The concept of customer service is changing rapidly across many industries. Medical professionals expect more effort from the companies they do business with than a simple call center phone number with limited and often frustrating interactions. Today, traditionally defined customer service is but one small part of the client interaction model, with brands seeking to differentiate themselves through delivering a seamless and superior customer experience.
One industry where the switch in focus from customer service to experience has become a keenly felt brand differentiator is in the field service industry. In a traditional consumer focused relationship, customer experience means making sure clients are happy with the product or service being supplied. However, in the medical device field service industry it means, medical practitioners being confident their equipment is going to stand the rigors of the work, and any problems are going to be dealt with promptly and effectively – before becoming a danger to patient health and clinical outcomes.
Modern day medical device field service clients demand high levels of real-time visibility, communication, and control from the companies they contract to maintain their equipment. Practitioners expect their field service providers to be able to deliver a high quality of work consistently, and at all times. This is especially true of the healthcare industry, where failing equipment can mean the difference between life and death.
The Role of Technology
Thankfully, modern digital technology supplies medical device field service providers with powerful and elegant solutions to these demands. Mobile apps can empower healthcare organizations to arrange their own appointments, as well as monitoring technician progress – in terms of both arrival and time spent on the job – until the issue is resolved.
The ability to book appointments themselves with mobile technology can enable practitioners to take advantage of last minute schedule slots with shorter arrival windows. Mobile scheduling allows dispatch offices greater flexibility, enabling them to react to these requests with agility.
Not only can mobile technology be used by the healthcare provider to augment their experience – but by the technicians themselves as well. Once on-site, technicians can use their devices to access the work history of each customer. Being able to see the work which has been carried out on previous callouts will improve time spent on each job, and first-time fix rates.
Technicians can also communicate with home base, and order parts, schematics, and other necessities while onsite – increasing their options and flexibility in the field.
Once the task has been completed, technicians can complete their work reports on mobile devices and provide the customer with a full copy – complete with details, data, and pictures – minutes after leaving the job.
Internet of Things
IoT technology can also be used to differentiate medical device field service brands.
Sensors and real-time diagnostics built into equipment on-site can enable field service providers to switch from merely reacting to issues as they occur to taking an active role in maintenance. This means being able to detect issues when they first emerge – even before the customer even becomes aware of them – enabling devices to be repaired quickly and efficiently before they break down completely.
Not only can IoT technology help prevent device breakdowns, but it can also cut down the time spent on each job by technicians. Due to the diagnostic power of IoT technology, technicians can already know where the issue is located, before they arrive onsite. This will cut down on time spent trying to deduce where a problem lies and enable technicians to get straight to repairing it. Technicians can also arrive at the job already equipped with any parts or tools they may require for the task – further cutting down repair time and improving first-time fix rates.
It is crucial for medical devices to always be operating as intended, so any technology which cuts down time spent on full system failures and fix time has the potential to save lives.
Technicians as Brand Ambassadors
People are generally impressed by innovative technology. Therefore, when technicians arrive on a job armed with the latest equipment – having already remotely diagnosed the problem – they are acting as ambassadors for the field service provider they represent.
Combine this onsite efficiency with the ease at which ambassadors are scheduled and communicated with, and you have a seamless and superior client experience which serves to create a positive brand association in their mind.
Every single customer interaction is an opportunity for medical device field service providers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Innovative technology is transforming the client experience across all industries and channels, and its implementation can make all the difference to, not only practitioner satisfaction, but clinical outcomes as well.
Healthcare clients no longer simply want their medical device field service providers to be considering service as a bookend element of business – implemented at the start and end of interactions, or when things go wrong. Instead, customer service must permeate the entire process. From the moment a field service contract is agreed upon, practitioners want to know their providers are looking after their medical equipment constantly.
Those medical service field service providers who embrace technology and implement it in a way which puts the client’s experience at the fore will gain a significant advantage over those who don’t. Whether through mobile or IoT technology – or ideally both – the modern digital space provides countless opportunities to move past old fashioned customer service ideologies, and towards a holistic and superior customer experience.
Brand differentiation through technology in the medical device field service industry is expected to be a hot topic at Field Service Medical 2018. Download the agenda here today for more information on the upcoming event.