Three Field Service Trends That Continue to Deliver Success

Arrow-going-up

In a recent article at Field Technologies Online, Scott Dutton summarized the three trends in field services that are allowing companies to  cut service costs, improve productivity, and boost customer satisfaction.

Mobile Devices – the continued saturation of mobile devices into our everyday lives has made this resource a swiss army knife of sorts for field service companies. According to a recent survey by Field Technologies, about half the mobile workforce currently uses smartphones as the primary means of communication from the field. The other half is divided unequally: roughly 40 percent still use laptops, and approximately 11 percent prefer tablets. Interestingly, more than a quarter of both laptop users and smartphone proponents are considering a switch to tablets because of the portability, popularity, and screen size tablet provide.

Field-Service Workforce Automation – As the partnership between mobile devices and web-based workforce automation apps continue to become more integrated, companies have an even more powerful resource in the hands of their mobile employees. Web-accessible apps for work-order assignment, customer relationship, billing, and inventory management all provide field-service professionals with the real-time data necessary for informed, on-the-spot decision-making. Longer-term benefits include accurate forecasting and reporting for more productive allocation of personnel and material resources.

Location-Based Services – As customer experience is such a huge factor in field service success, having a toolset that is able to provide the right information at the right moment becomes critical. Having the right expert with the right equipment in the right place at the right time improves field-service performance and productivity, which results in sharp increases in customer satisfaction and noticeable improvements to the bottom line.

Is Your View Of What Mobility Can Do Too Narrow?

A good insight from Sarah Howland in the recent issue of Field Technologies Magazine:

The reality is that mobility can be used to transform businesses in many ways, to accomplish a variety of objectives — and mobility is often being deployed for a combination of reasons, not just one. While improving productivity of your workers is a common goal, and a very valid one, the potential for what mobility can do reaches beyond that narrow view.

When you sample the marketing material and websites of most mobility companies the usual features and benefits boilerplates are front and center. Profitability and productivity are the usual suspects, but mobility can do so much more. Case in point:

Trimble published a report this year titled The Road Ahead Report: The Future of Field Service Delivery, for which it surveyed 100 field service managers and directors in the UK (you can view the report at http://bit.ly/S1zGjz). According to this report, it seems that — at least for some organizations — productivity gains aren’t the only objective in mind when it comes to optimizing the mobile workforce. In fact, a majority — 68% — list improving customer satisfaction as the number one priority of their service organization. Increasing profitability came in at 43%, and improving productivity/employee utilization at 41%. So while the respondents felt increasing mobile worker productivity was an important strategic objective (88% said that’s the case), the results show that these companies realize improving productivity can’t be the sole focus.

The big idea here: mobility can quickly become pigeonholed into the all too familiar benefit buckets of industry-speak, but thinking through the downstream effects of a well designed mobile process can open up a world of benefits.

Source: Field Technologies Magazine