How many hours do your field workers spend utilizing a mobile device to complete service work? With a field service mobile application, it could be most of the day. The nature of today’s service work requires the use of digital devices and technology to increase operational efficiency: mobile forms instead of paper, asset maintenance via an interactive map with geocoded locations, and more.
Technology is great, but knowledge is power. Can your field workers and contractors communicate with operations, dispatch or peers at a moment’s notice? Do they need to use multiple applications to complete a work order?
Given changes in the way we do business, and the need to further socially distance even in the field, collaboration and communication are critically necessary to conduct service business. I would argue it is just as important if your job is to effectively maintain assets.
Real-time collaboration is life changing to mobile workers. To break it down, there are a few critically important collaboration solutions to have today that will greatly impact the future of field service management.
Full History of a Service or Maintenance Work Order
There is nothing worse than scheduling a technician to a service or maintenance call only to receive four phone calls about previous work history conducted at the site or on an asset.
Capturing information against work orders is standard operating procedure, at least it should be. The reality is that is not the case most of the time. Between text messages for more information or a phone call to operations, data is lost. In some heavily regulated industries, a lack of records can actually impact compliance is unacceptable and may lead to hefty fines.
Accurate records and documentation around work orders, assets and customers effects every aspect of the business.
Instead of missing key data required for past, present and future work, in-app collaboration can help reduce knowledge gaps, by automatically capturing information directly on the work order.
The next time that customer or that asset needs servicing, all information is immediately available to the technician at their fingertips.
Get Answers Faster = Complete More Jobs
Feld service communication between operations managers, dispatchers, technicians or customers should be a top priority for many businesses.
Why make a customer wait if an automated notification can alert him/her to a schedule change. This one act can help significantly improve customer experience as well as perception.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the end goal: increase efficiency and improve the customer experience. With that in mind, and I can’t stress this point enough, do not make your field worker close the field service management application they’re using to switch to another application in order to collaborate, send messages, conduct video calls or communicate in a group conversation.
The right field service management software should provide embedded real-time messaging and collaboration. Put another way, within the same mobile application, the technician should be able to click a button to collaborate. They should not need to leave the application.
The only way to impact efficiency is to ensure they can remain in the same app, including the ability to share assets, work orders and forms or document links in messages. The bottom line is the field must be enabled with one application to complete their work.
Notifications from Dispatch, Operations or Supervisors
One of the quickest ways to improve technician productivity is through the use of notifications. You are familiar with this if you have a mobile phone.
Whether in the office or the field, open lines of communication are critical for efficiency.
Automating what would otherwise be a manual task to alert a customer a technician is running late by 10 minutes or notifying a technician to a change in their route for the day, saves significant time in the long run. That time you think is just a minute or two adds up to many minutes lost in a day, week or month.
Creating automated alerts and notifications greatly reduces strain on your team as well. You no longer have to worry about the customer when you know they have been notified of a change. That puts you in control of the customer experience.
All in all, real-time collaboration and messaging is one technology I know can greatly improve service management. The benefits are something you will want to consider as you evaluate field service automation software to meet your needs now and into the future.