Mobile phones are everywhere. Customers now expect that this mobile pervasiveness — with its emphasis on real-time updates, instant messaging, and on-demand answers — will extend to their business lives as well. In fact, customer expectations are through the roof. Research group Aberdeen noted that the top pressure facing field service teams is still overwhelmingly the customer demand for improved service, according to 75% of respondents.
For field service companies, this means that mobilizing workforces isn’t just about hooking their technicians up with devices, it’s also about ensuring that they’re giving them easy access to the insight they need to resolve issues in the field and keep customers informed.
What specifically do top performing field service companies do? According to Aberdeen, top performing organizations ensure that their teams are equipped with the mobile tools they need to succeed. They ensure their mobile strategy maximizes productivity and follow these three best practices:
Best Practice 1: Data Integration is Key
Companies have a data problem. No, it’s not that they aren’t collecting it; rather, they aren’t integrating data and ensuring that field technicians are receiving the most up-to-date, relevant information they need. According to Aberdeen, top performing organizations, have processes to integrate data between the field and back office systems. Real-time integration ensures that important service data is made available to other functions (i.e., sales, marketing, engineering) and can be used to make decisions in real-time that improve products and service.
Best Practice 2: Visibility into Your Workforce
When it comes to visibility in field service, the term typically refers to location, performance, or the status of a job. Of course all of these are still vital for delivering service, but the second best practice that top performing companies understand is how technicians reach their current levels of performance. For example, are they, actually using the systems and technology the company has invested in? According to Aberdeen, top performers are 61% more likely than peers to have the ability to monitor their field service technicians’ use of work apps (45% vs. 28%, respectively).
Best Practice 3: The Status of Service
At the end of the day, customers simply want to know what’s going on with their service call. End customers cannot afford downtime or unproductive equipment for long periods of time. It is imperative that service organizations communicate not only internally, but also directly with the customer to keep them fully informed on the status of their service. Top performers are an overwhelming 77% more likely than their peers to have real-time visibility regarding the statuses and locations of their workers and vehicles. But as stated earlier, if this data is trapped in a silo and not integrated, the insight is wasted.
As Kevin Benedict, Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, notes, “In today’s world of digital transformation, fast-changing [mobility], and online consumer behaviors, businesses must be as nimble as their customers, or they risk losing market share to a nimbler competitor.” For field service providers, this agility means ensuring that their mobile strategy follows each step from putting devices in technician's hands to ensuring they have key data for resolving problems and communicating with customers, therefore maximizing their productivity.