA shows that 56% of companies subcontract some portion of their field service work, and an additional 11% are looking to do so in the future. Subcontracting all or a portion of your field service work does make economic sense and can improve customer satisfaction.
BHN provides a way to outsource your medical device field service tasks by leveraging BHN’s national team of licensed nurses. BHN nurses can go on site, set up equipment, train your customers' staff members, and provide ongoing on-site support. We achieve all this with minimal travel cost, due to our national footprint of strategically positioned nurses