Conquering the Field with AI: How to Empower Technicians

May 28, 2024 11:04:54 AM | 4 minute read

Kelly Fitzroyby Kelly Fitzroy

Kelly Fitzroy serves as the Vice President of Operations at Vixxo, where she is responsible for leading a team of 200 technicians and a service team that collaborates with customers, service providers, and technicians to ensure the smooth operation of stores. She has been an integral part of Vixxo for over 14 years driving innovation and process improvement to help customers. . Kelly started out as a technician, and this hands-on experience has given her a valuable and distinctive perspective. Her wealth of experience and expertise in the field has been instrumental in driving success and innovation within the company and industry as a whole. 


The field service industry relies on the expertise of its technicians, who ensure our daily lives run smoothly by repairing equipment and maintaining complex systems. I spent years as a field technician, and I understand firsthand their challenges. In my current role, my goal is to help our technicians so they have the tools and resources to get their work done and also support our customers so their assets are up and running with little to no disruption to their stores. I focus on optimizing efficiency, prioritizing tasks, and fostering continuous learning, which is all critical exceptional service delivery.

Scalable Platform

Our team had been operating at a high level, achieving a 90% time to complete and 95% first-time fix rates. Recognizing the potential for improving our platform's support for technicians, we extended our solution by harnessing Microsoft Dynamics to introduce efficiencies beyond the capabilities of our existing system. Dynamics would allow us to enhance routing & scheduling, optimize inventory management, and identify better opportunities to support our field team.

Artificial Intelligence Exploration

As we introduced this innovative solution, it paved the way for us to explore additional avenues to bolster our teams. A team member delved into ways to enhance the technician experience. With an increasing number of seasoned technicians retiring and newer ones entering the workforce, we explored how to bridge this transition by providing comprehensive support and training for incoming employees. It is projected that by 2025, the maintenance industry will face the challenge of filling 3.4 million jobs, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the "Silver Tsunami."

business documents on office table with smart phone and laptop computer and graph financial with social network diagram and three colleagues discussing data in the backgroundWe focused on questions such as:

  • How can you retain the knowledge and experience of senior/retiring technicians and extend that to new technicians?
  • How can you reduce the time for new technicians to reach proficiency and senior technician performance?
  • How can we minimize less skilled/experienced technicians staying onsite for longer hours and reduce the number of callbacks?
  • How can we reduce demand for technicians to be onsite and shift that work left?

Generative AI: Empowering Technicians in a Competitive Landscape with the Technician Virtual Assistant

This allowed us to initiate a project to build an AI solution to take 20 years of work order history, asset information, and experience to create a tool that can interact with technicians to resolve issues faster. We’re excited to say this is the first of the kind in the industry and we will expand this solution to customers to leverage with their own technician teams. It can also help store managers troubleshoot requiring no truck to roll, thus lowering overall repair costs.

If you want to see how you can help your technician teams, I encourage you to join our First Look Team. Sign up and you’ll have an opportunity to preview demos and provide feedback during the process before it launches this year.

Managing Change

If you are considering making changes, here are some recommendations based on our experience. We have learned some lessons along the way.

  • Feedback Loop: Maintain open communication with your teams regarding changes. We utilized pilot teams and user groups to test features and gather feedback for improvement before proceeding with testing. This involvement allowed everyone to be part of the process
  • Measure KPIs: Before implementing any changes, it's important to determine how they will benefit the teams. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be measured before and after the rollout and set targets. We focused on optimizing technician operating efficiency. We have observed that some companies are operating below 50% efficiency, leading to longer equipment downtime and more open work orders. If you are interested in measuring your performance, Vixxo can conduct an assessment.
  • Leverage Your Team: Our team is the backbone to our business and helping our customers. Whatever role your teams play, they may see problems that leader may not and may have ideas to fix those problems. This is what led us down the path to our Technician Virtual Assistant.

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The Future of Field Service: Enhanced Capabilities and a Transformed Industry

The future of field service is bright, with intelligent tools like Microsoft Dynamics and AI. These technologies unlock a new era of efficiency, collaboration, and success for companies. With advanced capabilities available today, the industry is poised for positive transformation.

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