Are you a field service provider contemplating jumping on the mobile bandwagon? Are you stuck on the fence, wondering if it will provide ROI and actually be worth the effort? Do you want to make your company a mean, lean, providing machine?
The good news is that mobile apps empower field service agents to boost productivity, improve service quality, speed service delivery, and increase customer satisfaction. These factors combined help to provide a higher, more efficient return.
Recent Sage software surveys demonstrate that mobile technology is crucial to enhancing service efficiencies in the field. As companies invest in mobile service applications for remote workers, they are seeing excellent results, and mobile apps are now a main IT concern for field service industries such as construction, equipment manufacturing, and other service-focused fields.
Here are five reasons to equip your field service technicians with the appropriate mobile tools to help them get the job done right the first time.
Use real-time data to make key decisions and track and assess tasks and segments.
Using real-time data creates better outcomes than educated data, and mobile apps in the field allow techs to collect and sync information with the back office to create an immediate response. Mobile apps can provide transparency and accountability in real-time at every step of the service process to ensure customer satisfaction, efficiency, and better outcomes.
Schedule the right technician for each job and connect the team.
Using mobile apps that connect to centralized visual scheduling software can allow schedulers to send the right tech for the assignment based on real-time technician location, availability, and skill set, and allows all agents in the field to be connected to each other and to the home office. This real-time connection allows for a more informed and accountable team.
Maintain a leaner spare parts inventory capability.
Using mobile apps to track inventory and compare it to client product needs allow organizations to maintain a leaner spare parts inventory, thus reducing investment in stock that just sits around. With a connected mobile app, spare parts consumption is visible from anywhere in the organization, from service van to office, warehouse, and beyond.
Improve customer relations.
Mobile apps can provide access to service history and equipment and repair knowledge, thus helping insure better communication and service with your clients. Mobile apps provide visibility into records in real-time, on location, resulting in better customer service relationships. Techs using mobile apps can report on-site fully equipped with the appropriate parts and knowledge of the service history of the equipment, allowing them to do the job fast and right.
Enable verification and consistency of completed work.
Verify on-site work via photos and signature collection and utilize centralized inspections and field forms to insure consistency. Mobile apps allow techs to document completed work by taking photos on mobile devices and can capture customer signatures for work orders, billing, and other authorizations. By creating mobile apps with standard field forms including checklists, audits, and other fields, organizations can ensure that their field techs are carrying out their duties in a consistent and efficient manner.
The future of mobile apps for field service
Research from The Service Council, a global service executive member organization shows the top goals for field service providers in 2014 are increasing revenues and improving customer satisfaction. The research also reveals that for technology and process investments, the top areas of focus in the next 12 months will be in mobility, analytics, knowledge management, and the integration of field service with the service parts supply chain.
One place that mobile apps are already strongly in place is in the oil, gas and utility industry. As a recent white paper from CDW stated, these companies already face a number of dynamic challenges in their efforts to produce, sell, and distribute energy, and “energy businesses are reviewing their IT strategies and solutions, including their field service mobility strategies. According to Oil and Gas IQ, an energy website, employees in the oil and gas sector are already ahead of this trend, with 71 percent of workers using mobile devices for work purposes.
Ultimately, the CDW white paper concluded, “With a choice of mobile devices, capable of anytime, anywhere access to data, IT decision-makers view field service mobility as the perfect vehicle for improving field operations, increasing customer satisfaction and transforming it from a cost center into a differentiating asset – or better yet, a profit center.”