Crowdsourcing--in other words, soliciting members of the crowd via the Internet or a mobile app to complete service jobs--is a growing trend in the workplace. Field service has not been exempted from this trend, and many services are already being performed through the on-demand workforce model.
For example, Taskrabbit connects you to people in your neighborhood who you pay to do tasks that need to be done. Some of these tasks include more traditional field service duties in the areas of IT and electrical service. While another platform called Upwork connects freelancers in various fields including engineering to companies and individuals who need help on a project-basis. The crowd can help your field service company deliver more flexibility to your customers, which has traditionally been a challenge for field service companies. Other crowdsourcing platforms like Mila, give telecom customers access to Swisscom Friends who can come help them fix problems with their mobile devices when and where they want.
Here are some reasons why you should consider adding crowdsourcing to your field service business:
An Additional Workforce On-Demand
Like many service-based businesses, field service work has fluctuating demand. It’s not like you’ll always have the same amount of service calls every day, week, or month. One of the great things about crowdsourcing is that when there are more projects that need to be completed, you have an on-demand workforce to use when you need it. Since service demands ebb and flow, your supply of workers should too. The burden of an overwhelming amount of service calls shouldn’t fall squarely on your in-house employed workers’ shoulders, leaving them tired and overworked as they rush from service call to service call.
Like mobile workforce management and field service software, the crowd can be accessed through internet platforms. When work requests go out, techs in the crowd can accept the service requests they’d like to complete. Crowdsourcing technology makes it easy to match members of the crowd with companies and people that need them, since the crowd member will be able to see what skills are needed to complete each task, and accept accordingly.
Appeal to Youth Culture
Since field service has been facing an aging field service technician workforce and has had some trouble attracting younger field service workers, crowdsourcing is one way to combat that problem. Younger workers like being technologically connected, and they also enjoy the freedom of a freelance-style of working. Thankfully, field service companies have started to adapt this freelancer model. Given that crowd members are not tied down to working with one company or one customer, and they can agree to as many or as few gigs as they’d like, crowdsourcing can also be the answer to field service employee retention.
Though you may already have a team of field service technicians, what if the number of service requests you get exceed the amount of technicians you have? Without enough technicians, your ability to schedule appointments for all of these service requests could severely be hindered. So what do you do? Go on a hiring spree for new technicians?
Well, with crowdsourcing you don’t have to do that. You can make use of the crowd to find local support, on-demand when your customers’ need it. Having a high service demand but not enough technicians can affect both the profitability and scalability of your business. It can also affect your company’s reputation if you aren’t able to meet the demands of your clients, and cause problems down the road. That’s why crowdsourcing field service is a great solution and addition to your workforce.