During the COVID-19 crisis, every company wants to continue providing uninterrupted service. From utility companies and communication services providers to insurers and consumer electronics suppliers, the two main challenges are ensuring service delivery and protecting their most essential workers: field technicians. This has prompted many organizations to explore innovative technologies such as remote Visual Assistance. The concept is simple: on-screen AR-based guidance overlaid on a live video stream, allowing remote experts to show customers exactly how to resolve issues. Leading enterprises have therefore had to tackle a third challenge: working out how to choose the right remote assistance software for technicians.
Supporting different types of remote working
Remote working for field technicians can take various forms. Some experts are currently working from home, some are providing support from company premises, and others are still visiting customers’ locations for essential installations and repairs, while observing social distancing guidelines. For example, a technician might need to deliver a piece of equipment to a customer’s home and then carry out a Visual Assistance session from inside his vehicle. In other scenarios, a field technician might need real-time remote support from a supervisor or colleague. That’s why field service organizations are urgently seeking to adopt remote assistance software for technicians that enable effective remote support and need to evaluate their available options before completing the purchase and implementation processes at speed.
Core considerations for field service providers
In a dynamic, rapidly evolving situation, traditional priorities and processes are changing fast. This quick guide is designed to define the main considerations for any field service organization looking to deploy effective remote assistance software for technicians at the present time.
1. Is the solution quick to implement?
Under normal circumstances, the journey toward implementing the right solution can take several months or more. Right now, enterprises such as Verizon are demanding deployment within one or two days. That naturally leads them toward a SaaS solution that can go live in under 24 hours. The proven implementation capabilities of the vendor are therefore a critical consideration.
2. What is the solution’s availability?
Visual Assistance sessions are traditionally carried out by contact center agents on desktop PCs. However, the current crisis often means technicians have to provide remote support from tablets while in the field or from their homes. Checking the device and system requirements of a solution is therefore an essential part of the decision-making process.
Another aspect of this question is the underlying technology of the solution. A web-based live stream eliminates the need to download an app, simplifying the session initiation process and increasing usage by employees and customers. In time-sensitive situations, this can be a key factor.
3. How simple to use is the solution?
Simplicity is crucial. At the best of times, companies have to ensure that even non-tech-savvy customers will be able to benefit from Visual Assistance. It can also take longer for veteran technicians to adopt and adapt to new digital tools. That’s why solutions that were initially developed for customer interactions have a clear advantage in the current climate — they’re designed for ease of use.
4. How quickly can users be trained?
Before the emergence of COVID-19, enterprises would often have the luxury of a long training period. Currently, however, they need to carry out remote training at scale, bringing thousands of technicians up to speed on session initiation, customer histories and AR guidance in a matter of hours. Companies need to evaluate whether a potential vendor is able to supply training and onboarding tools that can be applied to their unique needs in the current situation.
5. What are the solution’s IT requirements?
When it comes to selecting the right Visual Assistance solution, leading organizations naturally require an enterprise-grade platform proven to support tens of thousands of employees, with the scalability to support more agents and end users in different geographic locations.
It’s also important to bear in mind that even in the current climate, regular IT and security requirements still apply. Companies need to determine whether a solution is aligned with privacy regulations, offers complete security through full end-to-end traffic encryption, and supports the browsers they’re using. Many organizations are also seeking remote assistance software for technicians that integrates with their existing field service applications or platforms.
Visual Assistance solutions have been around since the middle of the last decade, and for most buyers, the core priority has always been reducing costs and enhancing productivity. In the new reality created by COVID-19, that business imperative has become a life-and-death issue. The current pandemic may have reached a plateau and lockdown restrictions may be starting to ease, but lessons have been learned. Enterprises around the world have discovered the power of Visual Assistance for cutting operational costs and delivering the rapid response service that customers demand. Choosing the right vendor that can walk you through this difficult time is essential in terms of building the technological foundations of sustainable service delivery, whatever the future may hold.
This article was first published on the TechSee blog.