As expected the answer can vary depending on what metrics you intend to measure based on objectives of the deployment. Since we are talking about onsite repairs, the metrics would seem to be quite black and white. Either the system was repaired within the promised time or it was not. While this is foundational to field service it does not always tell the whole story when it comes to repairs as timely customer and product information are more key to the field engineer to perform the fix.
A field service research study shows that first time repair rates improved by 17% with field service automation. Yet onsite repairs using automation are less about auto fix then they are about having the access to the right information to perform. Often this includes access to complete parts hierarchies so the FE can troubleshoot with a known parts remedy and access to SLA that specifies the entitlement privileges. Without them a decision on how to perform the repair cannot be made as quickly thus slowing the time to repair. Access to the right product, customer, and contract information on the first visit is vital to the field engineer to complete the repair. It has little to do with automating the fix but more so with being prepared with the right information. Not only are first time rates improved but repair times are decreased as a bi product. It is no coincidence the same study revealed average repair times decreasing by 24% with use of the automation. Naturally your experience may vary in another situation but the cause and effect is undeniable. Utilizing the right technology like a Salesforce1 mobile platform with an integrated field service application provides the tools necessary to empower the field engineer to not just be more efficient but more effective which impacts customer satisfaction. Knowing this, it is no surprise that 83% of executives surveyed in a Salesforce State of Service research mentioned field teams are key to improving customer satisfaction. Now they have the tools to execute.
In above example I did not even mention the impact on cost that probably did not get lost on you. Of course fewer and shorter visits to one repair reduce service costs by improving productivity of the individual and field service team. So there is something in this for every stakeholder in the organization from IT (lower costs) to customer service (improved service) to the executive management (improved satisfaction).
These are but a few examples of the benefits of field service automation, particularly to organizations with capital intensive assets at their customers where downtime is make or break for their business and relationship with their service provider. Those 6.2 million field service technicians expected by 2020 can have a much greater span of control given the technology disruption and upside mentioned above. The overwhelming numbers of executives that believe their field teams are key now have solutions they can endorse not by edict but by evidence. You can learn more here about what Capgemini offers in partnership with Salesforce as a next step in improving field service.