Have you ever been worried by a leaky tap? It freaks me out — more than a fly squirming at the nape of my neck on a warm, sweaty day in the tropics. I heave a sigh of relief only when I see a field service technician deftly twitching the screw and putting a new washer in place.
Thanks to the tribe of the field service experts, their instruments, and the sheer skills that they possess in making households, offices, shops, and businesses stay sane.
What is Field Service Management?
Gartner defines Field Service Management as 'detection of a field service need (through remote monitoring or other means, inspection or a customer detecting a fault), field technician scheduling and optimization, dispatching, parts information delivery to the field, and process support of field technician interactions.'
But hold on! Why are we doing this blog?
Because Gartner's statistics make it compelling for us to look deeper into the industry. Here is a glimpse of their predictions:
- The global field service market is predicted to account for $4.45 billion by 2022.
- By 2020, 10% of emergency field service work will be both triaged and scheduled by artificial intelligence.
- By 2020, more than 75% of field service organizations with over 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond simplified data collection and add capabilities that help technicians succeed.
- 52% of service companies still do things manually—paper, pens, headaches.
Despite the nerve-soothing abilities that field service companies and the technicians possess, they must create and distribute more marketing collateral. How does it help?
- It helps their clients and followers learn and do it themselves.
- It positions them as a subject authority or a thought leader.
- It enhances their brand image - there is a higher brand recall value.
- Earns them free word-of-mouth publicity
- It helps build trust with their target audience and cultivate long-term relationships.
More importantly, nobody ever went out of business by creating useful content. :) Let's dive right in then.
1. Know Your Audience
Any content strategy begins with five fundamental questions:
Who is the target audience for this content?
If you are a local HVAC service provider, your audience will be the nearby residences, offices, gyms, clubs, tennis courts, etc. It will be the owners, managers, administrators, supervisors, and caretakers of these places who are looking for easy solutions.
How will they benefit from it?
It helps them fix things easily on-the-go without external help. Fixing the kitchen sink leakage doesn't need skilled technicians. Instead, a simple plastic pipe, a torch, and a dry cloth can help to get it done.
Where do they hang out?
The target audience might use social apps such as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram - so distribute content on these channels to have a wider reach.
What content type do they prefer?
They might prefer small how-to videos, blogs with pictures, images, checklists, or FAQs - creating such content can help you reach the right audience.
How do you measure content performance?
Irrespective of the content that you produce, measuring its performance helps you gain deep insights into what is resonating with your target audience. Are the videos performing better than blogs, or are the images.
2. Sales and Marketing Alignment
Even before you put pen to paper, get your sales and marketing teams to agree on the KPIs that you will measure. It could be as simple as the number of leads, signups, views, or email ids. When you have concurrence on the overall vision of the sales and marketing initiatives, then it becomes easier for everyone to work towards it.
Aligning sales and marketing teams also means the content themes, types, and the campaigns that make sense for your target audience. This diligence prevents a fallout at the other end of the journey.
3. Employee-Produced Content
At field service companies, everybody is a marketer or a brand ambassador. Due to the nature of the work, technicians are continually interacting with end-users trying to make their lives happier.
They are out on the street fixing leakages, repairing broken pipes, or cleaning AC vents throughout the day. So, why not have them shoot videos of their work while they're at it? Videos are easy to create, produce, and engage. It gives a realistic touch to content and can help viewers get it done themselves.
Or, ask reps to narrate it while you record and transcribe it for an easy how-to blog with pictures.
4. Use Influencers to Spread the Word
Influencer marketing is certainly not just for the big boys or large corporates who have large purses. Even companies that have smaller content marketing budgets can tap into their influencer networks.
For example, mayors, councilors, ward officers, local media personalities, or even the average Joe who has followers on their social media, can be influencers. However, it is crucial to determine the message that they'd convey on your behalf and the medium of communication.
That brings us to choosing the suitable communication media.
5. Ignore Unconventional Media At Your Peril
The truth about content production is that no matter what you like to create, it may not be the same that the audience wants. That is true for the channel of communication, as well.
For example, the target audience for field service companies might listen to local radios, view TV shows, and read area-specific newspapers/magazines that cater to their needs. They might even turn up for the local football games, charity shows, town halls, meetings, or the beach. After all, not everyone follows the US-China trade talks.
Spreading the word through such unconventional media enables field service companies to get closer to their target audience.
6. Recreate and Reuse
Content creation shouldn't be a one-time activity. It is expensive and time-consuming to create original content. So, field service companies must create content once and reuse it in other forms.
For example, a short video about cleaning the air conditioning vents can be reproduced in an infographic with simple images in a sequence. Users can understand the process and become better equipped to do it themselves.
7. Measure Content Performance
Most often, companies produce splendid content but fail to measure content performance. They aren't able to tie their content to revenues that it can potentially generate. It results in the creation and optimization of more irrelevant content that lacks strategy and direction.
Most content marketers dive into Google Analytics or vanity metrics on social media to check the real worth of their content. While these methodologies are must-haves for any company, specialist content management platforms help in knowing the content engagement amongst the target audience. It helps you to know the number of views, downloads, time spent on each content piece.
Such insights help field service produce and distribute contextual content that is approved and brand-compliant to their target audiences.
What You Still Need to Know?
Field service companies must create content that is natural and flows freely. It must be a part of their daily business to produce content that their users can engage and consume easily. It isn't about building loads of content that is of no use to anybody; rather, it is about the quality of content that generates higher engagement.