In the field service industry the consequences of not staying up to date with mobile technology range from wasting time to losing customers and going out of business. Sounds harsh, but mobile has changed our expectations as customers and how we do business.
Implementing a mobile solution for your workforce can can seem intimidating, with so many options to consider. This guide will walk you through the process of selecting the right mobile solution for your company and take an in-depth look at how a mobile solution can impact productivity for your technicians.
How Mobile Solutions Drive Productivity
Mobile software solutions can revolutionize operations for your field service business, both in the office and out in the field.
Reach Your Customers Anytime
Customers love the low-effort ease of text confirmation for appointment reminders. Research indicates it takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to a phone call, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. Technicians with mobile can text clients on their way to a job to reduce wasted time waiting around. Texting updates in real-time when there’s a delay or change of plan respects everyone’s time and improves both efficiency and morale.
Use GPS to Enhance Visibility
Using GPS plus mobile you can pinpoint the location of every technician on their way to a job, in real-time. It’s not just monitoring your fleet or individual technicians, it’s about gaining visibility into actual routes taken to optimize your scheduling. If there’s a problem or scheduling change, decisions can be made faster to minimize disruption and still get through every job on the schedule. Plus driving directions direct to mobile means no more wrong turns or quick detours away from the job.
Field Data Synchronization
Mobile helps capture job service details faster and easier. Using the built-in camera each technician can photo document a service or inspection work. Data is quickly submitted and can be shared instantly via cloud-based solutions. Mobile eliminates double entry of data and burdensome, time-consuming office work trying to decipher poor handwriting or inconsistent terminology. Technicians can also time-in and time-out using mobile.
Generate Reporting Anywhere
It’s no longer an admin task in the office. With a few clicks, technicians can generate reports and email customers from their mobile. Get faster reconciliation when your technician automates an invoice from work completed on the job – before the van pulls away.
Utilize Mobile Alerts
Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that feed data wirelessly on bait traps can trigger an alert direct to mobile so your technician can decide immediately if action is required.
Are Your Technicians Ready to go Mobile?
Unsure whether or not your technicians are to implement a mobile app into their workflow? Watch for these telltale signs:
- They technicians can’t unplug: When on location, technicians are constantly asked to provide status updates on the progress of jobs, causing unnecessary interruptions that do not exist with automated solutions.
- They are office dependent: Technicians are required to routinely stop by the office to drop off paperwork necessary for updating, closing, and completing customer files and work orders – contributing to unproductive time away from the field.
- Need for up-to-the-minute information: The inability to capture data in the field forces technicians to resort to archaic ways of working. Technicians cannot accurately record when jobs start, finish, or their duration. Inability for technicians to input real-time data from mobile devices contributes to duplication of efforts and double data entry.
- Limited visibility: Historical customer information and work orders live in the office, without any ability for technicians to access critical data while in the field.
- Inaccuracies in information: Technicians and unable to update customer files immediately when closing a work order, to ensure content is always accurate.
- Cash flow process needs improving: The inability to accept deposits or payments on proposals or services directly in the field is lengthening the Accounts Receivable cycle, putting a strain on payroll and future investments in equipment/parts.
Selecting the Right Mobile Solution
Simply put, selecting the right mobile solution for your field service business starts with you. It’s about finding the balance in how your business operates today and how you would like it to operate in the future. By staying true to a few core principles, you can begin wading the waters of the mobile solutions market and select the technology that is right for you.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind throughout your journey:
Know your business. The most fundamental principle in developing an effective mobile strategy is understanding why you were looking in the first place. Keep a firm idea of the core operations that drive your business. List what you do well, the gaps you’re are attempting to fill, and the areas that could be improved. Prioritize this list. Commit it to memory. By doing so, you can begin to eliminate the outside noise and focus on the core objectives that implementing a field service mobile solution should fulfill for your business. It will also keep you from getting overwhelmed, consider this your blueprint moving forward.
Know your users. An investment in any equipment should primarily serve to make work easier, more efficient, and more cost effective. Technology is no different. Understanding how your workers in the field perform their daily functions is essential to selecting the right mobile solution. After all, if you are going to invest time and money in a tool – shouldn’t your workforce see the value in it? Having the ability to incorporate mobile technology to simplify their workday should be a powerful motivator for staff. Make sure you take the time to understand their key pain points. Take time to analyze what functions they struggle with. What aspects are permissible but can certainly improve. What are low-level priorities for them. In doing so, you will be including their input in your selection criteria and will take another big step to ensure the preferred solution will meet their needs.
One size doesn’t always fit all. Now that you understand where you need to improve – it’s time see what’s out there. Let’s say you are in the market for a new car. You are looking for something reliable, fuel efficient, affordable, and easy to maintain. Those luxury sport cars all your friends are buying probably are not the best match. Take inventory to identify what type of technologies other companies of your size, in your industry, with similar business models/goals are investing in. Would those solutions also be a candidate to meet your needs? WorkWave Service, for instance, is a perfect example. It was built on the fundamentals of maximizing how service companies schedule, dispatch, bill, and conduct their daily operations. A natural fit and preferred solution to drive productivity among field service companies (lawn/landscape, cleaning, HVAC, etc…)
Find a trusted partner. Focus not only on what you are investing in, but also who you are investing with. You wouldn’t put money in a stock that you weren’t confident in, why gamble on software? Finding the right provider who offers user support and implementation services can help your team get acclimated, reduce learning curves, and drive quicker adoption. Look for companies who have experience in the industry, offer the ability to scale with you as you grow, and have a proven track record of reliability.