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Aberdeen: Mobile Field Service-Help Techs Get the Job Done

June 12, 2013

Mobility and field service are not new topics. Many of you are familiar with acronyms like BYOD (bring your own device), FTF (first-time fix), MTTR (mean time to repair), or PTT (push to talk). The importance of mobility remains top of mind for many executives for a simple fact, its importance in satisfying customers. In Aberdeen’s Field Service 2012: Mobile Tools for the Right Technician research (July 2012), the top pressure driving organizations to invest in mobile technology was the customer demand for improved service (76% of respondents, n = 220). Customers expect excellent service and no longer have to wait for a service organization to resolve an issue; as competitive organizations have stepped up. Nearly half of all organizations sampled in Aberdeen’s Field Service research stated the top complaint in regard to field service was the tech did not resolve the issue (45% of respondents). This seems like a fairly simple request; however service organizations have been challenged with putting the right tools, parts, and information in the hands of technicians so they can ultimately resolve a customer issue the first time. The failure to execute on issue resolution not only leads to costly return visits, but it also negatively impacts the customer relationship and the customer’s ability to be productive. Research Aberdeen conducted earlier this year on Field Service Workforce Management (January 2013) showed that top performing organizations are investing in mobile tools to provide technicians with better access to information in the field (57% of respondents). These investments will be focused in areas of execution and planning to enhance field service performance.

However, the mobility story does not end when every tech has a mobile device in their hands, organizations that excel in field service have been able to –

  • Provide access to real-time data to techs in the field. Whether online or off, technicians must have the most up to date information while in the field to be able to fix issues. The rapid change in work orders, part specs, and customer needs demands that data is refreshed frequently and made available so techs are experts in the field.
  • Help techs collaborate with customers, other business units, and other techs. The connected nature of business has allowed for increased productivity and insight, and field service is no different. Top performing organizations have been able to break down silos of information and speed issue resolution through knowledge sharing.
  • Securely transfer customer and enterprise data. With the advent of sensitive data being transferred over networks, organizations must be mindful and vigilant of security issues and implement systems and processes to keep this data safe.
  • Link parts with mobile apps to provide increased insight for the field. Parts are an integral aspect of field service, as a tech can’t resolve an issue if the right part isn’t available. Mobile tools can be used to provide techs with up to date information on part locations and quality; and notify a tech if a part is nearby in another tech’s truck.
  • Improve performance visibility for service. Mobile tools can enable techs to benchmark themselves against peers and be accountable for their performance. This insight provides an added benefit of highlighting top performers who can be rewarded and / or targeted to train others.

The mobile roadmap is a challenging endeavor, but the rewards of increased efficiency, improved productivity, and an enhanced customer experience can’t be overlooked. To learn more about the key trends and best practices in Mobile Field Service and take part in Aberdeen’s 2013 research, please click on the following link -

 written by:

Aly Pinder, Senior Research Associate at Aberdeen Group

As a senior associate in the customer experience and service management practice, Aly Pinder Jr. researches and explores how service and manufacturing executives utilize technology and implement best practices to improve post-sales service and support processes. Through practitioner benchmarking and analysis of Aberdeen’s research database, he examines how Best-in-Class service organizations are reengineering their service chains for improved performance and increased profitability.

Aly’s coverage areas within the service space primarily cover the following topics on which he has written or co-authored over 40 research reports and bench marked more than 4,000 service executives in his four plus years with Aberdeen:

  • Field Service and Mobility
  • Service Parts Logistics
  • Warranty and Service Contract Management
  • Reverse Logistics

Follow Aly at: @Aberdeen_cesm, @Pinderjr

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