As a field service manager, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about and implementing plans designed to increase productivity and quality of service. In an age where customer expectations are greater than ever you are under increasing pressure to adopt tools and strategies that let your technicians get things done faster and correctly the first time—and a mobile field service solution can help you meet those demands.
Mobility allows connectivity with an otherwise detached segment of business. Field service divisions have faced challenges managing remote employees, coupled with the fact that their work is of a more sensitive nature, entering people’s homes and places of work and in some cases providing them with essentials they cannot live with. A mobile field service management solution allows field technicians to remain in constant communication with both dispatch and customers, accept jobs and react to changing conditions in real-time, all while managing their responsibilities more efficiently.
A mobile field service solution offers a world of possibilities, but only if you choose one that you’re your organization. It is an investment, so it is important to ensure that whichever mobility solution you, it have the ability to take your organization in the direction you want to go. Here are five things that are essential to an effective mobile workforce management solution:
Businesses and their field service teams change over time. They may scale the number of technicians up or down based on a variety of factors. If your field service team, or your organization as a whole, undergoes a major change you need to be able to customize your tools based on your needs at that time. Best-in-class mobile field service solutions allow you to build custom applications specifically designed to increase your organization’s operational efficiency. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in business, and field service is no different. This of course applies to the changing technological landscape as well. Field service organizations must keep up with consumer technology in order to be successful. Your mobility solution should not limit you as to how you interact with your customer base, which is another reason why scalability is such an important feature of your mobile field service solution.
While networks have grown exponentially over the past couple of years, connectivity on the road can still be unpredictable. In field service you have to prepare for the unexpected, in many different scenarios. If a field tech has connectivity issues and pertinent data is not accessible offline, your technician could be left stuck on a job without the information necessary to complete it. Aberdeen estimates that the cost of a single truck roll is between $200 and $300, a large cost for network issues. A mobile solution that supports disconnected data allows field technicians to access the information and collect the data they need to complete a job.
Field service is about more than just personnel. Field service employees need to have the right tools to complete jobs correctly and in a timely manner. A complete mobile solution should offer the ability to send schematics to technicians in real time to assist them while they are still on site. This can improve first-time fix rates, which leads to improved customer satisfaction.
Route optimization is a term often used quite loosely, but truly top-shelf organizations offer more than just a Google Maps application. A field service management solution that employs complex algorithms can predict actual drive time, will adjust the route based on traffic and other parameters, and takes into account designated tech regions, etc. Customers can be alerted if an employee hits traffic and is running late, meaning they won’t have to stand around growing more frustrated each minute the technician is late. Don’t be fooled by false advertising, make sure that vendors explain what they mean when they say they offer street-level routing.
A high-level, real-time view of your assets can simultaneously boost employee accountability, safety and productivity. Continual reports on vehicle location ensure that emergency jobs are given to the closest qualified technician; drivers are not wasting excess fuel with idling; and vehicles avoid dangerous roads or areas. Put another way, sensors powered by machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help you get the most out of your fleet.