For so long, field service has existed as a purely in-person business. Going out to take a look at issues on-site, communicating with clients one-on-one, and providing issue resolution that only a human can provide has been the hallmark of the industry.

Author Nick Saraev

Photo: Freepik

However, the last few years have seen a huge increase in the number of hybrid service models being adopted by organizations of all sizes. Hybrid service models combine the convenience of digital technology with the expertise of people to provide a convenient bridge between digital and human services. 

Making this kind of change is complex, and requires a new set of KPIs, advanced tools, and an understanding of how to sell the new model to your customers and team. 

Daniel Trabel, the director of field service for Thermo Fisher Scientific in Europe, has successfully seen his team through these changes. At our recent Field Service Forum, he laid out some of this process and advice for companies looking to do the same. 

Going Smart 

Bringing a hybrid model into your field service operation is a great example of a practical digital transformation, or “going smart.” When you’re making this kind of shift, you need to make sure your initiatives help your team do one or more of the following. 

  • Reach peak efficiency 
  • Control costs
  • Deliver the best value to your customers

Making changes like this won’t be easy. You may get pushback from your team or even your customers, so ensure that you can explain the tangible benefits of going hybrid. It also helps to start with what you already have available to you. 

For example, if you take the time to look at the historical data that you’ve collected, you can spot trends and find solutions without having to wait for enough new data to use. Even if the information isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, it’s better than starting from scratch.  

Every moment faster you get back to a customer the better. Every time you order the exact amount of parts you need instead of getting a general amount is a cost-saving for the company. Utilizing data-driven decision-making in even one aspect of your business can bring success. 

What is a Hybrid Service Operation? 

During the pandemic, most companies had to focus on developing and adapting to a fully remote workspace, where issues and customer service had to be resolved from home. The new structure of the world encourages teams to adopt a more hybrid model to be prepared for anything. But what exactly does that hybrid model look like? 

Imagine minimizing the amount of on-site visits required to solve issues for your clients. When diagnostics, ordering parts, engineering, and initial troubleshooting can all be done at the speed of the internet, you’re that much closer to achieving the elusive 100% uptime. 

This requires advanced technology like augmented reality and IoT for your engineers to access instruments from anywhere. Then, when it’s clear exactly what needs to be done in person, you can send out your technicians. 

When you are setting up this kind of service, it’s important that you know how to communicate its value to your customers. If you work with manufacturers and companies that have a more traditional view of business, they may not understand how much faster and more accurate this kind of service can be. 

Tools of the Hybrid Workplace 

As we mentioned, reaching customers and fixing break-downs remotely requires a few specific tools. Each tool you implement should come with enough warning, education, and explanation for both your team and your customers.  

Augmented Reality Tools

Augmented reality and remote tools allow your service team to work on instruments as if they were there in person. 

You can attach these directly to your CRM, meaning that the solution is baked directly into each ticket that opens. This allows you to look back and see exactly what they did while working on the instrument, so you can audit them in the future. 

Digital Platform Ticketing

When issues arose in the past, your customers would have to contact you through the phone or email. This system hasn’t been updated for decades, and a hybrid service model offers a modern alternative. 

If you take the time to implement an online platform where customers can access their ticket history and start a new one in the event of a breakdown, then you can cut down response times even more. 

Tracking KPIs For Remote Service 

The ultimate goal of your field service company is to sell your expertise. If you aren’t able to track your performance, you can’t show current and potential customers the value of your work. Here are a few important key performance indicators for your team to track. 

First Time Resolution

While first-time fix is a well-known KPI in the field service industry, first time resolution takes it one step further. Considering the experience your customer has, first time resolution includes your first time fix rate as well as the following additional KPIs. 

Target Hours 

Based on historical data, what is the average time you allocate to a specific action that the engineer is working on? You should be getting as close to or below this number as possible. 

Sales Order Before Labor

This KPI helps you keep track of the accuracy of your remote diagnostics. If a part was ordered based on remote data, and it ends up being the wrong part, you will see that interaction here. 

With this kind of information, you can see where and how improvements can be made to your digital diagnostics. 

Time Between Failure 

There’s been a shift in the industry towards guaranteeing uptimes in contracts and keeping an extremely close eye on long issues take to solve, as well as how long they stay solved. 

The value of your work will be seen as far higher if your customers require it as little as possible. With a push for higher uptimes, it can be tempting to get things back running quickly without actually solving the issue. This KPI encourages your team to get things done right the first time. 

On Sight Call Avoidance

When you’re working with a hybrid model, doing more work remotely is going to keep your customer’s uptime high, and your costs low. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of how often you are able to keep tickets entirely remote. 

This KPI can easily be turned into a selling point when you speak with new leads. It will help show more hesitant 

Response Time

The faster you are able to respond to your customers when they are having an issue, the faster they can have their problem seen and start running operations at full strength. 

Whether this is done through remote work, or through having a technician on the site as soon as possible. If you can demonstrate to new clients how quickly you respond to your customers, they will be more likely to choose your team to help them out. 

The KPIs you choose will likely be quite standard, but what data points you include in them will be affected by what values your company has. The ultimate deciding factor should be what your customers expect. Put yourself in their shoes and decide what experience brings the most confidence and satisfaction. 

Getting Started With a Hybrid Model 

Making the shift to a fully hybrid field service operation can be daunting, but there are a few first steps that your team can take to ensure you have a solid foundation to build on. 

Step One: Start Where You Are

Many field service teams have some of the tools for a hybrid model in place already, especially coming out of the pandemic. You likely have historical data that you can pull from, and an idea of what your customers value the most. 

Chances are, there are facets of your company that you aren’t fully optimizing at the moment. Before you invest time and resources into expanding, you should ensure you are getting the most out of what you have. 

Step Two: Know What You Want

Any change that a business makes must have a clear goal in mind, otherwise, you could get trapped making advancement for advancement’s sake. This leads to wasted time and money. 

Figure out if you want to go hybrid for cost control, to upgrade your customer experience, to add value, or to expand your portfolio. All of these goals will lead to different types of investments, and be your guiding light in decision-making. 

Step Three: Implement Changes

There are two ways to make big changes within your company, improve your existing systems and bring in something new. You do not have to reinvent the wheel with every change. Improving your current setup may do just as much to accomplish your goal as changing it entirely. 

If you do decide to implement a new system or add to your workflow and offerings, make sure you fully understand the change and what it will take to run properly. This allows your team to have everything in place and not be stuck playing catch-up when customers are relying on them. 


Any of your engineers will tell you that they can’t make a proper fix without all the data. Your entire field service company should be operating in the same way, with a focus on getting the information you need to improve things. 

A hybrid model is able to bring your operation into the future, and with the right planning, statistics, and tools, you’ll be able to implement it with ease. 

If you want to hear from more field service experts, and other B2B giants, don’t forget to explore the rest of Copperberg’s content and community resources. We look forward to seeing you at our next meetup. 

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